SLEEPY HOLLOW (Fox)
Who Created It: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the “Star Trek” and “Transformers” franchises, “Fringe”) are the co-creators and executive producers of this action packed conspiracy-adventure drama.
Who is in It: Tom Mison, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (ICHABOD CRANE); Nicole Beharie, “42” and “The Good Wife” (Lt. ABBIE MILLS); Katia Winter, “Dexter” (KATRINA); Orlando Jones, “The Replacements” and “Drumline” (Captain FRANK IRVING)
What It’s About: According to Fox, SLEEPY HOLLOW is a “modern-day twist on Washington Irving’s classic, [where] ICHABOD CRANE is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers. Revived alongside Ichabod is the infamous Headless Horseman who is on a murderous rampage in present-day Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod quickly realizes that stopping Headless is just the beginning, as the resurrected rider is but the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and only one of the many formidable foes that Ichabod must face to protect not only Sleepy Hollow, but the world.”
Why It’s Worth Watching: If the pilot episode is any indication, Kurtzman and Orci have fully embraced the fact that this show is off the walls insane. SLEEPY HOLLOW begins in media res on a nameless Revolutionary War battlefield in upstate New York as ICHABOD CRANE and Hessian soldier fated to become the HEADLESS HORSEMAN do battle. In less than two minutes after this opening shot, CRANE finds himself rising from the grave and wandering onto a busy street where he almost gets run over by a semi truck. As the pilot unfolds the audience is introduced to a world of conspiracy, witchcraft, and the supernatural. While the story deviates wildly from both history and the classic Washington Irving tale it does so in a way that creates a “secret history” of the United States that is very true to the American Tradition of the Weird Tale. A tradition that was arguably founded by Washington Irving. THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW references how the sleepy vale is home to a wide variety of haunts and ghouls and Kurtzman and Orci are weaving a tale that incorporates the setting described by Irving instead of adapting the tale. Here’s a glimpse of Irving’s description of SLEEPY HOLLOW:
From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his pow-wows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs; are subject to trances and visions; and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.
The modern town where SLEEPY HOLLOW’s ICHABOD awakens is a place saturated with evil. There are dark forces at work in the town and it will be up to our hero and Lt. ABBIE MILLS to hold off the h0rror. CRANE is deeply connected to at least one of the horrors, and MILLS had a glimpse of the dark forces at work when she was a child.
It’s quite a set up and if one can suspend disbelief for just a second, there is a lot of fun for the geek fan. Clancy Brown has a guest appearance in the pilot…an appearance that gives us a small HIGHLANDER easter egg. The story itself is like a mashup of Solomon Kane, ASSASSIN’S CREED III, and NATIONAL TREASURE. And a story that combines those three things into an hour of action packed goodness is pretty much an hour of WIN. I’m honestly thinking about seeing if my gaming group is up for a SAVAGE WORLDS or FENG SHUI take on this show.