‘The Sandman: Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope’ Review: The God of Dreams Returns for Two More Stories

The Sandman

What a surprise! A new Sandman review celebrating the fact that Netflix just released a new episode of its new hit fantasy show. The Sandman has quickly become one of the best shows produced by Warner Bros. and also one of the best fantasy series in recent memory. The series continues to adapt the countless stories of The Sandman comic book and now expands what was already a fantastic season with two more stories set in the universe of The Endless.

Episode 11 of this season of The Sandman is divided into two sections. The first is a short story titled “Dream of a Thousand Cats”. And it brings a fantastic cast of actors, including David Tennant and Michael Sheen, to tell the story of a cat that wants to reshape her world and be free from humanity. And a second section focused on the story of a writer who literally receives inspiration from the hands of another writer and sadly makes the wrong choices while using it.

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The two new stories are quite distinctive from each other, and they show that The Sandman can be more than just another serialized TV show, and that it can really push the way we see narrative structures on television.

Dream Of A Thousand Cats Review: A Beautiful Animated Tale

The first section of this extra episode is titled “Dream of a Thousand Cats” and in retrospect, it is the perfect title for such a tale. The first thing that will come to your mind is that this section is animated. It is made in the style of movies like A Scanner Darkly or the fantastic Undone on Amazon. It is both a mixture of rotoscoping, which means painting over live-action footage and also CGI, used, of course, when it comes to the breathtaking creatures that make an appearance and the cats that serve as protagonists.

This section of the episode is very short. You could even say that the entire section could be considered a short film by itself. Like the ones Pixar uses to open their movies in theaters. The episode’s style will certainly make it stand out from the rest of the episodes in the series. The story is quite charming, and it really makes you think about what sort of person you are when it comes to dealing with animals.

The Sandman

There are some terrible things being done here to some very cute animals. And while for most of us, it is baffling and unfathomable that someone could do that to an animal, in the real world, there are many people who do worse things to our fellow inhabitants of the world. If animals could talk to us, they would say a lot of bad things about us. That is for sure. The episode mixes this story about cats with the mythology of the show in a surprising way. The ending will make you chuckle, but also might give you goosebumps.

Calliope Review: A Tale That Gives Us More Hints About Morpheus’ Past

The second section of the episode is also its longest, and it is basically what a normal episode of Sandman would be. Not only because it is made in live-action, following the same production values as the rest of the season, but also because it basically has the same running time as the rest of the episodes. It is a self-contained story, in the same way, that Episode 6 was before it. So, it isn’t surprising that it was left out for some reason. Was this always the plan, to release it after the rest of the season was already out?

The Sandman, the comic, is composed of many different arcs. Some of those arcs ran for a couple of numbers, and some of them ran for just one. In the faith that the TV series is trying to replicate the feeling of reading the comic, it makes sense for the series to have these standalone episodes in the middle of longer arcs. It makes for a good change of pace. However, Calliope, it is far from just being filler content. Not at all. It serves as a way to tell a story about ambition, and creativity, and also expands Dream’s past.

The Sandman

Morpheus is quite a mysterious character. Most of his past remains in the shadows, and we only get glimpses here and there of all the numerous things he has done in his long-lived life. In this episode, we are introduced to Calliope, a literal muse, the one that answers our prayers when we are looking for inspiration. The story is all about creativity but mainly focuses on being a metaphor for abuse against women. The show is proud of being quite feminist and progressive, and it doesn’t stop being it here.

Is it a bit heavy-handed when it comes to its message? Yes, for sure, but Gaiman’s storytelling is strong enough that it makes you forgive this heavy-handedness and focus on the characters. There is also a powerful revelation concerning Morpheus at the end of the episode, and it is, of course, a tease for future stories in a future season.

Episode eleven of The Sandman, season 1, comes as a nice surprise. It is something not many TV shows have ever done, so The Sandman might be breaking new ground here. Let’s hope the reaction to this surprise episode is good enough so that Netflix can finally green light a second season of the show.

SCORE: 8/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.