When you think about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, you likely invoke an age-old story of the superstitious, lank man and the headless solider riding through the fields of a colonial town.
This is not that story.
Sleepy Hollow is one of Fox’s fall premieres that compete for the title of new hit fantasy shows, airing Monday at 9/8c on Fox. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci have breathed life into the fairy tale with a bit of reality.
The show fast forwards to modern day. Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) has resurrected in a suburban Sleepy Hollow over two hundred years after he should have died; his wife Katrina (Katia Winter) cast a spell on him. Of course, where Ichabod goes, so does the headless horseman.
In this incarnation, Ichabod is no slouch. Instead, he is a rather sexy former Revolutionary War solider who is not afraid to get dirty. He is joined by Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), a female cop who is at the heart of the mysteries of Sleepy Hollow. This incarnation of Sleepy Hollow is not just about the headless horseman, but a whole host of enemies culminating in the appearance of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.
Without too many spoilers, you quickly find out that not everything is what it appears to be.
When we first meet Abbie, you feel a bit bad for her. A young, local cop that is thrust into a crazy world when investigating a disturbance becomes a chance encounter with the headless horseman.
However, there is more to Abbie Mills, including a deep past intertwined in the story. At the same time, Ichabod is no innocent in this either. You learn that he is embroiled in some of America’s darker secrets – and a whole lot of witchcraft.
Four episodes into the series and the fans at New York Comic Con have voted it a hit, in a fall dominated by sci-fi and fantasy shows. And frankly, I have to agree.
I am usually very leery of fantasy TV shows; they tend to overdo it with costumes, effects and storylines. However, Sleepy Hollow has found a great mix of myth, history, and reality.
There is “National Treasure” vibe to the show as Freemasons and occult history tie Ichabod’s past to the modern world. They temper the fantasy with Americana mythology of witchcraft and magic, giving it a more realistic feel. My favorite part really has to be the costuming. I guess this is my “snob” area; I hate over-costuming. I find it can really make a fantasy show sink or swim, and Sleepy Hollow has hit it spot on. They continue their subtle work in excellent makeup.
Okay, there was this one scene and by now it is probably famous. You know the one where John Cho’s neck is snapped and his head flips backwards? For a few moments he looks like Gumby. However, we can forgive transgressions like that for awesome makeup like the witch. And we can never forget Katia Winter, but you have to watch to see what I mean.
If you happen to catch the previews and sneak peeks (the awesome part of Optimum on Demand), you can see the dedication to making the show something special. In one of the episodes, there is a liberal use of Middle English. Now they could have easily phoned it in. I mean, not everyone had a college professor that forced them to read Chaucer in Middle English. Because of that, they brought in a linguistics specialist to translate the script and teach the actors not only the words but the dialect. It really gives you that extra little kick.
Sleepy Hollow is here to stay. It has the right formula to keep going with a “case by episode” feeling like Supernatural. Each episode is layering on more and more hints into the bigger story. As Halloween grows near and the weather becomes chill, sit down with a warm blanket and enjoy the new tales of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow.