The Sandman considers releasing new episodes in batches, not seasons

The Sandman. Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021
The Sandman. Tom Sturridge as Dream in The Sandman. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021 /

Love it or hate it, the binge-watching model is a key component of Netflix’s formula. Netflix has long dropped all episodes of a show at once so fans could watch them at whatever rate they like, rather than making everyone wait a week for new content. However, as popular as Netflix has made this method, the streamer is mulling over other approaches.

For instance, Netflix exec Peter Friedlander recently contemplated doing something a little different with The Sandman, the new fantasy show based on Neil Gaiman’s ground-breaking comic. The show is renewed for season 2…but when Netflix announced it, the streamer was careful not to label it as “season two.”

“There are decisions that haven’t been made, but we are considering batching approaches,” Friedlander told Variety. “Everything’s on the table when it comes to ‘Sandman.’ It’s an innovative show.”

The Sandman renewal was never in doubt

The Sandman season 1 has already given us one surprise in the form of a bonus episode “A Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope,” which released a couple of weeks after the first season dropped. Perhaps this was the first sign that the show was going to be a bit different.

There have been exceptions to the “binge model” before. Stranger Things season 4 was split into two parts, while Guillermo del Toro‘s recent anthology series Cabinet of Curiosities released two episodes a day.

Despite fans having to wait literally months for Netflix to renew The Sandman, Friedlander says renewal was always inevitable. “We wanted to spend the time to get creatively aligned around what would be the next, best experience with ‘The Sandman,’” he explained.

"And because of that, we wanted to spend the time with [showrunner Allan Heinberg] and Neil and really talk through and be thoughtful about what the approach should be — because Season 1 is also very thoughtful and intentional. So that was really what took the extra time, is to get our ducks in a row."

Clearly, Netflix has big plans for The Sandman. Friedlander sounds fully committed to the show’s future. “I’m very excited about what we have in store and we have made some great decisions around where this will go,” he teased. “So it’s a stay-tuned and watch. Like you, I am a major ‘Sandman’ fan and to be able to watch Neil and Allan do what they do is extraordinary.”

Netflix releasing The Sandman in batches makes total sense

Without diving too much into spoiler territory, if we look at the comics, it seems obvious why Netflix would be keen on releasing new episodes of The Sandman in batches rather than seasons. The story is not exactly linear. It jumps around, switches tones, and reinvents itself constantly. Releasing new episodes like this would allow viewers to digest different storylines without jerking them one way and then the other.

There are plenty of one-shot stories in the saga, from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to “Facade.” These stories would work much better being told separately from major upcoming story arcs, such as “Season of Mists” and “A Game of You.”

I can’t wait to see how Netflix deals with The Sandman. We’re getting more episodes, and that’s the main thing. All 11 episodes of season 1 are currently streaming on Netflix.

Next. Neil Gaiman reassures fans that The Sandman season 2 is safe. dark

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