Neil Gaiman is one of the top fantasy writers in the business. He started as a journalist before he became a critically acclaimed comic book author. Gaiman worked on Miracleman after Alan Moore left the title, and soon, DC Comics hired him before moving him over to the Vertigo label. It was there that Gaiman achieved his greatest success with the series Sandman.
Sandman is in active development to become a television series, but that is not the first adaptation of one of Gaiman’s works to hit the big or small screen. As a matter of fact, Gaiman even worked as the showrunner on the adaptation of one of his novels for Amazon Prime Video. With nine adaptations of his work, here is a ranking of the best and worst adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s books, based on Rotten Tomatoes scores.
9 NEIL GAIMAN’S LIKELY STORIES – N/A
The first two titles on this list have no Rotten Tomatoes scores. The first of these is a series from 2016 titled Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories. This was an anthology series created specifically for the streaming service Shudder. This series is like a mix of Twilight Zone and Black Mirror but based on four of Gaiman’s stories.
Those stories are “Foreign Parts” (from Smoke and Mirrors), “Feeders and Eaters” (from Fragile Things), “Looking for the Girl” (from Smoke and Mirrors), and “Closing Time” (from Fragile Things).
8 NEVERWHERE – N/A
Neverwhere is one of Neil Gaiman’s most entertaining books — one that takes readers into a secret world that exists under London. Interestingly, Gaiman wrote the book after the BBC Two television series that initially told the story. A man named Richard helps a girl called Door and ends up disappearing from London, and only to be visible in the world of London Below.
The series aired from September to October 1996, and the novel also hit in September of the same year, tying into the series. It consists of six half-hour episodes and includes one very famous actor for Gaiman fans in Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who).
7 HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES – 46%
The worst-ranked Neil Gaiman adaptation based on Rotten Tomatoes scores isn’t really that poorly ranked, as it is only slightly rotten at 46%. That is the movie How to Talk To Girls at Parties, which is based on a short story from Gaiman’s collection, Fragile Things. The story follows two boys who attend the “wrong party” and meet some very interesting girls.
The movie hit in 2017 and took the ideas from the short story and turned it into a science fiction film about the boys running across a group of teenagers from another planet who are here to complete a rite of passage. Elle Fanning is one of the aliens in a movie that tries to recreate the ’70s London punk scene.
6 MIRRORMASK – 54%
MirrorMask is a fantasy film written by Neil Gaiman and directed by his long-time collaborator and artist, Dave McKean. The Jim Henson Company produced the film, and McKean tried to re-create his impressive visuals in a movie to great success. However, critics remained divided on the story.
MirrorMask follows a young girl named Helena who doesn’t want to be part of her family’s career in the circus, and after her mother ends up hospitalized, Helena ends up in a fantasy world. The film hit in 2005 straight-to-video after a limited release. Gaiman released the animated children’s novel in the same year.
5 AMERICAN GODS – 76%
American Gods had a critically acclaimed brilliant first season with showrunner Bryan Fuller bringing his dynamic visual style to the great Neil Gaiman story. However, the second season saw Fuller pushed out, and the quality dropped drastically, bringing the overall score down.
Ricky Whittle stars as Shadow Moon, a former convict hired to work as a driver and bodyguard for a mysterious man named Wednesday, who turns out to be the Norse God Odin (Ian McShane). Shadow then finds himself in the middle of a war between the old gods and the new gods of the world. A third season is coming soon.
4 STARDUST – 77%
Released in 1997, Stardust was a fantasy novel written by Neil Gaiman about a falling star and a young man who set out to capture it and bring it back to the woman he loved. However, when he finds the star, he sees it is a beautiful woman, and he ends up in danger from those who want to capture her for their own purposes.
The movie was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who later went on to direct X-Men: First Class and Kingsman. He proved with this movie that he was the real deal and was aided by a fantastic cast that included Claire Danes, Ricky Gervais, Jason Flemyng, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, and Peter O’Toole.
3 GOOD OMENS – 84%
Neil Gaiman was hands-on with Good Omens, as it was a project that he promised his long-time friend Terry Pratchett would be done right. The novel, released in 1990 and co-written by Gaiman and Pratchett, tells the story of an angel and demon who decide they want to stop the apocalypse because they like it on Earth.
Gaiman worked as the showrunner for the Amazon Prime Video series and brilliantly brought his story to life. The cast was terrific, with Michael Sheen and David Tennant starring as the angel and demon and supporting cast that included Miranda Richardson, Michael McKean, Jon Hamm, and Frances McDormand as the Voice of God.
2 LUCIFER – 87%
Neil Gaiman’s most successful foray into the world of comic books was the Sandman series. That is finally on the way to television, although it seems to be a series that might be hard to bring to life without some significant changes. In that series, though, Gaiman created another character in Lucifer, one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe.
While Gaiman created this version of Lucifer, it was Mike Carey that brought him to life when he took the character out of Hell and put him on Earth in Los Angeles, where he tried to stay busy. In 2016, Lucifer premiered on television on Fox with Tom Ellis in the lead role, and it has an 87% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
1 CORALINE – 91%
The best movie based on the work of Neil Gaiman is the animated Laika movie, Coraline. Gaiman wrote the book itself in 2002 as one of his children’s fantasy novels. The novel followed a young girl named Coraline who finds a door in her new house that leads to a world where duplicates of her mother and father are there to give her all the attention she needs — at a high price.
The movie received Gaiman’s only A-rating, with a 91% Rotten Tomatoes fresh score. Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) directed the stop-motion animated film in what was a long line of critically acclaimed animated efforts from Laika.
The Avengers: Every Main Character, Ranked By Intelligence