Advance Review: Sleepy Hollow


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I know the day before airing is odd timing for an advance review of Fox’s new drama ‘Sleepy Hollow’, but, what can I say, my life has been having technical difficulties as well. And this way, if you’re unsure if you want to tune in tomorrow, maybe this will be the final push in either direction.

‘Sleepy Hollow’ tries to capitalize on the recent interest in, and popularity of, supernatural television programming. It has little to do with the original story of the Headless Horseman, barring the fact there is a Headless Horseman, and with that, an Ichabod Crane.

That’s pretty much where the original legend and this new interpretation part company. Ichabod Crane (English actor Tom Mison) and the Headless Horseman are bound together through some sort of magic, with Crane having removed the Horseman’s head back in the Revolutionary War, 250 years ago.

When one revives, the other follows suit, leading to the obvious fish out of water gags. Can’t get enough of those. Asking when women started wearing ‘trousers’ is adorable. Asking African American Lt. Abbie Mills when she was ’emancipated’ is just plain uncomfortable.

Considering Crane’s only source of aid comes from Lt. Mills, (Nicole Beharie) who has to convince everyone else the English guy who doesn’t know what a videocamera is isn’t crazy, staying on her good side should be his highest priority. I, personally, just love the fact he pronounces ‘Lieutenant’ properly. (It’s ‘Left-tennant’. Commonwealth rules!)

If it’s not bad enough there’s a giant with no head riding around town, killing people, Crane discovers his Revolutionary-era wife was a witch (of course she was), and Sleepy Hollow seems to be some sort of repository for evil and unexplained goings on, a less-charming Hellmouth, if you will.

It’s contrived, but it gives our characters something to do each week aside from placing themselves out as bait for the cranky guy with no head. The Horseman (I really want to give him a name. Gus? Harold? Patrick?) is apparently a sign of an oncoming apocalypse, because why wouldn’t he be? And, it turns out, his boss is a real jerk.

‘Sleepy Hollow’ is like ‘Grimm’ meets ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’ meets that minivan you’re stuck behind in traffic with the, ‘In Case of Rapture, This Car Will Have No Driver,‘ bumper sticker (I always want to follow that guy home, wait until he goes inside and put a, ‘In Case of Rapture, Can I Have Your Car?‘ sticker on his people carrier. But I digress.

There is a lot going on in this show, and sometimes, it seems like too much. That’s not to say I’m not going to watch it. I will. I’m going to watch ‘Sleepy Hollow’ like it owes me money and I’m afraid it’s going to make a run for the airport.

Tom Mison is spot-on as Crane; lost, angry, confused and afraid. Beharie isn’t as impressive as Lt. Mills; she’s a little stiff, but considering this is the pilot, we’ll see how the next few episodes treat her. Since the closing music was ‘Sympathy For The Devil,’ I’m a little apprehensive.

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: And his name that sat upon him was Death; and Hell followed with him.”

‘Sleepy Hollow’ airs Monday, Sept. 16, 9:00 ET PHOTOS COPYRIGHT FOX TV


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