SLEEPY HOLLOW Premiere Recap: “Pilot”

by     Posted 318 days ago

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If anyone is rolling in their grave because of Sleepy Hollow, it’s more likely Washington Irving than any headless horseman.  Surprisingly though, Sleepy Hollow‘s pilot was not a bad a way to kick things off for a supernatural show that also integrates (potentially) a police procedural in the way Grimm has done.  While Sleepy Hollow ultimately has more in common with the ill-fated Zero Hour in terms of mythology and epic, world-ending consequences, its biggest problem is its desire to connect in any way to the original tale, to which it bares very little (i.e. no) resemblance.  And yet, it’s actually kind of fun.  Hit the jump for more.

sleepy-hollow-4Sleepy Hollow is a mixed bag.  It comes from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek), who are themselves a mixed bag.  It tricks us by featuring two great actors in the pilot, Clancy Brown (Carnivale) and John Cho (another Star Trek alum), but they are promptly slain, leaving two unknowns (Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane and Nicole Beharie as Detective Abbie Mills) here to stay.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad start for a supernatural show, but its re-imagining of the original “Sleepy Hollow” tale is shameful.

The show also feels a lot like Once Upon a Time or the aforementioned Grimm, where the supernatural stuff is spliced in with a decent dose of a humor and a lot of charm, particularly from Mison as Crane.  But the very notion of Crane is problematic.  No longer a meek and nervous school teacher who lived twenty years after the Revolutionary War (according to Irving’s original short story), he is instead a hot, time-traveling warrior Englishman, fighting for America’s freedom.  A close personal friend of magical-Bible-owning George Washington (naturally), it turns out that it was Crane who sliced off the original head in question, instead of being a man so frightened by the idea of this ghost that he possibly died of fright or ran out of town.

Also, the Revolutionary War was not just about American freedom, but about keeping Satan from ending the world.  Of course it was!  Must everything be about the Apocalypse these days?  And if it is going to be, can we at least get the Biblical book right?  It’s “Revelation,” not “Revelations.”  If you’re one of the witnesses who has been chosen to lead and protect all of mankind, Abbie, maybe you should read up on it.

sleepy-hollow-1In any case, Crane did not leave town and abandon his crush to marry his rival (and horseman-for-night), like in the story.  Instead, the busty Katrina (Katia Winter) became his bride, is a witch and is trapped in a netherworld controlled by Satan.  The horseman is not just a mercenary for the British, but one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, which has been put on hold for 250 years while he searches for his head.  Until he finds it, the other horsemen and Hell on Earth will have to wait.  Early American Literature: Maximum Overdrive!

There are a lot of supernatural and fantasy tropes thrown in to the legend of the horseman — he doesn’t like sunlight (like a vampire), cutting off his head disables him (like a zombie) but doesn’t kill him (as he is death itself. He seems to be doing pretty well without a head though, let it be mentioned).  The horseman and Crane are also tied together by blood now, just like Harry Potter and Voldemort.  If an Eye of Sauron turns up next week, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Had Sleepy Hollow just stuck to being a show about a town situated on a hellmouth and humans destined to protect us from it (a la Buffy), that would be one thing.  But the tenuous attempt to tie the story into Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is embarrassing for everyone involved.  While it’s a name that most watching will recognize though, it’s worth noting that the residents of Sleepy Hollow don’t seem that interested in talking about a headless horseman, or indeed even recognizing him as the raison d’etre that anyone even knows of their town.

Despite all of this (and that is a lot to get over), Sleepy Hollow did exhibit a few bits of charm and a decent setup for future episodes that will deal with all of the supernatural beings the show can dream up.  Like Grimm and Once Upon a Time, the hijinks involving these creatures could be endless, or it could go the way of Zero Hour and become so caught up in its ludicrous mythology that it sinks itself.

Episode Rating: B

sleepy-hollow-headless-horsemanMusings and Miscellanea:

– I have to give any show some kind of props for showing a beheading in the first three minutes.

– Let it be said that I have no problem with a sexified Crane but for the fact that he is Crane.  A new character would have been just as effective.

– Orlando Jones!  Where the hell have you been?

– So tired of the goofy guy and straight-laced girl duo, but oh well.

– There weren’t many women in the episode, so Katrina had to show all the cleavage to make up for it I guess.

– This show could still be ok or it could be straight-up terrible, but either way, it’s beneath Clancy Brown.

– That mental ward was very much in a B-Movie style.

– The priest saying that he is prepared to die for his secrets and then getting killed (with a POV camera shot) was unintentionally hilarious.

– “Do you know George Washington?” – Ichabod Crane.




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  • Strong Enough

    it’s biggest problem? You just saw one episode and you’re already picking out it’s problem? how can you judge that early? at least wait until you get a few in.

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    • Nick

      Isn’t there an implied “so far” when you’re reading a review of a pilot? Calm down

    • joeybot

      Do you really think it’s going to get better?

      • Strong Enough

        why not?

      • joeybot

        I’m not saying it can’t, but they pretty much set the template here, and I doubt it will. How many shows start off weak or okay, and end up great? Versus how many start out at any level of quality and get worse? And with the brain trust behind this show, getting worse seems more likely. It’s like every single decision made on the show was one to make it just ever so slightly dumber.

      • Strong Enough

        yes but you’re assuming. all i was saying is in order to give a proper critique and point out its flaws give it a couple episodes. doesn’t that sound reasonable?

      • joeybot

        In a sense, yeah…but in another sense, they chose to release one episode of a tv show on a single night. People are gonna have opinions. Some, like me, thought it was pretty boring and won’t watch it again…well, I might if it’s going to be a Headless Horseman episode, I don’t care about the Buffy demon shit it looks like they’re going to get into. If they wanted people to judge several episodes, they should have put several on at once.

      • Strong Enough

        what? who does that? I mean just wait a few weeks to and judge each episode accordingly. then when you get a sense of the show on maybe episode 5 then you point of some mistakes.

      • joeybot

        If they can’t make a strong enough show that can’t stand on it’s own for a full hour, why be pansy about it? Flaws are flaws, maybe they’ll get better, maybe they won’t. But a lot of people watch a show and judge it, I sure did, I have an opinion on it. And based on that opinion I probably won’t go out of my way to see it again. If it gets way better, well there’s always Blu Ray.

      • Strong Enough

        Yes but to critique a show and point out it’s flaws ONE episode in is stupid. you don’t even know what the pace of the show is going to be, how the characters really match up to each other, does the plot make any sense. nothing. so to bad mouth it when it just started doesn’t make sense. at least to me. plenty show started off bad and became good.

      • joeybot

        You watched an hour of a show, so you’re supposed to have zero opinion on it at all? What if I said I loved it, would you have had a problem with that? How can I know the cinematography still stay nice, or that it’s funny, etc.

        The real world doesn’t work liek that man, I have things to do, I’m not going to watch a bunch of episodes of a show I found lacking.

      • Strong Enough

        you don’t understand me. lol. Wait until a few episodes in on a tv show before you START TO PICK IT APART WITH FLAWS. that’s easy logic. it’s impossible to see “its biggest problem” in the first fucking episode. i dont care if you watch the show or not. if you don’t like it cool. but i am referring to the reviewer and her statement

      • joeybot

        The reviewer said the biggest problem was the show wanting to have a connection with the source material when there’s very little actual similarity. Which is actually the case, I’m not sure if you think suddenly Ichabod transforms into a weenie schoolteacher in future seasons, but I think the reviewer is going to be safe on that one.

        The ONLY reason they chose Sleepy Hollow is because it’s a perfectly lazy way to have a pre-sold name. No different than any other horror remake. And then you make a show that has nothing to do with the story. They could have called it “Handsome Man vs the Demons” and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

      • Strong Enough

        Hey buddy. I don’t care. Just wait a few episodes in to get the full gist of the story and all its flaws.

      • joeybot

        I think you do care. Did you like the first episode?

      • Strong Enough

        Never watched it LMAO!

      • joeybot

        So you don’t know how much it sucked then, because it did.

      • Strong Enough

        well i don’t care. just point out what is major wrong after a few episodes

      • joeybot

        For someone who doesn’t care, you sure do keep lecturing on it. Someone who actually didn’t care would have fucked off by now.

      • Strong Enough

        don’t care. just point out what is major wrong after a few episodes

      • joeybot

        Sure you care. You care so much you’ll come back here until the end of time until you get the last word.

        Here’s a flaw…the pacing was too fast, like they had too much stupidity to get in so they had to race through it. You could certainly say something to argue with me but since you don’t know what you’re talking about, you can’t.

      • Strong Enough

        don’t care. just point out what is major wrong after a few episodes

      • joeybot

        Also the acting was so-so.

        I bet I could point out what’s wrong with you too, loser.

      • Strong Enough

        Wait until a few episodes in then point out major flaws

      • joeybot

        How many friends do you have? Between 1 and 0?

      • Strong Enough

        all i’m saying is…..

        Wait until a few episodes in then point out major flaws

      • joeybot

        I’m not talking about the show any more poindexter, I’m talking about you.

      • Strong Enough

        all i’m saying is…..

        Wait until a few episodes in then point out major flaws

      • joeybot

        Hey, does your one friend watch Community? Do they call you Abed? I have the feeling I broke Abed! How old are you, nerd?

        Dorklinger, will you be super proud when you get the last word in? You eventually will because I know idiots like you, you’ll never stop posting. And eventually I’ll get too bored.

        Sleepy Hollow is shitty, and I didn’t even watch the second episode! How’s that working for you, need to take some pills, Aspergers boy?

      • Strong Enough

        Listen all i am saying is….

        Wait until a few episodes in then point out major flaws

      • joeybot

        You need to give a movie more than a few years to call it a masterpiece.

      • Strong Enough

        Listen all i am saying is….

        Wait until a few episodes in then point out major flaws

      • joeybot

        You need to give a movie more than a few years to call it a masterpiece.

      • Strong Enough

        vice came out years ago, its time

      • joeybot

        Nope, not enough time has passed.

      • Strong Enough

        yes enough time has passed

      • joeybot

        WRONG.

      • Strong Enough

        yes and you’re the lorax of “movie time passing by in order to be called a masterpiece” what you say means nothing. except a laughter i get whenever i see you reply seeing as you have nothing else to do with your time joeybot. unless you’re a bot? SKYNET? OH SHIT

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  • Yurine

    I felt that they put too much in this episode. It could have been spread out between 2 or maybe 3 episodes.

  • jimmy neon

    It seriously wasnt bad…I liked it.

  • Ronni12

    Good review. It did bite off way too much, but hopefully that provides more twists and turns down the road. I was really surprised at how much fun the show was. I’ll be tuning in again to see if it can grow from the solid start.

  • Chodeberg

    Headless Horseman sporting an AK-47? Consider me sold!

    • joeybot

      I’m also easily impressed!

      • Chodeberg

        That’s wonderful news!

      • Chodeberg

        That’s wonderful news!

      • Chodeberg

        That’s wonderful news!

      • joeybot

        I know! I’m like man, if only there could be a show about like, two robots with flamethrowers shooting at each other for a while, and every ten minutes a bigger monster comes in and fights them too, and it keeps going and going! I would jizz.

      • Chodeberg

        hahaha! We’re two peas in a pod. Flamethrower robots are the tits…

  • joeybot

    What a shitty show. They wanted such a relentless pace that a guy getting his head chopped off has the same impact as two people talking about Starbucks.

    • joeybot

      Big fans of this show, I guess. Do you also love the WB girly shows like Once Upon a Time? Shit.

  • LEM

    So the horseman wants it’s head and doesn’t know where it is so why not just dig it up for him? yeah I think I’ll be skipping this show.

  • LEM

    So the horseman wants it’s head and doesn’t know where it is so why not just dig it up for him? yeah I think I’ll be skipping this show.

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