The Sandman’s First Spinoff is Bringing Big Young Adult Energy to Netflix

The dead boys are back in town.


Netflix loves a spinoff, whether it’s needed or not. International spinoff of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Sure, that’s a fun idea with global reach. Prequel to Bridgerton? Why not, we can learn how all these characters met. A Wednesday spinoff about Uncle Fester? Uh, okay, we don’t see why that’s necessary, but fine. Now, yet another Netflix spinoff is attempting something different by taking the tone of one of its best shows and bringing it to a new genre.

The Sandman adapted Neil Gaiman’s most unadaptable comic book series into a bingeable TV show, and came away with a critically acclaimed supernatural epic that’s already secured a Season 2 renewal. Before that arrives, the world of The Sandman is getting a spinoff. Or, rather, the world of The Sandman is getting an adaptation of an already existing spinoff.

Dead Boy Detectives, based on the comic of the same name, follows two ghosts from different eras as they stay on Earth and solve crimes like supernatural Hardy Boys. Netflix has struggled to get quality franchises off the ground in recent years, and with The Sandman having proved an exception to that rule, it’s natural the streamer would want to milk it for all it’s worth. Check out the trailer below.

To the Hot Topic-era wails of My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade,” we meet Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland, who spend their days exorcising demons, solving mysteries, and hiding from death. Edwin, who died in 1916, is the brains, while Charles, who met his end in the 1980s, is the brawn. Fans of Doom Patrol may recognize these characters, although they were played by different actors on the HBO Max show.

Dead Boy Detectives is the latest in a streaming trend: the young adult spinoff. When a franchise proves successful, a new story is told with a hipper, younger-skewing tone, like with The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Gen V, or the upcoming series Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and Star Wars: Skeleton Crew. The trend isn’t even limited to streaming or genre TV, as network YA series Good Trouble was a spinoff of The Fosters, and Grown-ish was a college-focused spinoff of Black-ish. It’s not a new strategy, but it’s been kicked into overdrive in recent years.

Netflix is just the latest platform to try expanding one of its biggest properties and hopefully win over new audiences in the process. Two boys solving spooky mysteries will always be a winner — Supernatural has 15 seasons, after all — and viewers who watch Dead Boy Detectives first might get curious about The Sandman. Or maybe this will just be Netflix’s Carrie Diaries, but hey, it’s worth a shot.

Dead Boy Detectives premieres on Netflix on April 25, 2024.

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