‘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For the lead role of Ichabod Crane, Depp has been replaced by British actor Tom Mison (Parade’s End), who instead of possessing social awkwardness, has a certain charm and wit that’s difficult to resist.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.

sleepy hollow series premiere 2 Sleepy Hollow Series Premiere Review   What Did You Think?

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. I had no interest in seeing this new show until reading this review. Now I absolutely must give it a try.

  2. F*Ck I missed it !

  3. I liked the show, but it’s Revelation, not Revelations. I don’t mind Hollywood using scripture for a show, but get it right. And it’s disappointing that you didn’t catch it, too, and called it Revelations in your article as well.

    • What I find interesting is their choice of Horseman. In the Bible isn’t the order Conquest(White), War(Red), Famine(Black), and then Death(Pale)? Unless the other three proceeded before Death 250 years ago, which would make sense leading up to the Revolutionary War, but then where did they go?

      • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, called the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John the Evangelist at 6:1-8. The chapter tells of a “‘book’, or ‘scroll’, in God’s right hand that is sealed with seven seals”. The Lamb of God, or Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ), opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons forth four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. Although some interpretations differ, in most accounts, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest,War,Famine,and Death,respectively. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment.

      • “I–am Mr. Ed!!”

    • That mistake is made very often.

  4. Seriously, this show be crazy, and I’m loving every minute of it!

  5. Seriously, this show be crazy, and I’m loving every minute of it!

  6. I found the premier of ‘Sleepy Hollow’ quite captivating. Looking forward to tuning in weekly as the mystery unveils. :).

  7. I thought the first episode was good but I have no idea how they will keep it going for more than one season

    • I agree, however, it could be just a one season show..like a mini series. :)

    • “Supernatural” is going strong THREE SEASONS AFTER THE APOCALYPSE. “Sleepy Hollow” shouldn’t have any trouble continuing for as long as people remain interested in watching.

  8. I was looking forward to this but didn’t think it actually end up being good. Nice!

  9. I really enjoyed it. loved the action, loved the comedy, loved the mystery. And i liked that they threw in a couple jumps scares for good measure.

    my only gripe with it is being on tv, they cant show as much as say, the johnny depp movie as far as gore or whatever. but its a minor gripe and i think ill be sticking with this series through the rest of the season.

  10. Just watched the premiere. Loved it. It’s a show that is definitely going in a direction that I didn’t expect it too. Also, SPOILER..

    Very strategic to advertise the premiere by showing it’s bigger actor aka John Cho.. who they then kill off. People could come for him and leave loving the show.

    Excited for this show it has some great potential!

  11. *Spoiler Alert for those who haven`t seen it.* Is John Cho really part of the supporting cast or did Kurtzman and Orci approach him on the Star Trek set and ask him to do an episode of Sleepy Hollow for fun, because it didn’t seem to end well for him in this episode!
    Anyways, this review was right on! Awesome premiere for a show that is looking very promising.

  12. 2 Points of concern:

    1) I hate shows that speed along and refuse to let plotlines develop. One of the things that made “Lost” (especially the first 3 seasons) and the first season of “Heroes” so effective was they let us have a taste each episode, but had no problem leaving loose ends for us to play with. This first episode revealed a lot, not just in plot, but in the “coming this season” trailor at the end of the show. I am worried they will just never let suspense build. It is one of those faults I see in fantasy TV series a ton, like in “Grim” and “Once upon a Time”, 2 series I gave a chance but gave up on because week in and week out there was no real air of mystery, but at the same time they were not “stand alone” episodes either.

    2) Okay, Crane and Mills are the stars. Got it. But the idea of hinting at some characters and then killing them off quickly is attention getting but will wear thin quick. These show runners better have a good idea of the supporting characters and how they will add to the series.

    But…. I liked it. I like the chemistry between the leads, the idea behind it, and let’s face it: The “End Times” plotline gives a whole range of plot points. I will be watching for the next few weeks.

  13. I liked it.

  14. This show’s premise is so far-out and dorky that I’m watching it!!

  15. Loved it.

  16. I thought it was great as well. The end was pretty creepy.

  17. My folks and I watched it together, lol. My sister kept blabbing about how hot she thinks Ichabod is. When I was a kid the Disney cartoons always ptrayed Ichabod as a goofball, but this one’s pretty sharp.

  18. Finally something worth watching after BONES on Monday Nights, Only problem is it’s going against MNF, but I will do my part in supporting this show by watching every Monday. :D

  19. they just need to think outside the box and not just go with generic writting

    • this is Kurtzman and Orci we’re talking about. their M.O. is basically the exact opposite of everything you said.

  20. And if you caught the season premier of Bones, then you might have heard Hodgins bemoan the fact that he was lucky to have DVRed Sleepy Hollow when he has to stay late and work the case…

    • Personally, I found that tacky…it was an overt advertisement in a throwaway moment.

      • Bones has no shame about “product placement” going so far as to do mini commercials. Avatar, various vehicles, and other shows.

        • Product placement isn’t a particular issue, since it’s so prevalent in shows and movies. It’s the fact that one show IN THE STORY LINE actually tells its audience: “Hey, don’t leave after we’re done; watch this show coming right after us.”

          The way it was done struck me as very tacky…otherwise, I very much enjoyed the episode of “Bones”.

  21. The guys behind The Remake Of Khan are going to viewers something truly original and exciting to enjoy?

  22. This show was uninteresting in unrealistic. The reactions of the characters to the situation didn’t make any sense at all. I pushed myself to get through the whole episode and in the end I realized it was just another crazy show that didn’t make any sense but it somehow didn’t matter for the viewers. Definitely not a show I would suggest or eve try watching again.

    • What’s unrealistic about a headless guy riding horse. Where I’m from it happens all of the time. Geesh, some people have no knowledge of the outside world.

    • I’m sorry but why would you watch a show about a guy without a head riding on a horse and expect it to be realistic??

      • I think what he meant is within the “Universe of the show” the characters reactions were a bit unrealistic. I thought the show was fun and hope they can sustain the story line but it is true the characters were a bit *shrug* guess there ARE such things as monsters. A little mor shock and confusion could have helped. Actually if it had been a two hour opener it would have helped as a lot did seem rushed and wrapped up quickly.

        • Perhaps. But even in the context of the premise who can say how anyone would react? Considering that Abbie had experienced something strange herself as a child I don’t think her reaction would be that drastic or over the top. And everyone else simply didn’t believe Crane.

    • @chelsea
      “The reactions of the characters to the situation didn’t make any sense at all.”
      that is exactly what i thought. it all seemed forced. the police captain is ok with some guy claiming to be from the 1700′s and had him locked up, and mills falsified docs to break him out, and now he can just start doing ride-alongs with her. ok.

  23. I really like the look of the demon creature at the end of the show, creepy fellow.

    • It was pretty creepy. It reminded me of another creature in a movie that I can’t remember the name of. And it also reminds me a bit of the Stag in Hannibal- which is also really creepy.

      • Maybe The Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth?

  24. Loved the first episode! My only worry is…don’t the two witnesses get killed by “the Beast” in the Book of Revelation? :/

  25. I thought it was crap. Sorry to bust everyone’s bubble. I enjoyed the movie a lot more. The movie was actually closer to the source material, even though they took some liberties.

    • You didn’t burst ANYone’s bubble except your own. The disappointment did not spread to those of us who enjoyed the show.

    • My bubble isn’t busted, sorry. Will happily tune in to next week’s episode.

  26. Plot was pretty hollow. Made me sleepy.

    • Clever.


  27. The pilot was pretty good. I just hope they don’t go “The Following” route and start off strong only to fade midway into the season. I’ll continue watching and hope it continues strong

  28. I quite enjoyed the premiere. It had excitement, tension, mystery, betrayal, humor…a great many elements I tend to find appealing, and it blended them in an intriguing manner. I hope the show continues to develop and progress. For the moment, I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

  29. I watched it while also watching dancing with the stars. It was okay. I liked the plot and it had a lot of heads being cutoff. I will watch it again.