So…Ichabod Crane chops off a Redcoat’s head during the Revolutionary War, is buried by his witch wife, wakes up 250-odd years later after the Headless Horseman arises in Sleepy Hollow (and chops off a few heads), teams up with a resourceful deputy and together they learn they’re about to enter into a vast conspiracy of biblical prophecies and historical oddities encoded in George Washington’s secret bible.
That’s the in and out of SLEEPY HOLLOW, a show I simply assumed would be too stupid to enjoy as anything other than “Ohh, these pilots keep getting sillier, don’t they?” tongue-clucking. But no. Through an irritating combination of decent-enough acting, competent direction, a solid-enough budget to keep this from looking like a backdoor pilot from an episode of SUPERNATURAL, and dialogue that suggests the showrunners know just how silly all this is – and also the brief presence of Clancy Brown, who, like sea salt, makes everything just slightly better – this was actually a fairly enjoyable hour of pilot.
Unfortunately, it’s also next to impossible to say what this show will be like on a week-to-week basis. This is a premise pilot – and a particularly gussied-up pilot at that, featuring TWO guest-actor ringers, a genre feature-film director who really, really loves his blue-tints, and a whole lot of potential plot-noodles thrown at the wall (Witches! Washington’s Secret-Code Bible! Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Satan! We Couldn’t Get The Rights to Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” But Revelations Bible Passages Are Free Whatuuuuup!) with no real idea what’ll stick.
It’ll be easier to judge with episode two just what we’re looking at: a diverting supernatural buddy-cop thriller with historical treasure-hunt twinges, or…well, exactly that, but the pilot-budget’s gone so it all looks campy and crappy and with no real direction other than “Apocalypse = season story-arc” to keep it shuffling along from one meaningless artifact to the next.
Alternately, I guess it could just be SUPERNATURAL but confined to one town (“This week, Ichabod tracks a Wendigo!” and so forth).
Will keep my eye on it.
Stray observation: Nobody in this town of Sleepy Hollow bats an eye of recognition when hearing the phrases “Headless Horseman” or “Ichabod Crane,” so I guess there’s no such thing as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (or, for that matter, I guess, Rip Van Winkle, which Crane also seems to embody) in the show’s universe. I mean, I’ll go with it, but they’re missing a grand opportunity for this dashing warrior Crane to read the original Irving text (or even better though rights-wise unlikely, see the Disney short that made this story a childhood favorite of mine) and react accordingly.
Less useful stray observation: Based on TV, I’m pretty sure (murders aside) my ideal profession is “Sheriff in a sleepy small town.” I suppose it’s not too late.
Step 1: Move to a small New England hamlet.
Step 2: Get friendly with the lady who works at the diner counter, whose name I will assume is Gladys.
Step 3: Wait until current sheriff is killed off under mysterious circumstances.
Step 4: Uniformed folksiness – Success!