Fox's Sleepy Hollow - the show that updated the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman for modern times, infusing it with American history and wrapping it in a larger mythology - was a breakout hit for the network last season.
The series is also one part police procedural (arguably America's favorite kind of television) with much of the praise coming from the onscreen chemistry between Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) and Crane (Tom Mison), who - after the Headless Horseman returned - came back to life in modern day Sleepy Hollow. Now he and Abbie investigate not only what brought back the Horseman, but how it's connected with the impending apocalypse.
Sleepy Hollow was one of the fall's first shows to be renewed for a second season, which wasn't too surprising considering it was Fox's strongest performing drama to premiere since 24. That initial renewal was for only 13 episodes, but Entertainment Weekly is reporting season 2 will have "at least" 15.
The extra episodes aren't necessarily unusual, especially for a popular show Fox seems to have a lot of confidence in. Yet, in recent years Fox has begun whittling down their shows to have shorter seasons, following along with what's already the trend among cable dramas. The thinking here being a shorter season with less episodes to fill means the quality of those episodes will be (or at least should be) higher.
When The Following was renewed for its second season it was also only for 15 episodes, and Fox's newest drama, Gotham, will also have a short season of only 13 episodes. Seeing how well this shorter season strategy has been working for cable networks - where shows like Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad draw large audiences even over a season of less episodes - there's no reason Fox shouldn't attempt the same.
The adding of two more episodes to Sleepy Hollow's second season doesn't come anywhere near a network drama's typical season order of 22 episodes. And executive producer Mark Goffman isn't expecting the series to struggle under the burden of an additional two hours, saying:
"We look at this series as epic and every episode as needing to be epic. Every episode needs to be an adventure, and something mind blowing has to happen to our characters, with major revelations that move the story forward. We still approach it with that in mind. The more episodes you do, the harder that becomes, but I feel we are still at level where we can maintain that pace."
Still, it's a good sign for fans of Sleepy Hollow that Fox is allowing the show extra episodes in order to continue fleshing out its complicated backstory and mythology. It's all too evident this series is being written with a larger story in mind, and often the setup required for that kind of big picture payoff needs as much time as possible to develop.
What do you make of Sleepy Hollow getting an additional two episodes for its second season? Will the extra time help or hurt the series? Sound off in the comments below!
Sleepy Hollow returns this fall to Fox.
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