A Sprinkle of Stardust was about a group of people discovering that dreams are a an actual place one visits (psychologically, not physically), and then trying to find their way through the dreaming each night.
It’s true that everyone always wakes up in the morning (unless they lapse into a coma or, in old age, die in their sleep), but they aren’t always who they were. The Residents of the Dreaming have it in their power to return to the waking world in place of a sleeper – it’s the Resident’s “soul” in the body and with the mind (i.e. memories, knowledge) of the sleeper. Mind you, the Resident will think they’re the sleeper and always were, so it’s not like they can get up to anything nefarious; it's just an escape to a more stable life. Some Residents are not even real Residents, but are former "real" people whose own bodies were taken in the past and who are seeking a way out of the Dreaming.
But a people who can get up to things nefarious are the Lords of Dream, with immense power in the Dreaming. Actually, everyone in the Dreaming has the power to manipulate it, and this increases the more time you spend continuously in the Dreaming. But the Lords have other powers as well...
An intelligent, capable man, roughly 25 years old. He seems to know how to get by in the world, but suffers from a certain level of naivety in some areas, owing to the fact that he sometimes sees himself as a perpetual student: he has never held down a "real" job, and is currently living off a research grant, a scholarship and a university tutor's pay. (He is a post-graduate psychology student in the middle of a PhD, and his supervisor is Kelly Nero.) Trent has a girlfriend, Monica Osbourne, who features in some episodes. They have been living together since their undergraduate days, and his feelings of vocational inadequacy are compounded by the fact that she's been in the workforce since before he graduated from his psychology degree (she completed a shorter degree and is two years his senior). Nevertheless, the pair are deeply in love with each other, which is why thoughts of Stephanie tend to keep Trent uncomfortable in early days.
She is a landscape architect, a fact which may ultimately prove to be useful in the context of the format, but which will be played down for the time being. Stephanie (occasionally known simply as Steph) is 23 years old, soft-spoken, seemingly 'ordinary'. Nevertheless, when it comes down to the crunch, she is tough enough to get by – and has needed to be for much of her life, having come from a broken home in a low socio-economic part of town. Although she has no real qualms about the potential for a relationship with Trent (once she gets to know him, that is), she is certainly not forward about the fact, and is certainly not about to break up a relationship to gain a boyfriend. However, the thought of something eventuating is always in the back of her mind (though she is not the type to be endlessly smitten, as was Wade in Sliders), which is why she acts when hope eventually becomes futile in the later search for Trent's girlfriend.
Superficially a strong, assertive type, Ronnie (30) is really a softie underneath. However, this is a side of her we never really get to see, as she remains a somewhat aloof type throughout the series. (This is reflected in the fact that she does not even appear to be a real person until the very end of episode two.) She is an effective and successful businesswoman, and is used to the fast pace of the modern white collar world. Thus, she begins to grow somewhat exposed and useless when involved in scenario after scenario in the Dreaming in which her skills find no home. Despite this, though, she tries her level best not to let this side of her show through, and keeps up a brave (if empty) face when pitted against the odds.
Easily the most mysterious and aloof of the regular characters, Nero (40) is a Professor of Psychology who specialises in the study of dreams (though largely as a sideline), and is also Trent's PhD supervisor: they both work at the same university. Initially, it seems that Nero may be somehow instrumental in the bringing together of the various characters through their dreams, and his responses to queries and hypotheses are always somewhat vague and elusive. However, we eventually discover the real reason behind this elusiveness: Nero is actually well aware of the shared dreaming scenario, and has been studying it for a number of years, but is still largely unaware of the finer points and all the destiny stuff.
The "Affair Arc"
A running character arc concerns Trent and Stephanie. Starting with the pilot episode, then through to the Series One finale, there exists a potential for romance. However, Trent has a girlfriend in the real world, and it is partly because of the "date" scenario that he and Stephanie were involved in during the pilot that he never mentions the Dreaming to his girlfriend. Indeed, her first awareness of the Dreaming comes with her abduction in the Series One finale. (An added layer of guilt emerges from Trent's thoughts that things may somehow have been different had he warned his girlfriend of the situation.) Naturally, the search for his girlfriend becomes something of a personal quest for Trent in the following series. However, it gradually becomes a seemingly futile hunt, and he slowly starts falling for Stephanie, and she likewise. So they eventually get together. But, in the Series Three finale, Trent's girlfriend turns up again, and complications naturally ensue.
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