The Breakdown: So it’s Sleepy Hollow with a little Rip Van Winkle thrown in. So Ichabod is the fish out of water, Abbey is the audience surrogate reflecting the changing times of our world, The Headless Horseman is the gimp from American Horror Story, and Orlando Jones is basically Lance Reddick.
The Audience: Well, you’ll have you usual nerds who like this kind of shit (specifically Buffy fandom, steampunks, and your average consistent “everynerd”) but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were actively trying to *GASP* engage black people, women, and more specifically black women. Look at the cast man.
Bad News First: Being the English snot that I am, I couldn’t help but notice that this show strays way far from the source material, but it’s being billed as a “modern-retelling” rather than “a complete re-imagining.” That’s my main gripe with the show. To me, a genuine telling of the Sleepy Hollow story has yet to be told. When are we going to see the story of Ichabod Crane, timid schoolteacher? Why are we trying to “macho-ize” one of literature’s most notorious milquetoasts? A detective? A spy?
He’s not Bond or Holmes, he’s just a really, really scared guy. Furthermore, the story that they’re telling seriously could have been framed by any other classic story. Hero and villain rise from ancient death to wage an epic war. In between their rise and the war, weird stuff happens. Couldn’t that have been done with anyone else? Couldn’t that have been done with a new character? Or has no one touched a Sleepy Hollow movie in a while? I can imagine Fox execs right now. What story hasn’t been retold for a while?
Call me a big fat whiner, but by the time the series ends, I’ll bet you $10.00 that I could plot out the entire main plot with the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Seriously. They could have just called the show “Poe” and replaced the main big bad (the Headless Horseman) with “The Red Death.”
Captain America reference!
2. I really love this show’s level of self awareness. It’s aware of it’s kind of cliche setup and familiar formula. We’ve seen this show a million times, so the best thing the actors, writers, and crew can do is have fun, which is exactly what this show does. The acting is pretty decent and really takes advantage of Ichabod’s fish-out-of-wateriness. Yes the “origin” is a little contrived, but what are you gonna do?
Final Verdict: I never judge a show by a pilot, but I am intrigued by this one. Why? Because of the trite dynamic between the two main characters. This show kind of takes a bite out of Twin Peaks, Indiana Jones, Da Vinci Code, X-Files, Sherlock/Elementary, a teensy smidge of American Horror Story, and a dash of Doctor Who. It’s not terribly cerebral, but it’s either this or Arrow, which I’m sadly not watching yet. So while the concept of the show is uninspired, I think that the execution will make up for it. I’m honestly going to watch the next episode, if only to see how they handle a change into modern clothes for the man from 250 years ago. I like this show enough to recommend it to everyone except my communist girlfriend who has been brainwashed into liking Doctor Who, but still won’t give Pacific Rim a chance.