Follow TV Tropes


Series / The Sandman (2022)

Go To
"The dreams and nightmares no longer seem to recognize their master. I will remind them."
Dream of the Endless

The Sandman is a 2022 live action television adaptation of the 1989-1996 comic book series of the same name, developed by author Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, and Allan Heinberg for Netflix. The first season fully adapts the first two volumes of the comic (Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll's House), with a partial adaptation of the third volume (Dream Country) and a tease of the fourth volume (Season of Mists). A second season is confirmed to adapt stories from multiple volumes.

Tom Sturridge stars as Lord Morpheus, aka Dream, a long-lived and powerful being who presides over the Dreaming, the metaphysical plane that houses people's dreams. Having been trapped on Earth for over a century following a summoning ritual by Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), Dream deals with the fallout of his disappearance and other threats to the stability of reality.

Other cast members include Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, and Donna Preston as Dream's siblings Death, Desire, and Despair, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, Asim Chaudhry and Sanjeev Bhaskar as the Biblical Cain and Abel, David Thewlis as Doctor Destiny, Kyo Ra as Rose Walker, Ferdinand Kingsley as Hob Gadling, Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian, and Stephen Fry as Gilbert. Patton Oswalt provides the voice of Matthew the Raven, and Mark Hamill the voice of Mervyn Pumpkinhead.

Compare DC Showcase: Death, Lucifer (2016).note  The latter's version of Lucifer is unrelated to this show, with Gwendoline Christie taking over the character for this adaptation.

The first ten episodes of the show premiered on August 5, 2022. A bonus episode, adapting "A Dream of A Thousand Cats" and "Calliope" from the comic's third volume Dream Country, was released on August 19th, 2022. The series was officially renewed for a second season on November 2, 2022.

Previews: Behind the Scenes, First Look, Date Announcement Trailer, Official Trailer, IGN "Lucifer" Clip, IGN "Death" Clip, The World of The Endless.

Provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Deviation: Surprisingly not as overt as in most; the story elements are largely kept intact, though all references to DC's larger universe are removed. No superheroes appear, John Constantine is now Johanna Constantine (in the present and the past), Arkham Asylum is a generic sanitarium, John Dee never had a career as a supervillain, there are exactly zero references to Wesley Dodds, and Hell isn't ruled by Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Azazel together, but strictly by Lucifer. Brute and Glob are combined into a new nightmare, Gault, while Squatterbloat and Etrigan are combined into a more Etrigan-like Squatterbloat. The show also significantly expands the Corinthian's role, tying together the first season by making him The Heavy.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • "A Hope In Hell" and "Passengers" are combined into the fourth episode.
    • "24 Hours" and "Sound and Fury" are combined into the fifth episode.
    • Averted with "The Sound of Her Wings" and "Men of Good Fortune"; while both are adapted into the sixth episode, the former takes up the first half while the latter takes up the second half.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In this show, Desire's default hair color is blonde instead of black, and Despair's is brown.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Matthew meets Morpheus much earlier than in the original story and accompanies him on his journey to regain his tools. In the comic, he first appears in a single-panel Early-Bird Cameo during Dream's showdown with John Dee before being properly introduced in the "Doll's House" arc, when he's assigned to keep watch on Rose Walker.
    • Matthew's predecessor, Jessamy, plays an important role in the first episode. In the comics, she wasn't present in the first issue, and didn't appear until a flashback in issue #29.
    • Mazikeen of the Lilim also appears in the first season of the show, while in the comics she didn't debut until "Season of Mists", over twenty issues in.
    • Mervyn Pumpkinhead makes a silent cameo in the first episode, "Sleep of the Just," and has his first speaking role in the seventh episode, "The Doll's House." In the comic, he made his first silent cameo in issue #5, and after that purely appeared as a background character with no dialogue until Brief Lives.
    • The Corinthian's first appearance in the comics wasn't until the second issue of The Doll's House, but here he first shows up in the first episode. He continues to crop up in various arcs where he never originally appeared until the show's version of The Doll's House, and in general his role has been greatly expanded from the comics.
    • Martin Tenbones has a brief silent cameo in the opening scene of the first episode, before Dream has even been imprisoned. He wasn't introduced in the comics until the last part of The Doll's House, and didn't play a significant role until A Game of You.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Corinthian's role is expanded from merely the Arc Villain of The Doll's House to having fingers in pretty much every pie that has to do with Dream, and along the way he meets several characters he had nothing to do with in the comics, including Ethel Cripps, John Dee, and Roderick Burgess, among others. He's also given a greater role in the show's version of The Doll's House too, as he actively seeks out Jed and Rose Walker for his own purposes rather than having mostly chance encounters with them.
  • Adaptation Name Change: A minor version, but in the comics Unity's last name is Kinkaid, while here it's spelled Kincaid.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • John Dee in the comics is a hideous, desiccated husk with a skull-like face and bulging eyes. Within the series, he looks like an ordinary human.
    • Despair in the comic is a dishevelled, morbidly obese woman with an almost simian face (depending on the artist). In the series, she is chubby and somewhat unkempt, but not particularly unattractive.
    • Roderick Burgess looked immediately menacing in the original comics, sporting a bald head and a Sinister Schnoz. In the show, he's played by Charles Dance, sporting a full head of hair and looking much more refined than his almost thuggish comic counterpart.
    • Dream himself. Instead of the wild mane of hair he's much more well combed, and his skin while pale isn't the white of the book. Instead of the loose robes his comic counterpart favors, Dream here gravitates more to well tailored suits or ensemble.
  • Adaptational Diversity: Many characters which were (or appeared) white in the comics are portrayed by actors of color here, most notably Death and the entire Kincaid/Walker family.
  • Adaptational Job Change: Because getting into the entire history of prior Sandmans from the comics would be impractical from a storytelling standpoint, all references to Hector and Lyta Hall being the former superheroes Silver Scarab and Fury are gone, not to mention Hector's time as the fake Sandman in a false Dream Dimension (this role is now given to Jed). Hector and Lyta are not, and never have been, superheroes within the context of this series; instead, they were architects.
  • Adaptational Modesty:
    • Instead of being nude, Despair wears drab sweaters in the show.
    • When John Dee escapes Arkham Asylum in the comics, he is completely nude, and only gets an overcoat for modesty, which he wears mostly open. Here he spends his entire time in pajamas with a robe and slippers.
  • Adaptational Mundanity: Zig-Zagged. While the fantasy elements are still there (the existence of angels and demons, gods, the occult, and the Endless), this world is noticeably absent of superheroes. The Justice League of America and their extended rogues gallery are all fictional characters in-universe, and any characters who are too woven into the plot to cut but originated as superhero-related properties, like Doctor Destiny, John Constantine and the Halls, are altered in kind.
  • Adaptational Relationship Overhaul: Rose Walker and Lyta Hall know each other and are good friends before first appearing in this series, whereas their comic book counterparts met much later and were not friends.
  • Adaptational Sympathy: John Dee in the comics is the minor supervillain Doctor Destiny, who, while somewhat pitiable, was also an utterly mad megalomaniac who used the Ruby to initiate a worldwide wave of murder and madness for the fun of it. He also murdered Rosemary, a woman who had been helpful to him and he seemed to bond with, in cold blood and for absolutely no reason. The Netflix version is something closer to a Psychopathic Manchild who was severely impacted by his early life and upbringing, and has a Black-and-White Insanity outlook on the world. Also, instead of killing Rosemary, even though he has actual reason to be upset with her this time, he instead gives her his Amulet of Protection, acknowledging her as one of the few good people he's ever met.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Dream gets this a fair amount; heís still essentially a Physical God here but one that's much more easily dismissed, bullied and used as a doormat by other characters compared to his comic counterpart. Notably Constantine is able to do whatever she wants in front of him, unlike the comic version where Constantine was the one helpless to Dream's whims during their mission. Similarly, the Corinthian was never a real threat to Dream in the comic even with Rose affecting the Dreaming. There's also Dreamís interaction with the mocking demon Squatterbloat; in the show Dream telling him to mind his tone to the King of Dreams somewhat comes off as an empty threat, whereas in the comic Dream punctuates his warning by easily overpowering Squatterbloat and sending him flying, making it a legitimate case of Bullying a Dragon. Dream also is almost destroyed during the oldest game and needs Matthew's support, which didn't occur in the comic. Justified in that the series portrays Dream as being seriously weakened by the loss of his personal items, especially the ruby, unlike in the comic where Dream's powers weren't hampered to the same degree.
    • Lucifer gets this to some extent by being the one who engages Dream in the oldest game and loses, rather than it being the demon Choronzon. In the comic, Lucifer Morningstar was never beaten by Dream in any fashion and was merely annoyed that Dream had got the better of Hell.
  • Adapted Out:
    • "Tales in the Sand" is the only story from the first two volumes to not be adapted in the first season, most likely due to the narrative being more relevant to Nada's story arc (which is concluded in the fourth volume).
    • Several DC hero and villain characters who appear in the Sandman volumes the show is adapting such as Etrigan, the Scarecrow, Mister Miracle and Martian Manhunter are removed.
  • Affably Evil: In spite of being a serial-killing nightmare, the Corinthian maintains a chipper and friendly disposition in almost all circumstances. It also helps that his nefarious designs often involve him protecting someone.
  • Artistic License Ė Law: All over the place in the Rose/Jed Walker arc, overlapping with Department of Child Disservices:
    • Child welfare law prioritizes family unity, including siblings. That means that children should be placed with appropriate family before being placed in foster care, and even when the children are not placed with family, siblings have a right to see each other even if they're minors placed in different foster homes.
      • The first place DCF would have tried to place Jed would be with his mother, particularly since she has shared legal custody of him and has no major issues like drug addiction that would make her an unfit parent. That would be true even if it meant sending him to New Jersey.
      • Even if he wasn't immediately placed with his mom, she'd still have a right to participate in any legal proceedings involving Jed's care.
      • Rose being prevented from visiting or even speaking to Jed is completely ridiculous, and being told that she has no legal claim to him is flat out wrong.
      • Ms. Rubio says that Jed can't be placed with Rose because she doesn't have a job or health care and can't handle the responsibility, but part of DCF's job is to help provide services to keep families together as much as possible. That can include things like getting her in touch with a job-finding service, signing her up for Medicaid, providing parenting classes, and getting her benefits like food stamps or cash assistance.
    • As a child in foster care, Jed should have an assigned attorney to tell the court what is in his best interests. That attorney would stay on his case as long as he was in foster care in order to represent his interests, and that attorney would be part of an annual review of Jed's placement to make sure it was going well.
    • The Farrells also aren't Jed's parents and wouldn't be referred to him that way, at least not legally. DCF has custody of children in foster care, not the foster parents.
  • Attack Backfire: The amulet of protection not only repels any form of harm, including concepts such as aging, any being which attempts to harm the wearer is instantly and quite messily killed.
  • "Back to Camera" Pose: One teaser poster has Morpheus, with Matthew on his shoulder, stand with his back to the audience as he gazes upon his realm, the Dreaming, from the bottom of a set of stairs.
  • Badass Longcoat: There are plenty to go around, from Dream's flowing black coat to Johanna Constantine's smart white trenchcoat. Several of the Corinthian's coats are thigh-length.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Corinthian, a serial killer rogue nightmare, serves as The Heavy for most of the season, taking advantage of every opportunity that arises to keep his former master away from him and continue his rampage. Desire, an Endless sibling, is responsible, directly or indirectly, for the opportunities that the aforementioned Corinthian exploits, and they can be considered the Greater-Scope Villain of the season. Throw into the mix Lucifer Morningstar, ruler of Hell, who gets involved in Dreamís quest for his helm and wants revenge for having suffered defeat in their duel. And, for the first half of the season, John Dee, a human who acquires Dreamís ruby and wreaks havoc with it to fulfill his personal ideals about honesty.
  • Bowdlerization: In episode 4, Matthew says "Dreams don't fucking die!" The YouTube upload of the trailer that includes that quote mutes the word "fucking".
  • Cast Full of Gay: Alex Burgess, Paul McLeod, Johanna Constantine, Rachel, Bette, Marsh, Gary, Judy, Hal, Chantal, Zelda, Carl, Philip and the Corinthian all express same-sex attraction.
  • Cats Are Mean: "Dream of a Thousand Cats" establishes that, in the cat idea of an ideal world, humans would be their servants - and occasionally, their prey.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Jed Walker is shown to own several superhero toys, including a Batman figurine, and is occasionally seen watching Static Shock—presumably meaning that DC Comics exists in the world of the show, but didn't publish the Sandman comics. There's also the fact that John Dee looks suspiciously like that actor who played Ares in Wonder Woman (2017), Merv Pumpkinhead sounds like the most famous voice actor for The Joker (among other characters, including the Trickster), and Death sounds like Ares's fellow Wonder Woman villain, the Cheetah.
  • Consistent Clothing Style: The Goths Chantal and Zelda always wear matching black gowns and veils, sometimes with a taxidermied spider. Lampshaded when Rose sees them and wonders if she's underdressed:
    Chantal: No, we always look this way!
    Barbie: They do. Even at breakfast.
  • Criminal Convention: The Corinthian's influence on the world has inspired serial killers to organize a yearly "Cereal Convention," where they all talk shop.
  • Dimension Lord: Dream has this relationship to his Dream Land realm, and it's implied the other Endless all have their realms as well, with Desire's being shown in the first season.
  • Divine Race Lift: The comic's personification of Death (a Grim Reaper-like figure) gives herself the "default" form of an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette. Here her preferred form is played by Black actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste.
  • Don't Fear The Reaper: Death is a friendly figure who sympathetically helps usher people to "what comes next."
  • Double Standard: Rape, Divine on Mortal: Dream confronts Desire about impregnating Unity Kincaid, but he's more upset about Desire attempting to manipulate him into killing someone who is descended from the Endless than he is about the fact that Desire tricked a comatose mortal woman into having sex by pretending to be a mortal man who loved her. Conversely, with Richard Maddoc and Calliope, Dream is incensed that a human dared to force himself on a goddess, and was more than ready to condemn Maddoc to a life of extreme madness until Calliope makes a point of forgiving the mortal and asks Dream to rescind his enchantment.
  • Dream Land: Morpheus' realm, the Dreaming, where all the dreams of humanity are manifest.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Something like this is slowly shown to be a divide between the Endless, with Destiny, Death and Dream on the Stoic, Eternal Side and Desire, Despair and Delirium on the Emotional, Fluid side.
  • Gender Flip:
    • John Constantine, who's a man in the comics becomes Johanna Constantine, a woman. Although as stated by Neil Gaiman on Tumblr she's not really supposed to be the same character.
    • The librarian of the Dreaming, Lucien, is male in the comic. In this series, she's female and renamed Lucienne.
    • This version of Lucifer is played by Gwendoline Christie (although Neil Gaiman does point out that in the comics, Lucifer doesn't have a gender despite being addressed with he/him pronouns, nor does anyone refer to Lucifer with gendered terminology in the show).
  • Grief-Induced Split: One of the main reasons Calliope and Morpheus' marriage fell apart was the tragic death of their son. Calliope says she blamed Morpheus and that he hated her for that; she vowed he would never see her again and kept it that way for centuries. However, by the present day, their anger towards each other has abated, enough that Morpheus swiftly comes to her rescue when she asks. They both make it clear that neither of them resents or blames the other for their son's death anymore, becoming Amicable Exes.
  • Inhuman Eye Concealers: The Corinthian wears sunglasses to hide the fact that his eye sockets actually house tiny mouths.
  • I Work Alone: One of Dream's flaws going into the series, where Jessamy's death and his aloof, regal personality make him unwilling to accept help from others. Lucienne points out that he could get his tools back faster by just asking his siblings, but he refuses, and he also keeps trying to send Matthew away. As the show continues, he becomes increasingly willing to connect with and accept help from his allies.
  • Lighter and Softer: Some of the worse scenes from the comics are toned down in levels of gore.
    • Dream's sand has still wasted Rachael away to little more than a skeleton, but it hasn't coated the walls of her apartment with the still-living flesh of her father and an unlucky burglar, and she still has all her limbs intact.
    • John Dee's manipulation of the folks in the diner is considerably more horrible and nihilistic in the comics, and the secrets they reveal are much worse.
    • The characters in the show are nicer: from Morpheus getting his character development earlier, Matthew being utterly loyal and supportive from the start, Rose Walker being more actively heroic, and even bad guys like John Dee having good intentions.
    • Calliope's rape is implied rather than depicted.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The amulet of protection which Ethel Cripps procured from a demon turns anyone who tries to attack its wearer into mincemeat.
  • Narnia Time: The flow of time between the Dreaming and the waking world isn't always consistent, just like the way people experience time in dreams. In "Collectors", Lyta mentions that she's been living with her husband in the Dreaming for months, and Rose points out that it's only been two hours in the waking world. On other occasions, there seems to be a more even relation, with urgent events in the waking world still considered urgent in the Dreaming.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Rose Walker says this about herself, saying that she's 21 but is often mistaken for being younger and in one scene complains about constantly being carded when she's trying to drink. Lyta jokes that she shouldn't worry about it until she stops getting asked for her ID. She might have inherited this trait from Unity, who is over 100 years old but appears to be in her seventies, since both are vortices; moreover, it may also be explained by Rose being the great-granddaughter of Desire.
    • Ethel is about 120 years old by the time she dies, but looks a lot younger as long as she holds her protection amulet. Similarly, John Dee was born in the 1920s and should be more than 90 years old, but appears to be in his late fifties. The ruby is explicitly stated to prolong the bearer's life.
    • Alex Burgess and Paul all lived through Dream's imprisonment and should therefore be about as old as Ethel. They nonetheless don't appear their age, despite being ordinary humans with very limited, if any, magical abilities. This is specifically because them spending significant amounts of time in the presence of an imprisoned Dream slowed their physical aging a little.
    • Hob Gadling is an extreme example, being centuries old due to the arrangement between him, Death, and Dream.
  • Outdated Outfit: A subtle example. While most of the clothes have been modernized from the styles that were popular when the comic came out in the 1980s, the Corinthian still sports understatedly '80s styles, with a tendency towards sports jackets and t-shirts in matching colours.
  • Perpetual Smiler: While somewhat understated, the Affably Evil Corinthian's mouth is usually open in some degree of a smile. Even his eyes smile.
  • Police Are Useless: Bodies are found blown apart, an escaped inmate from a lunatic asylum is on the loose (and readily identifiable), and there's a conference room full of serial killers, several of whom would undoubtedly be on the FBI's Most Wanted list—and not a single law enforcement agency appears to be on the case. We see some police for a 30 second scene after one double-murder, but never see any again, and even in that scene they notably show no interest in what happened to Jed despite knowing he disappeared and was quite likely abducted by the person who murdered his foster parents.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The comics' Dream has star-like eyes that shine with single bright points of light. The show plays Tom Sturridge's natural blue eyes as Icy Blue Eyes on Morpheus instead, except on a few occasions where he's throwing a lot of power around and looks less human anyway (such as when he takes his revenge on Alex Burgess). Gaiman confirmed that the comics' eyes did not translate well to live action and seriously reduced Sturridge's ability to convey emotion. The same goes for comic Dream's perfectly white, inhuman skin and messy hair; the show depicts him with a very pale but still feasibly human complexion and tamer hair, since several attempts to recreate the comic appearance only made Sturridge look more like someone impressively cosplaying Dream than someone who'd be able to walk the waking world more or less unnoticed.
    • Mazikeen (as shown in the "Lucifer" clip) has a less extensive Lilim deformity — only a third of her face is a corpse as opposed to half, and she has a full mouth and can speak normally. Presumably this is because Mazikeen's Intelligible Unintelligible comics dialogue would be impractical in live action.
    • Gaiman also noted that while Morpheus originally encountered John Constantine in the comics, the significance of Constantine's appearance would be lost on viewers who weren't aware of the comics character's history. Instead, because Lady Johanna Constantine was already planned to appear in the show, the creative team decided to have the Constantine Morpheus meets be a female descendant of Johanna (played by the same actress) so that it would be more apparent what her significance was.
    • In the comics, Despair never wears any clothing. This wouldn't fly on television, so Donna Preston, who plays Despair, is instead given a heavy knitted jacket and sweatpants. The outfit, combined with her lank and unkempt hair, makes Despair look like a woman suffering from deep depression to the point where she doesn't have the energy to change her clothes or groom herself, which conveys her gloomy character without the nudity.
    • As this series is divorced from DC Comics, John Dee is not Justice League foe Doctor Destiny like in the original comic, and is given a new backstory.
  • Protective Charm: The Amulet of Protection was given to Ethel by the Duke of Hell Choronzon in exchange for Dream's Helm. While he describes it as a "paltry thing" (implying it to be fairly low in the pecking order as far as Ancient Artifacts are concerned), it makes for an extremely effective means of defending its wielder from mundane threats, protecting the wielder from any harm and eviscerating anyone that tries.
  • Pun: The serial killer convention is called the "Cereal Convention." The logo includes blood-red cereal loops.
  • Race Lift: Rose, Jed, Unity, Rosemary, Lucien, and Hector are all white in the comic and black in the show. Death, who is also black in the show, is literally white in the comics, so technically casting any non-albino actress would have been a race lift.
  • Reduced to Dust: Whenever Dream undoes a dream or nightmare, they are reduced to a pile of sand.
  • Related Differently in the Adaptation:
    • Since the time that Morpheus was imprisoned has been extended, Unity and Desire are now Rose and Jed's great-grandparents rather than their grandparents.
    • In the comics, Clarice and Barnaby got custody of Jed after his father's death because Clarice was his father's cousin. Here, they're friends of his father's but not relatives.
  • Rip Van Winkle: Unity Kincaid is one of thousands of people world wide who go to sleep the night Dream is captured and don't wake up until Dream's release decades later. Unity struggles to accept that she more or less slept through her entire life.
  • Rotating Protagonist: While Dream is, of course, the overall main character, many episodes use a human as a focal point for the arc, where Dream appears mostly as a Deuteragonist or Hero Antagonist. For example, "24/7" is wholly about John Dee's efforts to create a "honest" world, and Dream only appears at the very end, while the last four episodes, that adapt The Doll's House arc from the comics, feature Rose Walker as the main point-of-view character. The self-contained "Dream of a Thousand Cats / Calliope" has multiple one-off protagonists as well.
  • The Sandman: Morpheus, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Dream, is the creator and ruler of The Dreaming, the Dream Land in which all humanity's dreams are manifest. One of his signature tools is a bag of sand which he can use to put people to sleep (among other uses). His domain includes both pleasant dreams and nightmares; he explains that the latter have a role to play in inspiring people to face up to their fears and weaknesses.
  • Sand Blaster: Dream's pouch of sand is one of the items which he uses to exercise his powers, using it to put people to sleep and transport him or others between places.
  • Searching for the Lost Relative: Rose Walker's plot arc is driven by her search for her younger brother Jed, whom she hasn't seen since their parents split up and whose current whereabouts are unknown.
  • Setting Update: The comic ran from the very late '80s to the mid 90s, and the main story was set during that time. The series moves the main story to the 2020s. Notably, the series doesn't move the start of Dream's imprisonment up in turn, extending it from about 70 years to over 100.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Lucifer speaks very gently and usually has a smile on their face, is never anything less than perfectly cordial, never raises their voice, and threatens Dream about five times in as many sentences. In a breakdown of the official trailer, Gaiman stresses that "We wanted somebody imposing who you would actually believe could intimidate Morpheus, and [Gwendoline Christie] does it just by being incredibly sweet, and youíre always certain that she is far and away the most dangerous person on the screen at any point." It also doesn't hurt that Gwen Christie is nearly six inches taller than Tom Sturridge, and the gowns she wears make her look physically bulkier compared to his form-fitting outfits.
  • Straw Nihilist: John Dee wishes to use the Ruby to take away the "deception" people live their lives under, and if it ends with them going mad and killing each other, so be it.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Modern-day Ethel is over a century old but looks half her actual age due to the amulet of protection warding off the ravages of time. She is played by Joely Richardson, who is two years younger than David Thewlis, who plays her son, and on screen the age gap between them appears even larger.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The "Cereal" Convention attendants are hundreds of average, unremarkably-looking people, with the possible exception of the Corinthian himself and Bit Character Carrion. They are also serial killers, each of them responsible for several grisly, unrepentant murders.
  • Title In: Each time an episode introduces a new location, a subtitle states where (and, as appropriate, when) it is.
  • Toy-Based Characterization:
    • John Dee was allowed to play with Dream's Ruby from a very early age, and as an adult, he fondly looks back on the time when his mother showed him that the Ruby could literally make dreams come true, conjuring a pony in the garden or making it snow in summer. While it's a humanising element to John's character, it's unfortunately a sign of his dysfunctional childhood, as the Ruby was never meant to be used by mortals. As a result of its effects on John's mind, it's also a good indication of how he became obsessed with the Ruby to the point of murdering several people who he believed were trying to steal it from him. It's also the first sign that very bad things are soon to follow when he gets it back.
    • Jed Walker has no toys while still in the care of Barnaby and Clarice, one of the many signs that his foster parents are mistreating him. As such, Jed's only entertainment and hope are found in the dreams given to him by Gault.
  • Unknowingly Possessing Stolen Goods: After accidentally summoning Dream in his attempt to capture Death, Roderick Burgess stripped Dream of his belongings, but was robbed by Ethel Cripps and the items were scattered. His sand eventually fell into the hands of Johanna Constantine and left with her girlfriend. When Dream approaches Johanna for it, she's incredulous and doesn't know who he is, let alone that the sand is his stolen property.
  • Villain in a White Suit: The Corinthian wears some form of white coat and white shirt throughout the ages.
  • Waiting for a Break: Hal Carter aspires to be a Broadway star, but had to give up and move home to Cape Kennedy, where he runs a bed and breakfast and does drag performances on the side. In the season finale, he's inspired to try again.
    Hal: Rose, do you think I want to be here? Cleaning up after Barbie and Ken? Don't get me wrong, I love them, they're great—but if Broadway called tomorrow, I would sell this fucking house and I would never think about any of these people ever again.
  • Winged Humanoid: Lucifer has a pair of black bat-like wings.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Nearly all the characters, with the primary exceptions being Dream and Desire, though Dream lacks his milk-white skin and star-like eyes, and Desire has blonde instead of black hair. Other complete aversions include the Corinthian, Gilbert, and Lucifer, at least as Lucifer is first presented in the comics.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Sandman


Death of the Endless

She, possibly because she's always directly interacting with humans, is very personable compared with her other siblings, and quite gentle with the people she collects. She is infinitely patient with them, as they are obviously reluctant to die and it's this gentleness that helps them accept their fate. At one point, she allows a Jewish man dying of old age to recite the Shema Yisrael, the prayer devout Jews hope to recite before they die to guarantee a place in Heaven, before she takes him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.27 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / DontFearTheReaper

Media sources: