‘Sleepy Hollow’ Series Premiere Review – What Did You Think?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 17th, 2013 at 9:32 am,

sleepy hollow series premiere fox Sleepy Hollow Series Premiere Review   What Did You Think?

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a classic American tale that’s been retold through various mediums, most famously in recent years by director Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp as the socially awkward Ichabod Crane. Creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orici (Star Trek: Into Darkness) are not following Burton’s vision, but instead are giving viewers something truly original and exciting to enjoy this fall on FOX.

For the lead role of Ichabod Crane, Depp has been replaced by British actor Tom Mison (Parade’s End), who instead of possessing social awkwardness, has a certain charm and wit that’s difficult to resist. Nicole Beharie (Shame) plays a beautiful determined young police officer named Abbie Mills. Together, these two unique individuals make up the backbone of FOX’s new hour-long drama series – and what a surprisingly strong backbone it is.

Sleepy Hollow opens with an exciting battle sequence during the Revolutionary War in 1781. From the beginning, it’s clear that a skilled director is behind the camera as film-like quality action fills the screen. Len Wiseman, who has been behind the Underworld franchise since its conception, gives the episode that same stylistic approach. The Underworld films are far from perfect, but it’s hard to deny that Wiseman’s visuals have style and appeal. The opening sequence is jarring, as Ichabod and the horseman confront each other immediately, only to have Crane awake in the 21st Century having no idea how he got there.

sleepy hollow series premiere crane Sleepy Hollow Series Premiere Review   What Did You Think?

A popular trope used in television series today with shows like Bates Motel and Under the Dome is the establishment of the “there’s something not quite right with this town” motif. That’s not to say that there’s something inherently wrong with this form of storytelling, but when we’re first introduced to Lieutenant Abbie Mills and her boss, played by the talented Clancy Brown (Shawshank Redemption), he immediately points out that there have been unsolved crimes in the area. With a title like Sleepy Hollow, mystery already exists, the writers don’t need to worry about overtly emphasizing that point. This is a minor discrepancy, and one that is mentioned only due to the fact that the majority of the premiere is written so well.

The superb writing extends to the character development as Mills and Crane are introduced upon his arrival to the police station. Whether it’s Ichabod asking Mills how she was emancipated from slavery, or why women wear trousers, their on-screen chemistry is hard to ignore and will hopefully continue to be one of the show’s strongest attributes. Sleepy Hollow’s balance of drama, fantasy, and comedy is to be commended. In a world filled with shows where men are the anti-heroes (i.e. Breaking Bad, Low Winter Sun) it’s nice to see a regular hero like Ichabod emerge. With Abbie Mills, we’re given an extraordinarily strong female character – another aspect of the show that raises the bar for TV.

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Even with these strong performances, the mystery of the headless horseman adds another dimension to series. Making the mercenary one of the four horseman of the apocalypse was a good choice for the writers, due to the plethora of legends, biblical accounts, tales, and fiction they can delve into. The horseman has always been an imposing figure, and now that he’s death itself, it only makes him that much more menacing. While watching the horseman chop off heads with his broad axe is entertaining, witnessing him use a shotgun and an automatic rifle was priceless (albeit a tad over-the-top).  This is an updated version of the classic tale, so if you’re going to have a Starbucks at every corner, then the horseman needs a change of weaponry. Purists can rest easy though, for there’s no doubt that we’ll see the horseman chop off more heads as the season continues.

As with any new television series, the question of the show’s longevity comes into play. Sleepy Hollow has the potential to be a hit for FOX, as it combines several genres seamlessly into one fantastic product. The mystery surrounding the legend of the headless horseman is inescapable, but what will hook viewers is the chemistry between Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane – and a strong cast supported by actors like John Cho (Star Trek) and Orlando Jones (Bedazzled) only help to strengthen the show’s appeal. This is not to downplay the fantastical elements of the series, and it will be exciting to see if Crane and Mills can prevent the apocalypse from happening.

Near the end of the premiere, Ichabod reads from the Book of Revelations and reveals to Abbie that there are two witnesses that must face seven years of tribulation. Crane believes that they are those witnesses, and like the verse reads, will FOX plan for seven seasons if this show is a hit?


Sleepy Hollow continues next Monday with ‘Blood Moon’ @9pm on FOX.

Follow David Griffin on Twitter @griffinde
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  1. Well I thought based off just the pilot show it seemed above average.
    The Horseman reminded me of a revolutionary Jason Voorhees.
    Even more so in the way after he was beheaded, the relentless pursuit continued at Crane.
    I am not sure ,hinted at during the show, how it will stretch out for 7 seasons. Thats a concern for 2 reasons.
    1) We know we have to wait 7 seasons for the showdown between Crane & the Horseman? Why watch now, just tune in at season 7 for the final fight.
    2) Thats a ot of episodes to fill in between now & 7 years. Is the show show going to be like Buffy the Vampire slayer where Crane fights other ghosts & demons along the way? Kind of stale no?

    • …or they might simply skip ahead a few years narratively, in later seasons. They do not actually HAVE to last for 7 seasons.


      I’m pretty sure the Headless Horseman goes down at the end of this season. The demon or whatever sent it to raise the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will probably be the main series nemesis.

  2. I’m kind of expecting that the headless horseman will use the sheriff’s head at some point, and Andy’s perhaps. Otherwise it seemed like a lot of cameos from some fairly established actors.

    Otherwise, wasn’t impressed at all. Honestly, I think it might be good for young kids, under the recommended age of 14, looking for some scares.

    • Funny, I’m not a young kid (WELL above age 14), and I enjoyed it AND am looking forward to its development.

      Opinions differ…

      • Hey, if you liked it, enjoy. I love plenty of things that are officially below my age level. Shows usually take time to develop, but I just don’t see this one doing anything for me.

      • Agreed — I found it entertaining and interesting show. The hard part is always maintaining that level of interest for the audience — like anything else in life! But in the meantime, I’ll settle in on Monday nights to watch Ichabod and Abbie fight their nemesis.

  3. I have to admit that I went into this fully expecting to absolutely hate it. The only reason I attempted to watch is because I’ve always enjoyed the stories and mythology about Sleepy Hollow…
    (Side Bar)
    The actual Sleepy Hollow is only about a 45 minute drive from where I live and as a younger lad me & my friends would drive out there every couple years but in all honesty it’s just a regular small town. :(
    (End Side)
    Much to my surprise I didn’t hate it. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Keeping in mind that pilots are usually troublesome especially for a show that has to set up so much I thought a great job was done rolling out bits of info while keeping everything moving at a solid pace.
    So I’ll be sure to keep up with future episodes…

    • Yeah I was also interested in this show cause I lived in Tarrytown for two years which is right next to Sleepy Hollow.

      Thought the show was good, will continue watching it.

      • When I was a young girl my class went on a field trip to Sleepy Hollow Lake, Akron, NY, which is only about 20 minutes or so away from me. Scary then scary now…reason for intrigue. :).

  4. I’m surprised they revealed the horseman to pretty much everyone. I thought the two main characters would be considered nuts and go on the run.

    This should be a huge news story now with tons of people flocking to the area. Ichabod would be on all the talk shows and the Horseman would be lopping off paparazzi heads every time he appeared.

    How are they going to keep it small scale now that everyone knows?

  5. This is a show now?

  6. Sucks I have to wait until October 6th to see this show, especially after the review talked about how great the opening episode was.

    Gonna be a long few weeks.

  7. i seen the first show and seemed to be a good start, let see how next one fairs, and anyone can maybe able catch the first episode on project free tv.com

  8. I liked it! It had it’s clunky moments which almost all pilots do but the fact that the people who brought Fringe to my TV are behind this makes me want to give it a shot. I also love the fact that we have a black female lead and I loved the chemistry between Mills and Crane and the fact that it isn’t romantic – at least not yet anyway.

  9. Loved Sleepy Hollow! The show has so much potential with all the historical and supernatural aspects it creates. Loved the cast and the show had you wanting more. This show will be a big hit for Fox.

  10. Enjoyed the pilot. A bit campy for me, but very entertaining. I agree with David on the chemistry between Abbie and Ichey. Will continue to watch the series.

  11. Have been looking forward to this show since we saw pilot and panel at ComicCon. I was not expecting to like it at all and left more excited about this show than any others there. Even more surprising, my wife really loved it too.

  12. The only reason I ended up watching this is because the TV happened to be on that channel when I came into the room for a bit. The result was exactly what you would expect from network TV. Mediocre result from poor quality production, direction and cast.

    If you want to see a show where every line, every situation, every action is cliche to the extreme…then this or Under the Dome are the choices for you.

    One thing I’ll say though is the horseman looked pretty beast in a couple of scenes…then again every big bodied character in a “horror” setting walking towards someone as they stumble away looks beast.

    Then he started using guns…
    That destroyed any shred of hope that was left for the show.

    • Okay, I have to say I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds this show utterly cliche and tired. My roommate enjoys it so I’ve been watching it but all I can do is watch it and pick out elements from half a dozen other horror/mystery shows. This episode (3) (spoilers) I’ve been sitting here comparing Abby and Jenny to Isabel and Angela from Constantine. It’s so close the dialogue is practically the same.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for people who enjoy it, but…yeah, I find it rather cliche.

  13. Great start, can’t wait to see more!

  14. (In a a Mark Steines voice) …ahh looks good!

  15. I really liked the pilot and it hooked me away. I love that kind of biblical fantasy and I got a similar vibe from this show as I got from Supernatural eight years ago, which definitely is a good thing. The only problem is: a show that I like running on Fox? It probably gets canceled soon. Firefly or Sarah Connor Chronicles, anyone?

  16. without having read the review or anyone’s comments yet, i thought some of the character decisions were illogical and it just made the story seemed forced. i think they should have made a 2 hour pilot movie for this and built up the story and some of the mythology from the start. i’m sure it will happen over time, but i felt it was a pretty weak 1st episode.


    i did like the pov scene of the priest getting the axe. stuff like that will probably NOT be utilized much in the future, much like some of the camera work in the pilot for Arrow. they hinted at some of it in the finale.

  17. I liked the two leads and the cast of (cameo?) supporting actors was a nice addition. I enjoyed the nod towards Supernatural but this reminded me a bit more of a series from a few years ago called Happy Town. It lasted only 8 or 9 episodes and, sorry, I got the same impression from this one. If nothing else, it makes me want to re-read the story. Nevertheless, it’s fun for this time of year though the nostalgia wore off when the Headless Horseman turned into Rambo…

  18. It was not Bad. Even my wife enjoyed it to a Degree. Best part ,of course ,was the Creature from the Mirror. Very well done.

  19. I’m sold. I’m a sucker for these types of shows. Add Sleepy Hollow to my Grimm and Supernatural watch list.

  20. Oh, by the way: did anyone else get the impression that they wanted to use the Johnny Cash song The Man Comes Around but for some reason had to go with Sympathy for the Devil instead? Especially at the end of the epiosde The Man Comes Around would have fit perfectly.

    • They did use the Book of Revelation quote that Cash used. I found it a little strange, but the Stones worked for me….gave it a Supernatural feel.

  21. I liked it, and since there isn’t much on until the full season starts, it was a pleasant diversion. I liked the cast, but hated seeing Clancy Brown and John Cho killed off so soon.

  22. I was excited in the lead-up, but was very disappointed when I saw the first episode. I’m sorry, but a shotgun and M-16 wielding Headless Horseman was beyond lame, at least to me. This might as well be a renewed season of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”, just with a race change of Sarah, and an aged John. The plot was also way too convoluted and they threw way too much out there. Seems like Orci and Kurtzman just recycled their scripts from their Transformers films by crossing off all of Hasbro’s IPs and substituting their own. I’ll give it a couple more episodes see if it gets better, but at this rate I’ll probably drop the show.

  23. I had high hopes, and am watching the 3rd show and it seems like more ‘monsters of the week’ which is very disappointing. But, Supernatural did this for several seasons while other narratives were developed. So, I’ll keep watching, but after the craft and skill of Breaking Bad and MadMen, it’s not on the top on my list.

  24. I had high hopes but two people chasing and trying to rid the world of the four horseman to avoid the apocalypse, demons and dream tea just remind me of another show with better looking guys and a great car. Oh and really change that guys clothes!

    • LOL! Definitely and don’t forget the music!

  25. Thought it was boring.. Lost me totally when talked about slavery… Boring!

  26. Over-rated and boring. Makes me sad when I see people comparing it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer when the writing for Sleepy Hollow is sub-par and the characters aren’t likable (in the sense that I don’t care at all about what happens to any of them). I’m over it. Watched 5 episodes and called it quits. Shows like this get rave reviews and Firefly gets cancelled? Fox sucks.