Full disclosure: I wasn’t just a skeptic, I was a hater. Even before the first season of FOX’s Sleepy Hollow premiered, I had made up my mind that it was the most ridiculous television show to ever grace network TV. Why would anyone rehash such a tired story as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow for television and expect it to be original? Why would anyone think inserting Ichabod Crane in the modern day would be a good idea? Who are these producers and what are they thinking? Those were just a few of the questions I had when I first heard about Sleepy Hollow during the spring network upfronts. I was so sure that Sleepy Hollow would be a horrendous train wreck.
But you know what? I can admit that I was wrong. I was so very wrong. Sure, it took at least three of my friends recommending the show to me, plus some interesting gifsets on Tumblr, but eventually I decided to give the pilot of Sleepy Hollow a try. And I’m glad I did. As I mentioned in the first part of my fall premieres post, Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite new series this season. It isn’t like anything else on television right now and that is incredibly refreshing. So if you’re like I was, with your feet planted firmly on the ground of never-ever-ever-watching-Sleepy-Hollow land, I’m here to tell you why you’re wrong. For the love of TV, you should definitely watch Sleepy Hollow.
Sleepy Hollow Reimagined
If nothing else–even if you absolutely hate Sleepy Hollow–you have to hand it to the creators and writers of the show for their ability to take Washington Irving’s story and produce something fresh and original. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is nearly 100 years old and has been reincarnated in over a dozen films and TV shows, but FOX’s series has done something completely new. Ichabod Crane is a soldier in the Revolutionary War, under George Washington (yes, THAT George Washington) who beheads a horseman, dies, and comes back to life in modern-day Sleepy Hollow. The horseman comes back to life as well and terrorizes the small town. However, add in some biblical legends–the horseman is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse–plus some other historical stuff like witchcraft, add a dash of demons and you’ve got the recipe for Sleepy Hollow. What I particularly like about the mixture of stories and legends is that many of them are lesser known, though they still tie loosely into historical context.
More and more, television networks are giving the green light to series that can be categorized as horror. With the popularity of shows like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Supernatural, the abundance of horror series comes as no surprise. It used to be that the only horror found on TV was part of special Halloween programming. In the past decade, all that has changed. I suppose one of the TV gods must have realized that people love horror year round, not just in October, and I am thankful for that. Although I’m not a big fan of gore for gore’s sake, I can get behind any TV show or movie that can literally make me jump in my seat. Sleepy Hollow managed to do just that within the pilot, so I have to give the creators credit. Sleepy Hollow is a great addition to the horror line up–and let’s be honest, it’s fun to watch some scary television in October even if it’s a little cliche.
I don’t know if I should actually try to explain why the cast makes this show great, or if I should just link to a bunch of Tumblr gifsets so that they can explain themselves. In all seriousness, it’s hard not to love a cast that is as much in love–if not more in love–with the show as the fans.
“This was the last [script] that I read and I instantly had to read it again, because I thought: No?! Really?! I didn’t believe anyone had the balls to make a show like this. I just couldn’t not be in it, really.” –Tom Mison
Tom Mison stars as Ichabod Crane with Nicole Beharie as Abbie Mills, while Orlando Jones plays Captain Frank Irving (a nice nod to Washington Irving and I hope the writers tie him in somehow.) Jones in particular has been interacting with the fans, which is always really cool. He has joined Tumblr, he has requested fanfiction, and he even ships Ichabod with his wife, Katrina. All other actors and actresses should take note. Seriously though, I could probably write a whole post on how much I love this cast (and maybe I will!)
Perhaps you’ve noticed, but if not: I love a good campy movie or TV show. One of the best aspects of Sleepy Hollow is the campy humor. I can pinpoint the exact moment the pilot won me over to a street sign. In the premiere episode, the headless horseman is chasing down a man and cuts a street sign in half. Since the sign showed a man riding a horse, the horseman created the image of a headless horseman on the street sign. Seriously, it was perfect. Then there is plenty of humor in Ichabod’s culture shock. A man from the 18th century plopped into the 21st century is bound to have some issues. Of the things Ichabod has learned about the modern world there’s the sales tax, the many Starbucks, and the number of shots in a gun. Though my favorite has to be at the beginning of episode 4 when Ichabod commiserates about love with a woman via the navigation system in Abbie’s car. Tom Mison said it best at New York Comic Con this weekend.
GIFs via Hattiehargrove on Tumblr.
Ichabod & Abbie
Something I have really come to appreciate on television and in movies are platonic heterosexual partnerships. Not the ones like Beckett & Castle from Castle or Booth & Bones from Bones where they inevitably become romantically involved, I’m talking about partnerships like Joan Watson and Sherlock Holmes from Elementary. Ichabod and Abbie from Sleepy Hollow–hopefully–won’t ever become involved. (This is due in part to the fact that Ichabod is still in love with his wife Katrina.) I love that the creators of the show have produced a nice and caring friendship between these two characters. For instance, in the second episode Ichabod wakes up in a motel room that’s covered in post-it notes to help him with all the unfamiliar technology; the notes are presumably written by Abbie. I love watching these two work together on screen and I’m excited to watch Ichabod and Abbie save the world together (without ever making out.)
Well if I haven’t convinced you to watch Sleepy Hollow, I don’t know what else I can say. So I’ll leave you with some words from Tom Mison, maybe he can persuade you.
“Like 3 months ago we were at San Diego Comic Con basically saying to a room of people ‘Please watch our show. We don’t quite know how to describe it. Please trust us.’ And within 3 months we are back here [NYCC] and we are announcing a second season. It’s, it’s silly.”