‘The Sandman’ Aspect Ratio: Netflix Explains the Deliberate Creative Choice Behind the Divisive Skewed Imagery

With Neil Gaiman’s highly-anticipated “The Sandman” arriving on Netflix this week, some viewers have been swift to comment on the show’s aspect ratio looking slightly off.

“Why does everything looked so stretched upwards? Is it supposed to be dreamy and I’m just an uncultured swine or is there something wrong,” one user asked.

“Sandman” viewers first noticed the skewed images in trailers for the series, sparking some trepidation among fans of the original comic book series. 

The distorted images were not isolated to the trailer, remaining a mainstay in the series itself.

Some questioned whether a technical issue was the causing the distinctive visuals. However, a spokesperson for Netflix confirmed that image distortion is a deliberate creative choice on “The Sandman.”

“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,” the streamer stated.

The series is based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Tom Sturridge stars as Dream — aka Morpheus. He lurks in a realm called the Dreaming and, when he’s captured, his absence triggers events that change both the sleeping and waking worlds.

Throughout “The Sandman,” distorted images show the cast with elongated faces and stretched visuals, giving the series a surreal feeling.