Netflix Responds To Sandman Aspect Ratio Criticisms & Explains Choice

After facing backlash, Netflix responds to criticisms of The Sandman’s aspect ratio. The Sandman is a Netflix fantasy series based on the popular graphic novels by Neil Gaiman. Its cast includes Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, John Cameron Mitchell, Niamh Walsh, Patton Oswalt, David Thewlis, and Jenna Coleman. The Sandman comics had faithful fans for years, so the series was much-anticipated.

When the trailer for The Sandman came out, opinions were split. While the fantasy landscape of the Realm of Dreaming displayed a high level of production design, some people found the images in the trailer to look distorted, leading some to question whether there was something odd going on with the show’s aspect ratio. When The Sandman season 2 was released in full by Netflix on August 5, some viewers were surprised to find that this funky-looking aspect ratio was not just a fault of an insufficient trailer, but carried throughout the entire series. Some wondered whether this choice was intentional on the part of the creative team, in order to render a version of the distorted reality of the Realm of Dreaming, or alternatively if this was merely a poor choice on the part of The Sandman’s makers.

Related: What Happened To John Dee In The Sandman Season 1?

Netflix addresses this debate about the aspect ratio. According to Variety, a Netflix spokesperson revealed that this aspect ratio was in fact an intentional choice. The spokesperson mentioned that the visual choices were made to render “surreal” environments to create the Realm of Dreaming, stating the following:

“As you’ll note many of the environments are surreal in the series and we often say it’s quite what a dream would feel like.” 

With this statement, Netflix finally brings the debate regarding the intentionality of The Sandman’s visuals to a close. The show may still continue to face criticisms from viewers who do not agree with the choice to render the “dream” feeling in the manner in which they did. Nonetheless, this commentary from Netflix clarifies that the aspect ratio was in fact intentional and not a mere result of sloppy filmmaking.

Despite the initial criticism regarding the aspect ratio, The Sandman has still received mostly positive reviews thus far from critics. Those who are familiar with the comics say that overall the TV series stays fairly close to its source content. The Sandman season 2 is already in development given its rampant popularity and vast fanbase. If it continues its momentum, Netflix will likely officially green light season 2, which reportedly has started being written already. Given the contentious debate on the aspect ratio, however, it will be interesting to see how The Sandman carries forward with the visuals in a second season. Most likely, they will maintain visual continuity and use similar tactics, but with time still to develop the next season, viewers will have to wait until season 2 gets further along for an update on its visual choices and how they compare. The Sandman is currently streaming on Netflix.

More: Everything We Know About The Sandman Season 2

Source: Variety

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