Sleepy Hollow. Worthy of the Legend?

I wasn't sure I was going to blog on this show and I had to watch it twice before I made  up my mind.  It's your typical "fish-out-of-water" story but fortunately for the viewer the show doesn't belabor the incredulity of the participants or the viewing audience.

How many times have we all watched a show where the principle player (such as 18th century Ichabod Crane) is thrust into some bizarre situation and despite overwhelming evidence to support his or her claims no one, save perhaps one, ever believes him.  This point is driven home across the breadth of the season and perhaps seasons to come.  It can be very frustrating for all concerned.

Well, not this show!

It wasn't long before incredulity goes the way of a severed head and by the end of the show everyone is seemingly on board.  Even the character of Captain Frank Irving, (middle name Washington?) who by all rights should be the most disbelieving, has thrown his lot in with Abbie and "Captain America" Ichabod Crane. (Yes, he may be in on the secret like Brooks and the dear Reverend.  That helps.)

I was a bit thrown by this expecting the familiar TV tropes to rule the day.  But after some thought I find this accelerated version most refreshing.  Things were a little off here and there.  Crane himself should be ready for the asylum he eventually finds himself in.  But no, cars don't phase him, modern day weaponry doesn't puzzle him (granted, I would duck too if anything fired at me), power windows, now that is fascinating!

I like a show that has a sense of humor and is a bit self aware.  (See above.)   Little things like the power windows and the "Captain America" line I can appreciate and I find endearing.  But speaking of self aware, does this version of Sleepy Hollow not have the legend in it's story books?  Was there no Washington Irving to write this story in it's time line?  I mean they all live in Sleepy Hollow don't they know the story?  I guess not, I wonder what else has changed?

 Here is something that's changed, Fox has shown the courage to cast a female co-lead of an African-American woman!  Hooray!  (Or should I say huzzah in keeping with the 18th century theme.)  "Leftenant" Abbie Mills is wonderfully played by Nicole Beharie who thankfully dispenses with all the cliches that Black actors are often encumbered with.  Praise be!  I would hate to see Beharie's character weighed down by the stereotypes that are ultimately demeaning and insulting.  No, Abbie Mills is no second fiddle, she's quick, courageous, canny  and resourceful.  (Let's keep an eye on the show-runners to make sure she stays that way.)

Ok, let's discuss some of the finer points of the episode.

The Mirror Universe.

I like it.  Crane's seemingly deceased wife can communicate with him through a mirror.  Our perspective on this world includes Crane existing in this mirror universe as long as he speaks with her.  I wonder if Katrina will be a series regular through this portal or through flashbacks.

Not only can things be seen through to the mirror universe but it's occupants can cross between the two worlds.  At least in the case of the "Demon".   Does that mean Katrina can cross over?  I think not, she claimed to be trapped there.  Bad news though, Mr. Demon is not trapped there.

Revised History

As I noted earlier this world knows nothing of the Washington Irving story but it least it has a George Washington!  But no only is he fighting the British he's fighting a war to stave off the impending apocalypse.  I don't remember that in my history books!

Does this mean the British were on the side of evil when they had the "Headless Hessian" in their employ?  Was it because of their imperialist/colonial ways that brought slavery to the new world?  I'd like to see this explored further.

The interrogator at the beginning of the episode shows Crane a dollar bill (more of the lack of incredulity I loved) and it has Washington on it.  That's fine, but make note of the "unfinished pyramid" on the reverse side.  The meaning to us is of an unfinished union that strives for perfection.  To them I think the mythology is quite real.  In fact it seems apparent that Captain Irving, Officer Brooks and the Reverend (who existed in two time lines are aware of it and "witchcraft".  Interesting.

Nitpicks and Other Observations.

 So Crane and the Horseman are bound by blood eh?  I guess that means the Horseman isn't going anywhere.  But what of the other riders of the Apocalypse?  Can Crane defeat them but not his blood brother without killing himself?  That's a quandry.

So if the Demon can cross through the mirror worlds why doesn't he just kill Crane? Oh right, the blood connection.

If witchcraft exists in this world where are the two covens?  Is the good coven trapped in the mirror world with Katrina or is it represented by Abbie's sister and the dead Reverend?  Is Irving a member of the evil coven?  Was Brooks?  Is the eagle as a "familiar" able to transcend both worlds?

Here's a nitpick, Abbie says she's a member of the police force yet she clearly worked with the Sheriff.  Her arm patch says Sheriffs Department which is county oriented.  So which one is it and why isn't Irving in a sheriff's uniform, everyone else is?

Super nitpick, Crane said he was ordered to Washington's tent and he ends up in a cabin. Gotcha!  (Hey, I said it was a nitpick.)

OK, what did I miss?  What can you all add?

I'll try to quicker with posting next week but with "Almost Human" around the corner I can't promise anything.  Remind me to keep my head up!

 (Pun intended.)


  1. Icabod will need to find the portal to the mirror universe to save Katrina. Interesting that the demon seems to be able to use the mirror. Glad to see John Noble joining the cast. Mash-up of Gandalf and Walter????

    1. Seeing John Noble in a pointed cap such as Gandalf wore would be a treat. I'm thinking Abbie's sister will hold the clues to entering the mirror universe or at least freeing Katrina from it. But, they'll probably want to leave her over there for now. The whole damsel in distress thing. Plus I don't think they want to damage the dynamic between Crane and Mills quite yet. Do we see the four trees every time we look into the other side? I'll have to look into that.

  2. Hi Dave,

    I was pleasantly surprised by this pilot. Yes, a lot of confusing mythology, but the leads are likeable and the show doesn't take itself too seriously. The news that John Noble is joining is icing on the cake! Please don't behead Walter!

    -Lynne (duckyislost)

  3. Oh, jeez, beheading Walter would be a no-no. Hopefully, they have to travel up to Boston to see him. That would be a nice touch. Come to think of it they may find him in Salem. Spooky!

    Yes, major points for not taking itself too seriously. It keeps things light and adds more weight to the dramatic parts.

  4. Hi Dave, i read your review before i watched the pilot ep of Sleepy Hollow.

    The pilot was ok so im reserving judgement on it for now. Im hoping that the scripts get a little meatier and more indepth ..... because 'light and fluffy' dont engage me. There is plenty of scope for lots of mythology to be thrown about here im keeping my fingers crossed for that!

    I like Tom Mison, he's quite good as Icabod Crane (just as an aside- Tom has played a Crane before .... Dorian Crane in fact ... in an episode of Lewis, in the UK) Seems he may have been fated to play Mr Crane.

    I am intruiged by the 'bound by blood' idea. I wondered if Icabod will have to die (sacrifice himself) so that the Horseman can be banished / killed / sent back to the past etc) But this throws up further questions about the 3 other horseman of the Apocalypse .... so i'll leave those for now seeing as ep 2 seems to bring them in (according to the promos that is).

    Im excited that John Noble will be a recurring character in Sleepy Hollow and cannot wait to see him on screen. I do hope, however, that the writers give him plenty of scope to be different to Walter Bishop. The man is a genius, so i hope they give him free reign here!

    Its funny, i was introduced to the legend of the Headless Horseman through Scooby Doo ... and i keep expecting to see the Scooby gang swing around the corner in their van (the Mystery Machine) to help save the day. Or at the very least, watch Scooby and Shaggy running down main street followed by the horseman! Cant shake those childhood memories. Looking forward to seeing how ep 2 pans out tonight.

    1. Always good to hear from you Lyn. If you thought the first episode was "light and fluffy" then you'll be disappointed with the follow up, I was. "Meaty" it was not.

      Mison continues to shine but the episode was a pretty standard police procedural, it just involved the supernatural.

      I'm starting to wonder if anyone can die on this show. several characters have been resurrected in one form or another. Crane may "die" but that doesn't mean he won't be back next week.

      The writers have said they intend to use a wide variety of mythological devices I just hope they don't get lost in it like "Lost" did.

      The addition of John Noble is a definite plus. I told Lynne in the comment above that I hope they have from Boston or at least Salem Mass.

      Your feedback reminded me of the old "Buffy" show. Her death was prophesied and came true but she was back by the end of the episode. They also referred to themselves as the "Scooby gang". I suppose everything is a bit derivative.

      I'll be blogging soon on Monday's episode. See ya'!

  5. Interesting to read your thoughts as always, Dave! I wasn't even going to give this show a try until the news that John Noble would oin in the fun. I have not yet seen the second episode (it seems to only be on Fridays up here?), but I was glad enough to have seen the premiere.

    I was not blown away by the show, but it was different enough to be interesting, at the least, and I'm a sucker for a good horse. What shocked me was that the lead - or one of the two leads, I should say - is an african-American woman! Very unexpected and very welcome. It's about time. And she is good. As you say, she is smart, tough, and interesting. The character has lots of room to grow as well, and she and Ichabod have, or could have, an interesting relationship.

    Honestly, I'm not sure about the actual plot of the story, but hey... mirror universes (shades of Star Trek!), and time travel are worth sticking around for. As is Robert Orci.

    I wish I could keep up with your blog more regularly Dave! I don't always agree with you, but you ALWAY have interesting thoughts! Now that hockey season is around the corner, I might drop in more often. I hope to read more!

    1. You don't always agree with me??? I've got to work on my Jedi mind tricks.

      I like a good horse also. I was so bummed at the fate of Rick's horse at the beginning of "The Walking Dead". What a waste, I hope you didn't see it.

      Yes, I was intrigued by the show juuust enough myself. A bit disappointed in the second episode. You'll have to check my review after you have a chance to see it.

      I like your hockey season reference! I hope I have the time to blog as my Bruins storm their way towards another Stanley Cup final! Do they have an NHL team in your area? (Jedi mind tricks commencing now.)

      (Read that last part with an evil Bruins loving voice.)

    2. Your Jedi mind tricks don't work on me... lol...

      I haven't seen a single episode of the Walking Dead. We don't get any of its stations in our house, and though I could get the dvds, I'm not sure I have the stomach for it... :-) I JUST finished sketch cards for the 3rd season of that show, and just looking up refs for it were disturbing enough...! So no, thankfully I didn't see what happened to Rick's horse. Whew.

      As for hockey, my reference to it means that when it's hockey night, it's "catch up on blogs" night for me... haha... Not a huge fan here. BUT, if I had to pick a team (beside the defunct Nordiques), I gotta go with Montreal.

      Have you watched any of Orphan Black? It really is an amazing show, with wonderful female characters (all one actress but still), and Max Headroom! (my attempt at Jedi mind tricks). It really is worth watching and it would be great to get your input on the conspiracy parts..... So... what are you waiting for.... go catch up on it before season two starts... :-) :-)

    3. Oh, so you are using reverse hockey psychology on me, got it. Ah, the Bruins old rival, the Canadiens. I'm going to have to put the wammy on them this year. They might be good.

      I've definitely watched Orphan Black, I absolutely love it. I just read where the are starting production for season two this very day. I'll leave you a link on Facebook. The plotline for the upcoming season sounds great.

      Consider yourself lucky for missing that Walking Dead episode.


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