Loosely based on Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the new drama follows Ichabod Crane, a British soldier fighting for George Washington’s colonial forces in the Revolutionary War.
The action opens with Crane (played by Tom Mison, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) engaged in close combat with a large, sinister-looking, masked man with a unique brand on the back of his hand. Crane beheads the behemoth but is mortally wounded himself in the process. He loses consciousness in an army hospital… then inexplicably wakes up 250 years later in present-day Sleepy Hollow, NY.
Even odder: The now-headless soldier is also awake, and he begins a killing spree by murdering a local man, beheading the town’s sheriff and making off with a white steed – voila! The Headless Horseman! Young Detective Abbie Mills (42‘s Nicole Beharie) witnesses the faceless fiend in action but is hesitant to recount what she saw thanks to an eerie, traumatic event in her childhood that caused a lot of trouble for her and her sister.
But when a shell-shocked Ichabod is picked up as a suspect and knows details about the horseman that no one else does, Abbie is curious/wary.
“When was the last time you saw him?” she demands.
“When I cut off his head,” Crane replies.
As it turns out, the horseman would really like his noggin back – but that would bring many bad things upon humanity — so Abbie and Ichabod (who seems less crazy by the minute) team up to make sure the villain stays incomplete… much to the chagrin of her captain (played by Orlando Jones, Rules of Engagement) and coworker Andy (John Cho, Go On).
Along the way, Abbie and Ichabod become the key players in a mythology that encompasses witchcraft (and, on a related note, Crane’s trapped-in-demonic-limbo wife) and the Bible’s Book of Revelation. And if that isn’t enough, there’s also a conspiracy that involves a corrupt cop, a seemingly immortal priest and some historical X-files.
The pilot features a very evocative score and some neat camera work (the perspective shot from one victim’s lobbed-off skull is grisly fun), as well as two leads who work very well off each other – and who play a huge part in selling the series’ silly, suck-you-in premise. (The headless horseman wielding a gun? Really?)
Overall, the show takes itself juuuust seriously enough; if it can keep its dense backstory straight for the rest of its run, creators Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Fringe) just may have a spooky hit on their hands.
But enough about what we thought: What was your take on Sleepy Hollow? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!
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- Legend of Sleepy Hollow