"The Sandman", Another Brilliant Netflix Adaptation
Netflix Continues Betting Strongly on Adaptations, and "The Sandman" is the Latest Example of a Great Literary Success. What is this series about? How Does the Company Choose the Books? What other Recommendations Should you Watch?.
LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González
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Leer en español: "The Sandman", otra brillante adaptación de Netflix
Movies and literature have had a special connection for many years, and such a link has been that now it is also experiencing a great boom on streaming platforms. Netflix is probably the pioneer in this regard, as its business model has exploded to the point where adaptations are the jewel in the crown. "The Sandman" is the most recent example of this success.
Neil Gaiman is the mastermind behind this graphic novel. In 1989, hand in hand with DC Comics, he published a series of comics that soon became a cult phenomenon, as they dealt with themes little explored until then and did so with an exquisite narrative. "The Sandman" not only stood out for its gothic aesthetic, but also for portraying a magical and realistic vision of our universe and the mysticism behind the everyday.
More than three decades later, Gaiman teamed up with producers David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to do what he had always refused to do: a screen adaptation. The end result has been a mix between dark fantasy and modern myth. It is not an easy task to tell how Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, must fix the cosmic mistakes he has made during his existence and that have affected people and places, but this series does it perfectly.
Most of the reviews have been positive. Critics agree that "The Sandman" is an adaptation with everything a literary fan could hope to see on screen. The labyrinthine nature of the comic feels inviting from start to finish, not to mention that the work of Gaiman and his team has given the narrative a greater sincerity so that it can connect emotionally with the audience.
Although some have found it tedious due to its visual style, the series manages to show the mystical essence of the source material. From the first minute you will be attracted by its fascinating atmosphere, where you will witness horrors, cruelty and brutality; but also of tenderness, hope and happiness. And it is that never before have nightmares and dreams been seen so real in streaming.
Netflix and its way of choosing books
Literature is so vast that it is difficult to choose the best works to make an adaptation, whether in series or film. In an interview for Esquire magazine, Verónica Fernández, Director of Original Content for Netflix Spain, commented on how this selection process is usually. In fact, there is no secret behind it, but "a team that is dedicated to searching for books in any corner of the world."
It is these scouts who have the job of reading and reading all the time, either on their own initiative or by express request of the company. Once they have chosen the novel, the directors meet with the publishers and/or the authors to talk about the project at hand. Likewise, it is worth mentioning that they do not always focus on bestsellers, since, sometimes, the publishers themselves send them the synopses of books that have not yet been published.
And not everything is easy in this work. Choosing the book does not guarantee making an adaptation, since, among the biggest obstacles, is the money they ask Netflix for copyright. In addition, just as there are some authors and publishers who sell them easily, there are others who are very attached to their works and demand fidelity to the text, something that in most cases is difficult to grant. At this point, the authors must accept that in an adaptation things will always be modified, whether they want to or not.
Also read: Salman Rushdie's Attack and Threaten to J. K. Rowling: Violent Censorship Around the World
What other Netflix adaptations are worth watching?
The list is extensive and just as there are adaptations that did not fulfill what was promised, we have others that are worth seeing. Probably the number one for Netflix is "The Witcher", whose story is based on the Geralt of Rivia Saga, written by the Polish Andrzej Sapkowski. Set in medieval times, here we follow the story of Geralt (Henry Cavill), a warlock who hunts all kinds of supernatural creatures for money. It has two seasons.
From the Middle Ages, we move to the Regency period in the UK with "Bridgerton". The two seasons of this series are based on the novels by the American Julia Quinn, which tells the story of two high-society families: the Bridgertons and the Featheringtons. This adaptation is the most successful on the streaming platform, since it registered more than 80 million views during the first month of its premiere.
For its part, another that suffered a similar fate was "Lady's Gambit", which came to Netflix in 2020 to later become the most watched miniseries with 62 million views in its first month. The plot is set between the 1950s and 1960s, and follows an orphaned chess prodigy named Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), who seeks to become the best player in the world while struggling with emotional issues in her life.
We cannot fail to mention other titles such as "You", a novel by Caroline Kepnes published in 2014; "Anatomy of a Scandal", from the book of the same name by Sarah Vaughan; "Thirteen Reasons Why," Jay Asher's text for young adults; "House of Cards," a television hit based on the Michael Dobbs novel; and "Heartstopper," a junior graphic novel created by Alice Oseman.