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The Sandman review: A dream adaptation

Dream a little dream

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That will not last. The Great Stories will always return to their original forms.

It’s one of the most enduring quotes from the Sandman’s 75-issue run. Talking to the immortal Hob Gadling in the 18th century, Dream, the eponymous Sandman, comments on the transience of a new ending attached to Shakespeare’s King Lear written centuries past. It’s a testament to the endurance of stories despite the ravages of time.

In an age dominated by adaptations, The Sandman’s quote rings ever truer. The past few years have seen countless adapted titles dropped because of lackluster reception. The original forms, whether it be books or series made years past, have won time and time again. However, despite history weighing down against it, one adaptation has seemingly prevailed against Dream’s cautionary warning: The Sandman itself.

Enter the Dreaming

Premiering on Netflix, The Sandman adapts the first few story arcs from the original comic book run. The series stars Tom Sturridge as the titular character, complemented by a lively cast from television’s finest including Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine and Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer. Plus, most critically, Neil Gaiman himself, the series’ author, is directly involved with the series, along with David S. Goyer.

The series itself is a long time coming. Since the original run ended, filmmakers and producers have sought to adapt the title for Hollywood. However, for all of 30 years, Gaiman rejected all efforts to create a Hollywood-friendly version of the popular series. Now, fresh from the success of the adaptations of American Gods and Good Omens, the acclaimed author is taking the reins himself to create the first good adaptation of Sandman. And why not? The title’s tales of inclusivity, responsibility, and story-making still ring true today.

A dream of me: a personal history

When I first read The Sandman, I was in high school. My sensibilities and interests were naturally different from what they are today. They were hardly mature enough to understand the intricacies of the series. In fact, my young mind was more interested in how Dream was an all-powerful protagonist capable of blowing his enemies away in a literal puff of sand. For me, Sandman was no different from Superman. Can you blame me? I was a teenager, after all.

While it’s fair to read the series in that way, The Sandman was so much more. More than a decade later, I reread the entire series, picking up hundreds of tidbits I missed my first go-around. I learned about the power of dreams on our reality and how dreams pervade regardless of culture or identity.

Now, if you’ve read The Sandman at any point in your life, you’ll understand how the series endured all these years as an essential fragment of the world’s literary oeuvre. If you haven’t read the series, however, you’ll still understand how things we’ve read or watched as children rarely look the same when we reread or rewatch them as adults.

The Sandman, as both a comic book and a television series, is no different.

A dream of change

A traditional comic book has around 20 to 30 pages from cover to cover. While the number is usually enough to tell a captivating story, it does have limitations. Stories and themes have to be summarized into small speech bubbles or boxes. In contrast, a television episode allows for more nuances: an actor’s expressions, additional dialogue, movement.

While the Netflix series maintains fidelity in adapting its source material, it also expands what was presented on the page. Instead of a static image of Dream brooding in captivity, you see the evolution of emotion from stoicism, hatred, to hope.

Further, you’ll see the evolution of Gaiman from an early-career author to an acclaimed one revisiting past works. When the series was first written, Neil Gaiman was a relatively fresh creator. As such, he was still exploring his literary voice. The early Sandman books reflect that, seesawing between different genres and tones. Now, decades after first writing the series, Gaiman has an opportunity to change and expand what he wrote before. The end result is magical.

For one, characters were made to be more inclusive. Instead of white men or women, iconic characters are played by characters who are Black, female, or both. For example, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Gwendoline Christie slay as Death and Lucifer, respectively. Likewise, otherwise-detached stories are connected and expanded in new ways that make sense in the over-arching plot. It’s a change in fidelity, but one that is welcome in today’s ever-changing world. It expands Gaiman’s vision for a more inclusive reality in and out of dreams.

Netflix’s The Sandman is an evolution of both the book’s format and its themes. It pulls double duty, alluring both long-time readers and new visitors to the land of dreams. As such, you’ll find both readings — as a fantastical adventure and as a thematic exploration of humanity — in the television series.

Though Dream said that great stories will always return to their original forms, it’s time to evaluate what The Sandman’s original form is. Maybe this is what it was always meant to be. Maybe “original” doesn’t always mean the first one.

Should you watch The Sandman?

Absolutely.

If you’ve read the series before, you already know why. If not, The Sandman is a dark fantasy series. In essence, it’s a collection of stories spanning decades and centuries, loosely connected by the character called Dream and our own smaller dreams — to live forever, to be recognized for who we are, to be free, to just be. Just as the comic book had me turning the page endlessly, the Netflix series will have you clicking that Next Episode button until you reach the end.

SEE ALSO: New ‘Sandman’ trailer showcases the king of dreams

Entertainment

Park Seo-jun, Han So-hee headline newest Netflix series

Titled Gyeongseong Creature

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So much star power. Netflix’s newest upcoming series Gyeongseong Creature is being headlined by Park Seo-jun (Itaewon Class, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim) and Han So-hee (Nevertheless, My Name).

The series is set in the spring of 1945, in the city of Gyeongseong. It follows individuals going up against monstrous creatures that were born out of human greed.

Park Seo-jun plays Jang Tae-sang. He is the head of merchant marketplace Golden Jade House who is the wealthiest, most well-connected person in Gyeongseong. Tae-sang puts money before justice. But all that changes when he crosses paths with Yun Chae-ok while investigating a series of missing person cases.

Han So-hee plays Yun Chae-ok. She is a famous bounty hunter who can track down missing people, even ones who are dead. Chae-ok possesses a sharp eye and agile survival skills learned from her rough childhood roaming across Manchuria and Shanghai with her father.

Also starring Claudi Kim and Wi Ha-jun

Joining the main leads are Claudia Kim and Wi Ha-jun who have both received international spotlight for their roles.

Claudia Kim plays Maeda, who is the wife of a powerful official in Gyeongseong during the colonial period. The actress has been active on the global stage through the films Avengers: Age of Ultron and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and the Netflix Series Marco Polo.

Wi Ha-jun, who made a lasting impression on worldwide audiences with his role in Squid Game and is currently winning over viewers in Little Women, plays Gwon Jun-taek, Tae-sang’s best friend. He joins Tae-sang’s dangerous plan in rescuing the people who have gone missing.

The production team, meanwhile, is led by screenwriter Kang Eun K and director Chung Dong-yoon. The former has penned dramas across various genres such as Dr. Romantic and Kang Chi, the Beginning while the latter is known as a creator in Hot Stove League.

Gyeongseong Creature will be released globally only on Netflix.

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Genshin Concert 2022 set on October 2

Celebrating 2 years of adventure

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Genshin Concert

HoYoverse has announced that the Genshin Concert 2022: Melodies of an Endless Journey event will officially commence on October 2, 2022, celebrating two years of Genshin Impact adventure.

Music producer Shiro Sagisu has been invited to be the music director of the global online concert that will last for about 75 minutes.

Known arranging the Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale soundtrack, Sagisu will be joined by the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra on top of other talented musicians around the world.

The trailer for the upcoming concert is now live, and may be watched below:

Sagisu and his team will recreate beloved Genshin Impact soundtracks for the concert, taking fans on a journey as they reminisce their adventures in the world of Teyvat.

It was announced recently that Genshin Impact Version 3.1 will release on September 28, 2022, so the concert is a fitting incentive for fans as the open-world adventure RPG enters its third year.

The patch update includes Cyno and Nilou’s release, the Desert area, new weapons, and anniversary events.

 

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Cyberpunk 2077 soars to 1M daily players after Edgerunners

The RPG gets a major milestone

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Cyberpunk Edgerunners

Following the release of its much-anticipated Edgerunners update and Netflix anime, Cyberpunk 2077 has reached a major milestone.

CD Projekt Red’s single-player, open-world sci-fi RPG has reached one million daily players (new and returning) ever since the patch was made available earlier in the month.

The Netflix anime, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners also debuted last September 13, further elevating the game’s popularity to new heights, so much so that is has become a Steam top seller yet again.

This achievement makes up for the game’s disastrous release in late 2020, when technical issues, particularly bugs, hounded its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions.

Enhanced for Next-Gen consoles

The Edgerunners update enhanced the game for Next-Gen consoles. It also gave players an opportunity to access in-game goodies inspired by the anime series such as new wardrobe and fresh weapons, as well as a host of new features and content to dig into.

Set in the futuristic Night City, Cyberpunk 2077 revolves around its protagonist V, a mercenary outlaw who needs to secure a one-of-a-kind implant — the Relic — which is the key to immortality.

In exploring the vast city controlled by corporations and highlighted by gang wars, players must customize their character’s cyberware, skillset and playstyle to overcome every obstacle they encounter.

SEE ALSO: Cyberpunk 2077 PC review: Looks can be deceiving

 

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