Every Neil Gaiman Adaptation Ranked
Neil Gaiman has seen many of his favorite works adapted for the big and small screens. Here's a ranking of each of his adaptations, from worst to best.
With the success of Netflix's The Sandman, there's renewed interest in Neil Gaiman's other adaptations, ranked here from worst to best. A prodigy with a pen, Gaiman has amassed a notable body of literature since the 1980s. He is known for his unique style of dark fantasy stories across various mediums, including comics, graphic novels, fiction and non-fiction. With his success as a writer, it's no surprise that many of his famous works have been adapted for the screen. Gaiman has partnered with virtually every major streaming platform and network to bring his literary creations to life. With more adaptations, such as Amazon's Anansi Boys, there's certainly no shortage of good material to explore in his ever-growing library.
Neil Gaiman started working as a reporter in the early 1980s. With a budding interest in fantasy and science fiction, his interest peaked after reading Alan Moore's Swamp Thing. After forming a friendship with Moore, Gaiman inherited Marvel Man and contributed to Moore's Watchmen series. Gaiman officially joined DC Comics in 1987, beginning his successful career as a comic book writer. His work has stood the test of time, His creative vision defined the era for which he is best known, the era of the graphic novel revolution of the 1990s.
While future adaptations like Good Omens season 2 may change things up, here's a ranking of Neil Gaiman's adaptations from worst to best. Works not listed include Beowulf and MirrorMask, which were inspired by some of Gaiman's stories, but not directly adapted. See where his adaptations rank in the rankings.
10. How To Talk To Girls At Parties (2018)
Based on the 2006 short story of the same name, How to Talk to Girls at Parties was published by A24 in 2018. Despite a cast that includes big-name stars like Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman, the movie isn't a hit, currently holding a 47% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film does explore interesting themes and manages to be fairly entertaining, but lacks depth. The film is currently available to stream on HBO MAX.
9. Neil Gaiman's Likely Stories (2016)
On the way to catching up with Stephen King in the number of adaptations, Gaiman has a number of underrated television credits, such as Neil Gaiman's Likely Stories. The Shudder Exclusive is lower on the list because it was shortened to just four episodes. Anthology series It's based on Gaiman's short stories, and the author appears in some sort of narrator in each episode.
8. Neverwhere (1996)
Unlike others on this list, Neverwhere was adapted into a novel as a companion to the show. Neverwhere was one of Gaiman's first forays into British television. The show features a hidden world called London Below, with characters invisible to the people of London Above, and centers on Richard Mayhew as he navigates between these strange spaces.
7. Stardust (2007)
Stardust, starring a young Charlie Cox before the fame of the MCU and Daredevil, was Gaiman's first major adaptation on the big screen. Along with Cox, the film's star cast includes Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Henry Cavill and Claire Danes, among others. The film is a romantic fantasy set in the fictional English town of Wall and a magical world called Stormkeep. Stardust was originally acquired by Miramax in 1998, but problems during development ended the project. Gaiman waited until Paramount made a satisfactory offer, and Matthew Vaughn began writing, producing, and directing. Vaughn took inspiration from The Princess Bride, so, An underrated fantasy adaptation has been released.
6. DC Showcase: Death (2019)
This animated short, inspired by The Sandman's version of Death, is the screen debut of one of The Endless. It was released as a bonus alongside Wonder Woman: Bloodlines and is set in Gotham City. The Grim Reaper is voiced by actress Jamie Chung, who most recently appeared in Dexter: New Blood. Like the comics, the short follows Reaper as she helps a Gotham City man transition to the afterlife.
5. American Gods (2017-2021)
Starz's American Gods is based on Gaiman's most successful and popular novel. The series kicked off with an excellent first season, introducing Gaiman's unique take on various religious and mythological pantheons. The showrunners and some of the actors changed in the second season, which affected the quality of the show. After season 3 of American Gods ended, the story was left unfinished and unresolved. Despite the abrupt ending, and some issues that arose during production, the adaptation does have its strengths, as it faithfully recreates the novel in a somewhat faithful way.
4. Lucifer (2016-2021)
Lucifer is a rough adaptation of The Sandman vs. the Devil. Starring Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, the show originally premiered on Fox to mixed reviews. Lucifer lasted three seasons It aired on Fox before it was canceled due to lower-than-expected ratings. The series was picked up by Netflix and ran for three seasons to critical acclaim, making it one of Netflix's most popular series. Some were disappointed that Tom Ellis didn't play Lucifer in The Sandman, but the truth is his version is nothing like Gaiman in the comics. The role was given to Gwendoline Christie, who did a great job portraying the role as expected.
3. Good Omens (2019-)
Good Omens is based on the 1990 novel by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Season 1 of Good Omens, released on Amazon Prime Video in 2019, starred Michael Sheen and David Tennant, with Gaiman serving as showrunner. The show revolves around an unlikely pair of angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley as they try to stop the end of the world after enjoying life on Earth. Like the novel, it riffs and slightly pokes fun at many religious themes and the battle of good and evil. Originally supposed to be a six-episode limited series, its popularity has earned it a second season. Good Omens season 2 will answer big questions; with no source material to draw on, it will be an entirely original story.
2. The Sandman (2022)
After 30 years in the making, the Sandman adaptation of Neil Gaiman's hit comic book series is finally coming to the silver screen. Gaiman and Lucifer has proven successful since it found a home on Netflix after a long period of development hell and the hard work of many. The show stars Tom Sturridge as The Neverending Dream, and an impressive cast of Gwendoline Christie, Jenna Coleman and David Thewlis. The first season retells the first two volumes of the manga. The Sandman does a great job of making the show cohesive while blending multiple storylines. The adaptation met and exceeded expectations, with a cast and story that stayed true to the original. Following the success of season 1, Sandman season 2 is expected.
1. Coraline (2009)
Coraline is a stop-motion animated film based on the novella of the same name by Neil Gaiman. The film is directed by Henry Selick, who directed The Nightmare Before Christmas. Coraline was critically acclaimed and was even nominated for an Academy Award. Dakota Fanning is excellent as Coraline Jones, the titular character who discovers a parallel universe behind the living room door. This discovery sparked a The journey ends with Coraline saving her parents from another mother who wants to replace their eyes with buttons. By the end of its run, "Coral Reef" was the third-highest-grossing stop-motion film of all time and the biggest success of the Neil Gaiman adaptation to date.