Not long after the 1989 launch of The Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s groundbreaking comic-book series, came the inevitable question that plagues critically acclaimed smash hits—how best to translate it to the screen?

The series’s central family, known as “The Endless,” live in a vividly cinematic world; each member personifies a natural force, including dreams, death, and desire

But Gaiman’s epic story spans eons and an ensemble of dozens. Its hero’s emotions could gently be described as inscrutable

None of that would easily fit into a two-hour movie, and so The Sandman has drifted for decades in search of the visual medium that could do it justice

Has it finally found its footing as a Netflix series?

Netflix has provided fertile ground for expensive-looking genre adaptations that play to devoted fan bases, such as The Witcher, The Umbrella Academy, and A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Its usual policy of releasing whole seasons at once means, at least theoretically, that a show is less pressured to explain everything that’s going on in Episode 1

The Sandman’s original narrative is a major slow burn. The first volume carefully assembles the particulars of its protagonist Dream’s universe over the course of a treasure hunt

The Netflix adaptation, created by Gaiman, David S. Goyer, and Allan Heinberg, embraces that pacing, letting things unfold with the care of a monthly comic rather than the punchiness of weekly TV