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Fall TV: Sleepy Hollow

Emily and Mandy C. continue their Fall TV series with a look at the pilot episode of Sleepy Hollow. SPOILER ALERT: Heads will roll.

Fall TV: Sleepy Hollow

Because Emily and I are so very dedicated to you, dear FYAers, not only did we bring you the juicy deets on Fall TV’s new class, but also we will be sitting down over the course of the next few weeks to check out the pilots/premiere episodes of said new shows. Some of them will be good. Some of them will be bad. Some of them will be so bad, they’re good. It is our hopes that together, we can make educated decisions on whether these new shows reach “record this series” status, if they’re better left for On Demand, or if watching just once was more than enough.

We hope you’ll join us in our research!

(Warning! Possible spoilers ahead.)

Sleepy Hollow

Premiered: Sept. 16 on Fox (Watch it online.)

Elevator Pitch

Imagine, if you will, this scene: A group of people at a television company are sitting around a large conference room table, bouncing ideas for new shows off each other. “Mermaids!,” someone shouts. “They’re the next big thing!”

“Stop trying to make mermaids happen,” a tired voice replies.

Mermaid Guy—because, really, we all know it’s guys who are trying to make mermaids the next big thing—opens his mouth for a rebuttal when someone else interjects: “Revolutions! Revolutions are huge right now. Fighting ‘The Man’ is young. It’s sexy.”

“But it’s been done!” A lady who used to work for NBC cries.

Revolutions Guy continues, unperturbed. “Dystopian revolutions, sure. Been there, done that. But what about THE revolution? As in, our fight against our British oppressors? The Revolutionary War! It was a revolution before revolutions were cool*.”

“Yeah, ‘cause history is so hip,” Mermaid Guy mumbles under his breath.

“But we need a hook,” a lady known for her love of Johnny Depp says. “There was this one movie Johnny was in …” A collective groan rises from the group. “No, no—hear me out. Johnny played a character called Ichabod Crane who did battle with a supernatural serial killer called the Headless Horseman who is the ghost of some dude who was killed during the Revolutionary War. I think it was based on some old story**. What if we took that story, added time travel and witches, and then turned it into a crime procedural?”

Revolutions Guy’s eyes grow wide. “It would be like CSI meets The Vampire Diaries—minus the vampires, of course, they’re so over—and we can throw in some secret societies and a good old fashioned Bible story for good measure! It’s perfect. Let’s get to casting.”

*Revolutions Guy isn’t History Guy for a reason.
**Johnny Depp Lady is also not Literature Lady for a reason.

Familiar Faces

Clancy Brown as Sheriff August Corbin

John Cho as Andy Dunn

Orlando Jones as Captain Frank Irving

Faces That Will Become Familiar (If You Keep Watching)

Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane

Nicole Beharie as Abbie Mills

Katia Winter as Katrina Crane

Redeeming Qualities

Emily: I have to say, the trailers don't really give you a full view of what the show is about. I obviously knew there was a fantasy element, but there's a whole mythology that's been laid out, and the pilot gave me just enough information to make me want to keep watching (without leaving me completely confused). I think the chemistry between Ichabod and Abbie is pretty similar to Elementary's Sherlock and Watson (which I find very appealing), and the rest of the supporting cast doesn't bug me, but I'm not sure I like any of them enough to care if they stick around … which so far shows there are no guarantees. Bonus factor: I enjoy a good jumpy moment or two mixed with a few good one liners, and the pilot definitely delivered on that.

Mandy: I’m on the same page as Emily; Sleepy Hollow’s trailer definitely didn’t give away the actual feel of the show. The show is a lot more spooky than I expected—like, I’m not going to be watching it alone, or in a dark room—but it mixed that seriousness with light (not slapstick) humor in a great way, particularly with Ichabod’s commentary on the future. I, too, loved the immediate chemistry between Ichabod and Abbie (good call on the Elementary comparison, Emily!) and the ridiculousness of the Headless Horseman made me laugh out loud. Neither Ichabod nor Abbie are hard on the eyes, either, which doesn’t hurt.

It's Not Me, It's You

Emily: I'm sorry, but if I woke up 250 years in the future, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be about 100x more freaked out than Mr. Crane seems to be. Hello, the cars alone should have terrified him, not to mention what people are wearing, and I don't know … electricity? I did enjoy some of the one liners, but there were also a few cliches (like the jab at Starbucks, we get it, joke’s been made a few thousand times). Also, and this might just be me, but I really need for him to take a shower. The previews for the season don't seem to be moving in that favor.

Mandy: I found myself thinking that he needed a change of clothes while watching the season preview, too! I understand that the man is from the past … but wouldn’t someone give him another set of clothes? Or do they hit up the costume store at some point, so he feels more comfortable? I digress, however. The most straight-up silly thing in the pilot for me what the glowing red eye of the Horseman’s possessed horse. Really? Really?

Let's Do This Again

Emily: I'm definitely counting myself in for Monday date nights in the town of Sleepy Hollow, though if the demon makes too many appearances, I might have to save it for Tuesday morning when there's daylight and the Headless Horseman can't get me. I have to reiterate that I love the fact there seems to be a pretty deep mythology being built here. As long as they don't break their own rules, I'm going to stick around for awhile.

Mandy: The show’s combination of secret societies, fictional and biblical stories, fish out of water tropes and crime procedural makes for a complex bunch of ideas mashed into one. And yet, it seems to be working (so far). I’m definitely going to need to watch on a weekly basis to figure out how all of these ideas will work together. Sleepy Hollow, consider yourself on series order.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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