Monday, January 20, 2014

Why You Should Be Watching 'Sleepy Hollow'

Arguably one of the best geek shows on broadcast television is sadly being put away until next fall tonight, as wraps up its first season with a two-episode finale to make room for The Following. There's a second season on the way, thanks to , but if you've been missing out, here's why you should be watching.


SLEEPY HOLLOW is anchored by Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane and Nicole Beharie as Abby Mills, and it's hard to think of a TV duo with better comedic chemistry. Some of the funniest moments on the show are little more than Ichabod and Abby goofing around or needling each other like two friends would.

It helps that the rest of the cast is rock solid, as well. Orlando Jones as Captain Irving, in particular, stands out; if you only know him as a comedian, he's shown some pretty serious dramatic chops here that can't be ignored, and is also a convincing action hero. It's also got some surprising guest stars, such as John Noble and John Cho, both of which have become genuinely interesting recurring characters.


The idea of turning the tale of the Headless Horseman in a TV series is ridiculous on the face of it, but the show makes it work largely by keeping it just serious enough to create a sense of urgency while also knowing that sometimes, you've got to go over the top. It's hard not to laugh when the Headless Horseman starts running around with a shotgun, but at the same time, you can't help but enjoy it either.

Similarly, the show's "ancient conspiracies during the Revolutionary War" vibe would be silly if the show didn't underplay it so effectively. It's just detailed enough to make a sort of sense unless you really know your history, and it's under the radar enough that it makes sense as a sort of secret history.


The idea of "Revolutionary War hero put in stasis and waking up in the modern day" sounds cringe-inducing on paper. You can already hear jokes about these kids and their music. But the show has paid off Ichabod's discomfort with modern technology in some absolutely hilarious ways. Whether he's discovering the joys of slagging the umpire or leaving long, absurdly elaborate voicemails, the show limits itself to one or two genuinely funny gags along these lines, and lets Tom Mison sell them.


Finally, you can't knock the makeup department for their creativity. In the course of the season we've met a tree-monster, a witch with charcoal briquettes for flesh, various creepy demons, and seen what happens when John Cho gets his block knocked off. It can be a surprisingly gory show for network TV, although the show has also pulled a few cheery fake-outs on us.

It seems likely Sleepy Hollow will turn up on Netflix soon, so keep an eye out. And, of course, swing by for our recap tomorrow.
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