If traditional Marvel Studios stories aren't cutting it for you anymore, you may want to check out The Sandman on Netflix. The new series is based on the critically acclaimed comic book series of the same name by Neil Gaiman. It follows Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the King of Dreams who must restore his battered kingdom after being imprisoned by humans for 100 years. His quest gives him an intimate look at what it means to be human.
Season 1 of the series adapts the first two arcs of the original comics, but longtime fans know that the series spans across more than just major story arcs. The original Sandman books have plenty of side stories and one-off tales that turn the series into a sprawling mystical epic full of many facets.
Being the dedicated (if not unambitious) adaptation that it is, The Sandman dropped some bonus episodes on Aug. 19 to supplement Season 1. Let's break them down.
'The Sandman' bonus episodes explained.
In a first for a Netflix series, The Sandman put up an hour-long bonus episode two weeks after the series began streaming. The special is comprised of two side-stories that take place within the canon of the show. Each story is ripped straight from Dream Country, the third arc of the Sandman comics that acts more like an anthology of short stories having to do with Morpheus and his metaphysical siblings of the Endless.
The first segment is an animated short called "Dream of a Thousand Cats." In this story, a neighborhood's worth of cats gather to hear the words of The Prophet (Sandra Oh), a former domesticated housecat who's betrayed by her human owners. She brings a message from a feline version of Morpheus himself, saying that if a thousand cats can dream of a world where they rule over humans, the power of that dream will make it into a reality. She travels the world to urge all cats to follow her word.
The second segment is a live-action episode called "Calliope."
In this segment, struggling author Richard Madoc (Arthur Darvill) forcefully draws upon the power of the Greek Goddess of poetry, Calliope (Melissanthi Mahut), in order to produce brilliant writing. Calliope turns to her former lover, Morpheus, to rescue her from Richard's clutches.
The episode reveals more about Morpheus's past, including the fact that she shares a son with Calliope.
While the series has yet to be officially renewed for a second season, this special serves to continue Morpheus' journey in its own way. It's not technically a chronological continuation, but it further develops Morpheus both as a character and as a function of the broader concept of dreaming. If nothing else, it shows exactly how far the series is willing to go to adapt the original comics.
You can stream the first season of The Sandman and its bonus episodes on Netflix.