Don’t sleep on “The Sandman.”
Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed Netflix series premiered a two-part bonus episode exactly two weeks after the season debuted. Featuring the animated story of “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” and a live-action take on “Calliope,” the surprise drop builds out the “Sandman” universe, with both premiering August 19.
Sandra Oh, David Tennant, James McAvoy, Michael Sheen, and Tom Sturridge lead “A Dream of a Thousand Cats,” along with Rosie Day, David Gyasi, Joe Lycett, Georgia Tennant, Anna Lundberg, Nonso Anozie, Diane Morgan, Tom Wu, and series creator Gaiman also lending his voice to the animated installment. To note, frequent Gaiman collaborators Sheen and Tennant additionally lead his Prime Video series “Good Omens,” with McAvoy and Sheen also appearing on Audible’s “The Sandman” audiobook adaptation.
“We endeavored to make the animated version of ‘A Dream of a Thousand Cats’ as mesmerizing and hypnotic as we could by utilizing the magic of real oil paintings on canvas,” director Hisko Hulsing said in a press statement. “We combined the paintings with classically drawn 2D animation, based on realistic 3D animation of telepathic cats in order to create a trippy world that feels both grounded and dreamy at the same time. Untold Studios in London created the breathtaking 3D animation of the cats. The wonderful 2D animation, oil paintings and stylizing were all done at Submarine Studios in Amsterdam.”
Live-action “Calliope” features Sturridge and guest stars Melissanthi Mahut, Arthur Darvill, Nina Wadia, Souad Faress, Dinita Gohil, Kevin Harvey, Amita Suman, and Derek Jacobi. The installment is helmed by Louise Hooper.
The hybrid two-part episode is written by Catherine Smyth-McMullen and executive produced by show creators Gaiman and David S. Goyer, plus showrunner Allan Heinberg. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Television and is based on the DC Comics series of the same name from Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg.
Creator Gaiman exclusively told IndieWire that the series “grows around you but is always completely of its time” and that the aesthetic of the show directly harkens back to the comic panels’ art design. “It’s not for me a matter of, well, how panel-for-panel, how comics accurate can we get?” Gaiman explained. “Because weirdly if we do it with heart and we do it with attention to detail and we do it with love, the comics panels are there.”
The streamer has yet to renew “The Sandman” for a second season, but the renewal seems inevitable since the series has topped the Netflix charts for two weeks in a row.