The Sandman Dream captured

Netflix’s ‘The Sandman’ Weird Aspect Ratio Issue, Explained

Netflix’s highly anticipated The Sandman premiered on August 5, 2022, and the trippy fantasy drama has been well received. Based off of the comic book series of the same name (written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics), the original series ran from 1989-1996, garnering critical acclaim. As early as 1991, attempts were made to adapt The Sandman into a film. However, for years, all efforts fell through—with the project being lost in developmental hell. Warner Bros. eventually gave up on the film and turned to television.

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Now, The Sandman is finally a reality—with 10 episodes available to stream on Netflix. The series centers on Dream, also known as Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), who is the personification of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless—a family of beings who each embody a different metaphysical force. However, Dream has been missing for over a century (after being captured and prisoned). Upon his return to his realm, The Dreaming, he works to undo the damage caused by his years of absence and to restore his power over the realm once more.

The series has received high praise for its impeccable casting, as well as for remaining loyal to Gaiman’s comic series. And given its success, there is certainly potential for a second season. After all, there’s much more source material to draw from. Plus, The Sandman is still sitting in Netflix’s top 10 most-watched shows, over a week after its release. However, there is one question that may be bugging audiences after watching the series—what’s up with the aspect ratio?

The Sandman‘s aspect ratio, explained

Perceptive audiences might have noticed that something seems a little off with The Sandman‘s aspect ratio. Put simply, the aspect ratio is the width and height of the picture onscreen. Generally, TV shows utilize a standard aspect ratio of 16:9, so most TV monitors also have that ratio. Sometimes, if the aspect ratio of a camera used for filming doesn’t match the 16:9 ratio, it can result in distortion (if the picture is then stretched to still fit a 16:9 monitor). So, when viewers noticed that The Sandman appears to be stretched vertically, they questioned if it was intentional or a mistake.

A Netflix spokesperson told Variety, “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.” Hence, they have seemingly confirmed that the skewed aspect ratio was intentional and is intended to give the viewers the feel of being in a dream. Still, fans have been pretty divided about it. While some are impressed by the artistic creativity, some think that its a bit distracting. Check out an example of the skewed aspect ratio below and tell us what you think about it. Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is now streaming on Netflix.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.