September 13, 2022

Random Gush: The Sandman

This isn't as late as it seems; I actually gushed about it on my Instagram already (I just forgot to do the same here).

I actually read The Sandman comics decades ago. The whole experience was life-changing. Neil Gaiman instantly became one of my favorite writers and 'til today I hold him in the highest regards.

At the time, I felt the same as other fans (and critics) did, that this masterpiece was unfilmable (and in my humble opinion, uncastable), so I was fine with not seeing it become a film or a show.

When Netflix first announced the adaptation, I was filled with dread, despite confirmation that Gaiman himself would be involved in every step of the way. I simply believed the comics wouldn't translate. Yes, we have all sorts of incredible special effects now, but surely we all know adapting a story for the screen goes far beyond that.

As Netflix began to announce the actors' names--Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death--I grew increasingly more intrigued. Suddenly, it felt like this might actually work out after all.

The day Sandman dropped I was right there on my couch, watching with bated breath, wishing, hoping, and praying that they didn't screw it up. And they didn't.

Not only was the storytelling pretty faithful, the changes in casting were a delightful surprise. Not only were there more women, there were tons of Black women in this legendary Gothic production that the headlines predicted would inspire a new generation of Goths.

I was floored.

I never imagined they would go in this direction. I was stunned. And when the shock finally began to wear off, it was replaced with something even more overwhelming: gratitude.

For years, I was the only Black Goth girl I knew, and while I have been grateful for the increase in representation in recent years, I'd never expected to see our representation on this scale.

By now, we've all seen the bots, trolls, and incels complaining about the changes in casting. We've heard the latest buzz phrase everywhere: forced diversity. And let's be an extent they're right. Sometimes, diversely cast shows can feel forced.

But the point people are missing is that the diversity in an of itself is not the problem. Our world is inherently, insanely diverse--that's just life. The problem is that in a lot of productions, the people behind the camera and in the writing room haven't the first fucking clue what they're doing.

Think of it like this: for generations, we've been bombarded with white-saturated, heterosexist media, and then one day, those same institutions which bombarded us were told the old way wouldn't fly anymore. All of a sudden, racists were ordered to write melanated characters. Misogynists were tasked with drafting fully fleshed-out women. Queerphobes had to positively portray a community that disgusted them.

In short, exclusionists who should've been fired in the wake of the New World Order were allowed to keep their jobs. Is it any surprise their final products felt forced?

The Sandman works because Neil Gaiman was always an inclusionist in the first place. He's never not written about characters of color, about female heroes, or queer people. He's been ahead of the game since before his competition even knew they were playing a sport.

So now...we wait. We wait to see of Netflix will renew this gem. Considering Netflix's track record, we know better than to assume they will, even if it has been a thundering success.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Negative comments will be deleted. *shrug*