As one of the first new shows of the fall season, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow has a lot riding on it. Not only does it set the tone for the season of premiere shows, Fox also has put a lot of faith in the show. It’s yet another adaptation and revision of a well known tale, like Once Upon a Time, Grimm, and others before it. The show is also a mix of mythology and case-of-the-week that’s been missing on Fox since Fringe was cancelled. With the concept alone there’s a lot of potential for greatness or an embarrassing mess.

Plot Description: Not long after beheading an enemy Red Coat and being fatally wounded on the battle field, Ichabod Crane wakes up under the dirt in a cave only a few hundred years in the future. He’s in Sleepy Hollow, as the title suggests, which is being terrorized by a headless axe-wielding man in a red coat. He teams up with police officer, Abbie Mills, who has just lost her partner to the Headless Horseman and has her own connection to the town’s strangeness. They have to find a way to stop the Headless Horseman because nobody wants a decapitating monster just roaming around town.

The Good: If you are a fan of beheadings, this is definitely the show for you. No less than four people were decapitated in this episode. The potential for future loss of heads is sure to be great.

The cast has pretty good chemistry. Tom Mison, who plays Ichabod, is particularly good. He’s a serious character without being humorless. So far, his sidekick character, Abbie seems like a fully fleshed character, but I worry about her being marginalized in the future.

I was already ready to complain about not using John Cho enough when the twist happened. That was pretty shocking. I hope for more twists and scary moments

The Bad: How do you cast John Cho and only give him one episode of material? Also killing off Clancy Brown in the first ten minutes? Combined with the sidelining of proven funny man, Orlando Jones, as a stone faced Captain Frank Irving (nice shout out there, though).

The mythology might get a little convoluted, especially with strange timelines, warring witch covens, and time travel. Although I enjoy mythologies, far too many shows do them poorly.

Overall Potential as a TV Show: It would be interesting to see how long the series can go on with this concept. Either the Headless Horseman threat can be dragged on for five years or it can last a season or two before moving on to some plot not related to the tale of Ichabod Crane. It’s likely to burn out, but I’d be interested to see if it can hold up.

Other Musings:

  • I wonder about the reason for using Sympathy for the Devil at the beginning and end of the episode. I don’t really see the significance, but it could either be a hidden meaning or just a cool song they wanted to use twice.
  • Come and get your beheadings here. You get a beheading! YOU get a beheading! Everybody gets beheadings!
  • “General George Washington?” “You know him?”
  • One of the people in the police station shows Ichabod a dollar bill to prove it’s the future. He was barely shocked, like “yeah obviously he was going to be money one day.”
  • It’s very rare for Fox to cast so many African-Americans as leads. Definitely thumbs up here.
  • Ichabod gets his issues with Abbie out of the way really quickly. “A female lieutenant?” And then later. “You’ve been emancipated I take it. From enslavement.” I like that they’re not glossing over the fact that racism and sexism in his time were practically mandatory. But is it a cop out for him to be part of the abolitionist movement? Also, does it fit within the timeline he’s already laid out (specifically: in switching sides from England to America, would he have had the community footing to join a New York abolitionist group before joining Washington’s group?)
  • “Is that a Starbucks? How many are there?” “Per block?” “Is there a law?”
  • Katherine, Ichabod’s wife, was burned for witchcraft. However, she begs him to save her from “this place.” I think her storyline is an intriguing way to keep him committed to the case and maintain a platonic-only relationship with Abbie.
  •  “Think he can hear us?”
  • It’s definitely not right that the Headless Horseman had an automatic weapon. How does he aim? How does he hear? I know, I know. Magic.
  • Abbie did NOT flinch when John Cho’s head was ripped off or when the demon came at her in the mirror. Either she really doesn’t give a shit about anything or girl’s got nerves of steal.