Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: Sleepy Hollow - First Season (2013-2014)

Sleepy Hollow is a brand-new television series on FOX with thirteen episodes. It is a retelling of the classic short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," by Washington Irving with a modern twist. Ichabod Crane has awoken over two centuries after being killed in the American Revolutionary War. Before his death, Ichabod beheads the Hessian horseman and their bloods mix, sealing their fates. He must adjust to the 21st century, battle the headless horseman, rescue his trapped wife from purgatory, and prevent a looming apocalypse.

Upon his awakening, he adjusts to modern life with the help of Sleepy Hollow police detective, Abigail "Abbie" Mills. She horrifyingly watches the reanimated headless horsemen behead her boss and mentor, Sargent August Corbin. She later learns that she is a Second Witness, destined to fight against evil. Their investigations lead to encounters with the occult and secret societies. Together, Abbie and Ichabod search for hidden clues from the Founding Fathers to the Freemasons on how to destroy a powerful ancient evil bent on destroying the world in Sleepy Hollow.

Sleepy Hollow was the most successful freshman hit on network television for the 2013-2014 season. This show has exceeded expectations, drawing a large fan base that will surely become a pop culture sensation. Who would have thought that the creators could combine horror, history (especially the colonial era!), and fantasy would take the nation by surprise by its highly addictive blend of supernatural adventure and police procedural. Now, fans mourn the fact that this season has ended too soon and won't resume until Fall 2014.

I loved this show for several reasons. First, Ichabod (Tim Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) had great chemistry working together as partners. Their mannerisms (including the British accent) were humorous yet determined. The producers didn't try to force a romantic relationship. Second, I loved the good use of comedy, fantasy, historical, and horror in the show. It was both breathtaking scary and intellectually stimulating. Third, the plot was totally unpredictable (the season finale was epic!). The ending blindsided me because I would have never expected the final outcome yet the clues were there throughout the first season. This was brilliant screenwriting on the producers. While the ending saddened me greatly, I look forward to the second season with much enthusiasm. Finally, I liked the racial diversity of the main cast. It is one of very few shows that has an African American lead and supporting cast whose genre isn't normally targeted for African American audiences. I praise the producers for taking this risk because it demonstrates that (a) blacks can act outside their typical genres and (b) blacks can act in fantasy/occult shows. This move would surely attract viewers of all races to watch this hit series.

Stay tuned for the second season premiere of Sleepy Hollow in Fall 2014. Hopefully, it will receive a standard 22-episode run. You can watch the trailer below:

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