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Why We Have Neil Gaiman's Sandman To Thank For Eric Kripke's Supernatural

The TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" comics just debuted on Netflix recently and, according to Forbes, it's already the streaming service's No. 1 show. It's getting massively positive ratings according to critics and fans alike. As of right now, the only thing that could possibly make Netflix hesitate on Season 2 would be budget constraints. It's been a long time coming, but "The Sandman" fans are finally getting the live-action version of their favorite graphic novel that they've been wanting for decades now.

That's not to say that there haven't been attempts, of course. But most of them were either abandoned (via MTV) or turned into something very, very different from the source material (we're looking at you, "Lucifer"). On the other hand, it turns out that not all of those attempts which turned into something else were a bad thing. In fact, one of them turned into a fun little 15-seasons-long series about a couple of brothers who love drinking whiskey, eating pie, and finding a good burger — oh, yeah, and they kill monsters and demons for a living, too.

Supernatural is essentially a network version of Sandman

The show in question is obviously Eric Kripke's "Supernatural." If you ask any die-hard fan of both "The Sandman" comics and "Supernatural" if there's even the slightest possibility that the former could have inspired the latter, you'd better have plenty of spare time on your hands to hear the answer. As Gizmodo recently pointed out, the parallels and homages are plentiful and obvious, including the complicated family dynamic between Sam and Dean Winchester, which is uncannily similar to Dream (Tom Sturridge) and his siblings on "The Sandman." Heck, there's even an Easter egg in Season 10 where a character is shown reading one of "The Sandman" comic books. As far as "Supernatural" goes, the connection to the source material is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, and Kripke didn't care who knew it.

But Kripke wasn't acting independently of the comic's creator. Neil Gaiman, in response to a fan about the comic's TV show pitch, tweeted that "Supernatural" was basically a network-friendly version of "Sandman" — and a terrific one at that. Kripke was quick to join in the conversation, replying to Gaiman in a quote tweet where he thanked him for his kind words and added, "WB gave me a crack at #TheSandman but said it had to be network. It was my fave comic, inspired much of ['Supernatural'], so I tried. Neil was kind and patient but ultimately, it would've been a bad show. I'm glad he held out." 

While it's unfortunate that "The Sandman" fans had to wait so long for Netflix to get it just right, they at least had a weekly dose of comfort from the Winchester brothers to hold them over throughout the years.