Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

Forget the watered down, pumpkin-headed Halloween icon. Even the mindless killing machine of Hollywood films. In FOX’s newest mystery-adventure drama, “Sleepy Hollow,” the headless horseman is involved in far messier business than casually executing the locals. In addition to wreaking havoc in the quiet northeastern town, he is fulfilling his role in the impending apocalypse.
Grim? Yes. However, FOX seems to have found a comfortable niche in the haunting month of October. Inspired by Washington Irving’s definitive short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the show expands on the tale of Ichabod Crane, his love, Katrina, and the slashing horseman himself, while introducing various new characters into this mix. A worthy entertainment supplement to the fall season, the show provides an intriguing Monday night escape from reality.
Immediately delving into an epic Revolutionary War battle scene, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), a spy for the Americans and George Washington’s right-hand man, receives orders to slay a certain ruthless killer, a man on horseback who decapitates his victims with a searing hot ax. After suffering an almost fatal slice to the chest, Crane is on the brink of collapse, but he manages to behead the warrior. Following this gory scene is the resurrection of Crane, 250 years later, erupting from the depths of an underground cave.
Simultaneously, police officer Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) and Sheriff August Corbin (Clancy Brown) respond to an emergency call at a local farm. Corbin is utterly shocked to find a headless figure, clad in British military uniform, selecting a 21st century steed from the stables. Mills is devastated when she finds her partner severed in two at the neck and sprawled out in the dirt.
 Crane is discovered roaming the streets, marveling at the paved roads and causing significant traffic hazards, and he is confiscated as a prime suspect in the sheriff’s slaying. As the murders escalate, he is presumed innocent thanks to his knowledge of imperative information and teams up with Mills to begin an independent search for truth. Soon enough, after an unsettling discovery of a chilling investigation kept hidden by the deceased sheriff, Mills links a haunting adolescent experience with the case. All the happenings piece together and reveal the duo’s pre-destined role as the first two witnesses to the apocalypse. Not only are they responsible for destroying the horseman and his fellow demons, but their triumph or defeat determines the fate of the world.
Undoubtedly, the brunt of the show is carried on the broad shoulders of the time traveling Englishman. Crane, no longer the gangly and awkward schoolmaster of Irving’s creation, is a striking force. Mison’s commanding height, chiseled face, and sexily scruffy long hair, deem him instant “tall, dark, and handsome” status. His attractive physical traits, combined with his quick wit and sharp eye, keep him a step ahead of everyone else, and his misfit status grants him a charming sense of humor that contributes sporadic light-hearted moments to the dark, troubled plot.
“Sleepy Hollow” is an imaginative elaboration of the short story. Irving left room for creative reconstruction, never disclosing any personal history about Crane or the horseman and leaving the reader wondering if the horseman was truly a mystical, undead being or a mortal practical jokester. Creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek) take full advantage of this leeway by intertwining a variety of frightening figures into the mix. Witches, ghosts, omens, and plagues keep each episode fresh and intriguing. This rendition challenges Burton’s dark 1999 film by including components of interest beyond stunning visuals and big name actors. Biblical references add an element of haunting conspiracy as the prophecies made in the New Testament’s book of Revelation guides the protagonists along in their struggle to prevent the world’s demise. Charged with allusions to events of actual historic significance, a quality that is lacking in other popular adventure shows, “Sleepy Hollow” provides audiences with plotlines reminiscent of the wildly popular American history exploration film, “National Treasure.” The supernatural embellishments of magic and time travel enhance the show with a refreshing unpredictability.
As one of the leading new shows on television this season, “Sleepy Hollow” has proved a reasonable success for the network; the pilot received over 22 million views. FOX representatives state that the show is the “most successful fall drama premiere since the debut of ’24” in November 2004.” After a fascinating fifth episode, which depicts Crane and Mills discovering the fate of the lost colony of Roanoke, “Sleepy Hollow” leaves its viewers eager for more. The show’s three week hiatus could be a blessing, inspiring newcomers to catch up on previous episodes in preparation for the Nov. 4 revival. FOX has no concerns about retaining viewers, as the show has already been renewed for a second season.
Certainly a spooky tale sure to entertain, future episodes promise more twisting tales and frightening discoveries as Crane and Mills fight to save humanity. Watch the next episode of “Sleepy Hollow” Monday Nov. 4, at 9 p.m. on FOX.
Hilary Pyo is third-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.