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Back when Sleepy Hollow started in August 2013, we didn’t watch it even though it should have automatically made it onto my “must try out list”. I mean, it was a supernatural, sorta-horror thing with a British guy and a leading character that was female. The supernatural-ness of it all should have put it on the list on its own. But then I heard the plot. And I saw the trailer.
It looked bloody awful.
No, I’m not British. That’s just how awful it looked. I figured there was no way it would possibly last. It would be a huge bomb and the first cancellation of the season. I was obviously wrong. It got pretty great ratings from the get-go, most likely because it debuted in August when nothing else was on and ended after a short 13 episode season. By the time I realized this thing was going to last and I started hearing the comparisons to Supernatural, it was already several episodes in and I was still a nay-sayer.
Well, we finally gave it a shot once the first season came out on DVD, mainlining it like it was a rare commodity. For those of you unfamiliar with Sleepy Hollow, it’s a fantasy show on Fox about Ichabod Crane, who died in the American Revolution after being slashed in the chest by an axe carried by a man whose head he chopped of and yet did not die. Some 250 years later, Ichabod rises from his grave in modern day Sleepy Hollow, where he meets up with Lieutenant Abbie Mills, a young beat cop headed to CIA boot camp in a few days. When Mr. Headless starts showing up and popping off other people’s heads, Abbie’s plans change and she sticks around to help Ichabod unravel the crazy.
It’s Supernatural without the car, with two sisters replacing the brothers, and a heavy dose of fictional American lore. You even have a daddy figure, who leaves the siblings a treasure trove of research that help them in their fight against the supernatural creatures. Trying to explain much more of it will just sound like madness, so let’s just say there’s a headless horseman killing people, a demon trying to kick start the apocalypse and Ichabod and Abbie are stuck with the position of witnessing it all.
This show is highly enjoyable, though I never got as addicted to it as I did Supernatural. It has a pretty solid first season, introducing the characters of Jenny, Abbie’s institutionalized sister, and John Noble (Walter from Fringe) plays a “sin eater” whose extreme reluctance to get involved just means he’s going to get dragged even deeper into the crazy. Orlando Jones is a doubtful yet rational in the face of crazy police chief, who inadvertently gets pulled into the apocalypse, while Ichabod’s wife, a witch who cast the spell that allowed him to rise from the dead, helps them on occasion from her place trapped in purgatory.
Most episodes of the first season have a keen “monster of the week” feel to them, though with a scattering of mythology that builds upon itself as the season goes on. It’s very much Supernatural season 1 in that nature. The monster effects are great, if occasionally a bit unnerving (though that’s probably what they were going for).
Nicole Beharie plays Abbie as a rational woman in an irrational place, never doubting the crazy she sees in front of her. She doesn’t break into hysterics when a headless man with a giant gun shows up in her path. She barely even doubts Ichabod’s story about being from the American Revolution. She’s reasonable and good in a stressful situation. She has a ridiculous amount of Bible knowledge that’s a little off-putting, but she’s a fantastic leading lady. Not too serious, while at the same time, not treating the crazy as a joke. Meanwhile Tom Mison as Ichabod is hilarious in his straight man act, having to figure out the 21st century while implementing his knowledge of the 18th to save the entire world. He occasionally has some really ridiculous lines that he plays off with the right amount of conviction that they don’t seem so ridiculous.
The cast in general is fantastic at what they’re doing. Lyndie Greenwood is a badass as Jenny Mills, playing things as though she’s a tip-toe away from being unhinged while Katia Winter’s Katrina is a nice enigma that I hope might have some additional motivations to what is obvious on the surface.
I can understand why so many people were upset after the season finale because it’s a pretty gasp-worthy ender with cliff hanger upon cliff hanger. Much like with Supernatural season 1, I was very happy that I didn’t have to wait so long to see how things turned out. It’s a decently shocking ending with twists that I didn’t foresee, so that always makes me happy.
So what do you guys think? Have you watched Sleepy Hollow? Do you love it, hate it, think it’s super silly?
No spoilers for anything past the first episode of the second season. We’re still a few eps behind!