With Sleepy Hollow having survived the halfway point of the Fall television season, it seems fitting to grade the series thus far. Having been awarded a second season already, Sleepy Hollow is a legitimate success, but to what degree? Is it really a good series, or is it just the best of the worst?
Let’s find out.
Sleepy Hollow’s premise is truly engaging, but it isn’t that out of the ordinary. It’s a fish-out-of -water story with Ichabod Crane being awoken from a 250 year slumber and having to find his way in a world full of cell phones, guns that fire more than once without reloading, and a Starbucks on every corner. This does work incredibly well for Sleepy Hollow and has yet to get old, which is a surprise. The story benefits from the audience’s familiarity with stories of time travel. It’s nothing new, nothing ground breaking. But it works.
Another element of familiarity that makes Sleepy Hollow comfortable to ease into is the fact that many viewers know of the story. Whether that be from Washington Irving’s classic, Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, or Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, the story has made its way into popular culture. And as long as the creators of this incarnation don’t destroy it, they have a fan base who at the minimum will be interested enough to try FOX’s creation.
Thankfully, the creators have breathed new life into the story. There is a Headless Horseman yes, but he is part of a greater evil. He is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There is much mayhem these and other villains lay upon the townsfolk of Sleepy Hollow but none more than the head of their dark posse – a grossly skinny horned demon named Moloch. He’s a quality villain; he lurks in the shadows not wanting to expose himself just yet.
Easily one of the brightest spots not only in Sleepy Hollow but of the television season this year has been Tom Mison who plays Ichabod Crane. He is a well polished, witty, and surprisingly irritable leading man. Mison can deliver both emotion and humor with perfect timing. But perhaps his greatest quality is his chemistry with co-star Nichole Beharie who plays Lieutenant Abbie Mills. The two work together seamlessly and have a chemistry that is never forced. It’s just there, existing between the two as if they’d been around one another since birth. Crane and his wife in purgatory, Katrina, are a different story. Their chemistry is nothing to behold – wooden and forced.
But beyond that blip, the creative team behind Sleepy Hollow has done a good job filling in the supporting roles. Orlando Jones has grown on me as Captain Frank Irving. In more recent episodes, he’s benefited from screen time, and this has made him more likeable. The introduction to his family has given his character needed depth. As well, the cast has had the luxury of bringing in fantastic character actors. Clancy Brown, John Cho and John Noble all have given the series not only quality performances but a certain level of respectability that is bestowed upon Sleepy Hollow just by having them be part of the show.
Yet Sleepy Hollow’s strongest attribute could be its balance. It’s not easy to pull off horror and humor but Sleepy Hollow does it very well. The show isn’t overly scary but it can be disturbing and suspenseful. Not to mention how much fun it is to watch. There is playfulness to it, an element of joy that translates on screen. That lighthearted balance is difficult to navigate, but thus far Sleepy Hollow gets high marks for pulling it off.
Having said all that, Sleepy Hollow has faltered at times this season. Some episodes, “Blood Moon” comes to mind, have not propelled the story forward. And the Mid-Season finale was a slight let down. Sure, “The Golem” had some resolution of Ichabod’s son and Moloch has made an interesting premonition at the end, but there was nothing that left me salivating.
And isn’t that what we all want from our shows: salivation.
Okay. Maybe that’s just me. My point is Sleepy Hollow does have some flaws, some moments where it doesn’t work as well as it could. That can be the nature of episodic television. Not for every show, but for many. But being exceptional each episode is difficult, and as Sleepy Hollow makes it to Mid-Season, the cast and crew have done a great job keeping this viewer both intrigued and excited for Monday nights.
My Mid-Season grade for Sleepy Hollow is below.
Tell me what you think?