‘Sleepy Hollow’ Could Keep You Up at Night

Review of Fox TV's "Sleepy Hollow."
(L-R) Katia Winters, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones. Photo: Fox
“This town is anything but sleepy,” says Fox about its new show, “Sleepy Hollow” whose set up is just as bizarre as it sounds, but in a good way.

The new mystery-adventure drama that aired for the first time last night on Fox is from co-creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci who have been responsible for the “Star Trek” and “Transformers” franchises and Fox’s “Fringe.” In it, the show does a mix up of the Washington Irving classic story, (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), the book of Revelations and witchcraft. The show starts out strong, but we’ll have to see if it can sustain its momentum without going off the rails – if it hasn’t already.

In this fish-out-of-water story, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is not the fearful, single school teacher. He’s actually a married college professor who was recruited for the Revolutionary War by General George Washington. On the field he comes face to face with a mystery man on the other side. Ichabod swings his sword, cuts off his head and then passes out. He awakens in a cave two and half centuries later in modern day Sleepy Hollow. He soon learns that he’s not the only one from the past to make this new venture.

Dazed and confused, Ichabod finds soon finds himself teamed up with Detective Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), a black woman. Ichabod is torn over which part is more confused with – the fact that slavery has been abolished or that a woman has a badge. The best line of dialogue between the two takes place in her police car:

Ichabod: “That building used to be a livery stable.”

Abbie: “Well, now it’s a Starbucks.”  

Slowly, the two try to piece events from the past with events of the present trying to track down the headless horseman before more heads begin to roll. Now, this is where the story gets weird, er, weirder. It is revealed that Ichabod’s late wife, Katrina (Katia Winter) is actually alive and well, but in a mysterious netherworld which can only be accessed through mirrors. The headless horseman is accused of being one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. A modern day priest is not what he seems and apparently other assorted mayhem. Still, it’s a fun ride so far.

On the plus side, nobody knows who Ichabod Crane is. He’s not like one of the “Once Upon a Time” characters where everybody has read about him. This is more of a modern interpretation of the famous story. There’s even a nod to the story as the precinct’s captain’s name is Frank Irving (Orlando Jones).

“Sleepy Hollow” isn’t exactly scary and I guess you have to call it a horror story as heads do get chopped off, but it feels more like a fantasy/mystery. The characters are very likeable and Mison does a fantastic job as someone used to living in the past takes in all of his new surroundings including the automatic windows in the police car. It’s also a tale of good vs. evil, but my real concern here is the show’s use of a Bible that was buried with Ichabod and the use of witchcraft to do good. At first the show look like it had some promise of adding in some spiritual truth to the mix, but by the end, feels more like a story from the old testament where people worshiped both “big G” and “little G” gods.

If you missed the show last night, you can catch the full episode on Fox.com. The show returns next at 9:00 p.m. on Fox. 

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