Sleepy Hollow: TV review

This modern adaptation of Washington Irving's tale is surprisingly fun.

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Katia Winter, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones star in Sleepy Hollow on Fox

Katia Winter, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones star in Sleepy Hollow on Fox

When it was announced back in the spring, Fox's Sleepy Hollow was the cause of many snickers. While a modern adaptation of Washington Irving's story seems as shallow as any of the other re-workings of childhood properties to come out of Hollywood in recent years, this new drama series surprises with a strong commitment to its dense mythology.


Sleepy Hollow opens on a Revolutionary War battle where Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is facing of against seemingly immortal man who rides in on a horse. During the squabble, Crane cuts off the man's head shortly before passing out. Seemingly moments later, he awakens in a cave, surrounded by odd artifacts and stumbles through a forest until he finds himself on a paved road and soon finds himself acquainted with modern automotive technology. Crane doesn't know it yet, but he's been asleep for 250 years and now finds himself in a modern-day Sleepy Hollow. Along with our hero, his foe the Headless Horseman has also awakened.


Crane eventually meets up with police Lieutenant Abbie Mills (Nichole Beharie) after she and Sheriff August Corbin (Clancy Brown) have a brutal run-in with the resilient Horseman. Abbie, like many of her colleagues, resists Crane's far-fetched story, but an odd occurrence from her past causes her to follow him into the mysterious history of her small town.


While the premise of Sleepy Hollow is campy and quite ridiculous, it's also surprisingly enjoyable to follow it down the rabbit hole of an ever-expanding occult mythology that's sure to provide many monster-of-the-week plotlines. Mison and Beharie make a fun team and while Crane's fish-out-of-water routine is overly familiar, the actor does his best to make it work. The strength of the central duo is important as the show proves early on that it's not shy about killing off seemingly important characters. The only other principle cast members are Orlando Jones as police Captain John Irving and Katia Winter as Katrina, Ichabod's wife who's currently trapped in hellish realm after having been burnt at the stake for witchcraft back in the 1700s.


From producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Fringe) and with a pilot directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld), Sleepy Hollow is spooky fun and a welcome addition to network televisions waning library of genre shows.


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