Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

The Sandman: 24/7

“All my stories have happy endings.”

“That’s because you know when to stop.”

House of Mysteries

In which my Lord Morpheus makes a compelling argument for social niceties.

As even my addle-pated dimwit of a brother will have observed, this is clearly two stories bolted together. A tense, riveting exploration of the dark corners of the human heart gives way at about the two thirds mark to the 'explosive climactic battle' that forms the end to The Sandman's first proper story arc.

Which is a shame, really, as both parts are well handled and would have made wonderful episodes in their own right. I will, of course, admit that that would have to have included adding back in a great deal of the 'explosive climactic battle' that didn't make the leap from the source material, as that portion of the episode really did find a nice way to trim things down for the running time available. A full episode of Dream and Dee's battle in the dreaming would, however, have been a surreal treat, and I for one am sorry that we didn't get it.

Although it's perfectly clear why that was never going to be possible. Sigh. Ah well. A dream remnant of early Christian mythology can, himself, dream.

So let's talk about the fun parts. The blood and guts and existential dread of those first forty minutes or so.

"Shall I tell you the truth?"

John Dee opens the main thrust of the story with this fairly innocuous question. And then for the next half hour or so it becomes the thumbscrew which is slowly grinding itself into the fingers of the universe.

That was an atrocious metaphor. I apologize. That blubber-bag brother of mine must be wearing off on me. Now what was I saying.

Ah yes, honesty. John, from his own warped point of view, sees lies as the basic problem in the world. And so he changes the world, first making it possible for the people around him to say true but socially uncomfortable things, then ratcheting it up so that they have no choice but to do so, before finally becoming frustrated that they for some reason aren't super happy with the socially awkward, stabby world that he's given them and basically says 'fine, if you don't want to be happy you can just hurt yourselves.' And so they do.

Then he waits with their corpses for a while with only either a manifestation of the Fates or a particularly macabre hallucination for company until my Lord Morpheus shows up to make a counter argument.  The lies John objects to are really people allowing themselves dreams, which is where hope comes from. In short, the lies we tell ourselves are often the very thing that allows us to experience growth and happiness.

It's an unusual point of view, and I don't think I've ever seen that particular argument put forth before. I still say it's a shame that the episode didn't end with the cliffhanger of Lord Morpheus' entrance though. Ah well. One can't have everything.

House of Secrets

Did you know that the Hours were found in Egypt? They will t-t-tell you that it was all just math. That the people in days of old used the joints of their fingers, saving the thumb, to count; that gave a count of twelve, and from the bones of human beings a new thing was born. But the truth is Time and her Hours came from a story... and the name of the twelfth Hour has never been recorded.

It’s really hard to talk about this episode. This is an episode about secrets, about someone using secrets to gain access to mysteries, and it hurts to watch. Secrets shouldn’t be hurt. Secrets should be ruh-reh-respected. People talk about secrets as if they’re dirty. They’re not always. Sometimes they are secret successes, secret internal wars whose winning is really a badge of pride, not a mark of failure. But wars that we don’t talk about because talking about those wars. It would mean breaking down a lot of what it means to be human. When a child is jealous of someone and wants something, but somehow manages to translate that into “Oh my god I’m so happy for you!” that is a victory. And we’ve never learned dependably how to make that victory happen, how to make every child understand these… what do you call them? Filters of engagement? Some children grow up to be Mother Teresas. Others grow up to be Dee.

Dee believes that the filters of engagement are simply lies, and that the truth about human beings is in their first impulses, not in how they manage those impulses. Armed with the power of Dream’s Ruby, he works to cut off the part of the brain that manages and counters those impulses - in a way exploring a very Freudian concept of human consciousness. He’s taking out the superego to expose the id. Every impulse is gratified. But the thing is the id isn’t really the secret heart of humans, and nor is the superego. It’s the ego - the part of humanity that balances on a tight-wire, this step from falling into hell and that step from leaping into the sky. The ego understands the impulses of the id and the purity of the superego - but it’s the ego that makes choices, and ultimately it’s human choices that matter. Each of the characters in our 24 hour diner struggles with their id, superego, and finally their ego.

An exciting announcement from Vanguard Pharmaceuticals!

Vanguard Pharmaceuticals is excited to announce the immediate opening for several key positions in our management structure! We're now actively recruiting for the following positions:

-VP of Special Projects
-Whatever low level bullshit Mark was interviewing for

Competitive salaries and benefit packages offered for 66.6 bar % of positions listed. Interested applicants can find out more on our website. Applicants with a penchant for eating at home preferred.

Be part of the Big Pharma team today!

Dream Skerries:

-- It would appear that either three or four people escaped John Dee's slaughter. Lindy, the cook who gets off-shift in the beginning and is replaced by Marsh, the couple sitting across from Garry and Kate who wish them a happy Anniversary and then disappear, and possibly the guy who's in the gender neutral restroom when Judy first tries to use it and tells her to wait. It's unclear if that man is the same as the guy in the couple.

-- Neil Gaiman said in interviews that the difficulty in adapting this issue of the comic into a television episode was making something that wouldn't make viewers not want to watch the next episode. That, as much as the number of episodes available, probably factored in to the decision to have the battle get resolved sooner rather than later.

-- It's worth taking a look at the comic this was adapted from and comparing it to the episode as aired if you want to see some interesting examples of the difference between storytelling styles in the two mediums. The comic is much more chaotic, and works because it's much more chaotic. They added the through line of 'John just wants everyone to be more honest' as the central structure for the TV episode, and the episode works because of that. Neither would have worked in the other medium.

-- The sound design in this one is amazing. It really makes the whole thing work.

-- A rare slip in the script betraying that this is a British author writing American characters. Kate, at one point, references Mark's 'CV.' No American would use that term. We'd say 'resume.' Neil almost never misses that kind of thing.

On Waking

Cain: A worthy adaptation of a difficult and bloody story, this one has atmosphere for days and is a splendid chiller for the spooky season. And look at that, for an episode with this much violence, I've ironically managed to avoid damaging my idiot broth.. (Squelch) Well, I almost made it.

Cain is the first murderer from the First Story. Keeper of the House of Mysteries, he sometimes feels like a nut, and on other occasions does not. Abel, his brother, knows a surprising number of things about Vivian Vance.

Joseph Santini and Mikey Heinrich are fictional characters and remain the intellectual property of their creators, all rights reserved.


  1. I really loved the scene in the restaurant. One of the things that made it so riveting was that at first, some of the secrets people were blurting out seemed to be making their lives better. Two people found love, and one learned that she was wasting her time mooning after a gay man which she was probably better off knowing. But then, everything started to fall apart and of course the news showed how much more terrible everything could be if people simply spoke their minds without a filter. A sad point, but an interesting one to make, and one that goes against the trite wisdom that "the truth will set you free" and "we just need to communicate our feelings".

  2. The pacing felt uneven. And I don't mean just the contrast between the "24/7" and the "Sound and Fury" chapters which were mashed together into a single episode. The "24/7" comic had a perfect pacing, the way the horror slowly escalated into more and more disturbing mind games by Dee. But the episode feels more clumsy in that aspect, from the very slow section when they start romancing each other, to them suddenly fighting, to them immediately going straight for the brutal deaths that also happened in the comic... but without as much of a build-up. Dee's decision to execute them in those specific ways feels a bit out of character for Show Dee, which unlike Comic Book Dee isn't just a deranged sadist looking for some cheap kicks at the expense of people.

  3. FYI, I work in the Library world, and, while I have a "resume" as a staff person, faculty have CVs. I wouldn't be surprised if there were other segments of the working population that also used that term.

  4. A CV is the standard item to include for academic jobs in North America, but it's actually not the same as a resume. It's much longer and more detailed.

  5. Really? I had absolutely no idea that CV was ever used in the U.S. Thanks to you both! I've learned today.


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.