[SPOILERS ahead for those not caught up on Sleepy Hollow.]
Sleepy Hollow was a promising supernatural drama show when it debuted on FOX in 2013, featuring a resurrected Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) battling the Headless Horsemen of lore with a modern-day police detective, Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie). Fans flocked to their new weekly guilty pleasure, enjoying the blend of history, mystery, adventure, and fish-out-of-water humor.
Viewers particularly responded to the pairing of Mills and Crane, a ghost-hunting odd couple on a sacred mission, who had an appealing chemistry based more on mutual respect and friendship than any manufactured romance. That pairing kept loyal fans watching, willing to overlook a dismal season 2 and tune in for a third season, with a new showrunner and slightly reworked cast.
While season 3 thankfully returned the focus to the two Witnesses, ratings have continued to slip, averaging about half its season 1 numbers. When the writers killed off Abbie in the season finale, the series seemed destined for cancellation. Variety reports, however, that FOX has renewed Sleepy Hollow for season 4.
Beharie had reportedly wanted out of the show early in the season, so characters and plot threads were gradually built into the episodes in an attempt to overcome the loss of such an important character. Abbie’s sister Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) took on a more prominent role, and the two reconnected with their long-absent father Ezra (James McDaniel), who turned out to have a lot of supernatural knowledge of his own. Abbie’s coworkers at the FBI, Daniel Reynolds (Lance Gross) and Sofie Foster (Jessica Camacho) were also brought into the secret world of gods and monsters.
The Sleepy Hollow season 3 finale introduced the idea that Abbie’s spirit as a Witness could be reincarnated in someone else in her family’s bloodline. Crane needs to find that new Witness before a shady organization, which had its more noble origins with General Washington, gets there first. It doesn’t sound like a bad way to semi-reboot the show, but a lot will depend on what kind of rapport Mison and the new star have. Unfortunately, the show also killed off Jenny’s boyfriend Joe Corbin (Zach Appelman), leaving fans with two character losses to mourn.
For a show that was already struggling, it feels like a huge gamble to try out another spin on the story that only features half of what kept loyal viewers tuning in for three seasons. Let us know in the comments if you’ll give season 4 a try, or if you felt Abbie’s death was the death of the show.
Season 4 of Sleepy Hollow will likely return to FOX’s primetime line-up in Fall 2016.