Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 by Russ Fischer
I can’t tell you how sad I am to see this news. If there is one comic book property I always hoped would remain in development hell, it is Sandman, the series that Neil Gaiman wrote from 1988 to 1996. The series blended horror, fantasy and history with a rotating cast of characters that are some of the most unique and memorable to grace any comics pages. A film version was long in development, and every year that went by without real movement on the Sandman movie was a good year.
But now Warner Bros. TV is in the early stages of developing a TV show based on the series. And I suppose my sadness might go away, or at least lighten, if I was a Supernatural watcher. I know many people who love the show, and the fact that creator Eric Kripke may end up masterminding the Sandman TV show could be the project’s saving grace.
THR says that Warner Bros. TV is getting the rights to Sandman, and is in the process of talking to different writers and producers about heading up the adaptation. Supernatural‘s Eric Kripke is reportedly at the top of WB’s wish list.
(THR also says that previous to this development, the last iteration of Sandman would have been an HBO version developed with James Mangold. But that died.)
Neil Gaiman is not involved at this point, but THR says that “securing Gaiman will prove key for the project to go forward.”
Not being a Supernatural watcher, I’m willing to entertain the argument that Kripke could be one of the best options around for this job. I understand the argument that says he’s great for Sandman because he essentially did something similar with his five seasons of Supernatural. But that’s the thing: they were his seasons, and Sandman is Neil Gaiman’s thing.
I think TV is certainly a better medium for Sandman than film, and I’m not saying it can’t be done. But I’m not optimistic, because Sandman is intricate and subtle and thoughtful, and still epic, and I know how hard it is to capture those elements in a series.
For those who’ve never read the series, Sandman rotated loosely around Morpheus, the Lord of Dream, who at the outset was imprisoned by humans. Gaining his freedom, Morpheus gathered back his dissipated power and rebuilt his realm, and engaged in long-con power games with two of his siblings. Morpheus and said siblings are The Endless, a group of beings that are neither god nor human, mortal nor immortal, and who represent and shape aspects of life.
But Morpheus is only sort of the main character — sometimes he’s a prime mover, sometimes an observer, at times a victim and at others barely a player in the story. Gaiman wove tales involving killers, lovers of every stripe, fantasy realms, Heaven and Hell and figures such as William Shakespeare and Marco Polo as well as mythological figures such as Orpheus. There isn’t anything like Sandman in any medium. Right now, I’d just as soon keep it that way, at least as far as adaptations go. Since that’s not likely to happen, I’ll wait for the next step in this development process.