I am absolutely crazy about anything to do with the supernatural. Whether its books, television series or movies, just give me access to it and I’m there. Even if its a show that just hints at the supernatural in a playful way, it’s enough to keep me coming back for more.
Sleepy Hollow is no different. Not to be confused with the 1999 movie of the same name and starring Johnny Depp, this new series which first aired in the US in September has a less than contemporary take on the classic story of the Headless Horseman. Whereas in the original it focused primarily on the coming of the Headless Horseman and his spree of beheadings in and around the small town of Sleepy Hollow, this latest version of the story sees the narrative jump ahead to modern day Sleepy Hollow.
‘How does this come to pass?’ I hear you asking. Simple really, and also quite elegant in its undertaking. In the fateful battle between Ichabod Crane (the wholesome British-turned American Revolutionary) and the scary Headless Horseman, the former manages to decapitate the Horseman, and yet he still keeps coming, fatally wounding Crane. In their final moments however their blood mixes, sealing their fates together. The story at this point fast-forwards several hundred years to present day Sleepy Hollow where the Headless Horseman starts his all too familiar rampage across the town, decapitating locals as he goes, in search of something…
Not far from there a hand springs forth from a grave, bringing forth images of zombies and the undead, however a dusty, confused Ichabod Crane emerges. It is revealed through several comical and interesting story developments that the Headless Horseman is in fact Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, send to earth to initiate the end of days. Ichabod Crane and unwilling accomplice, Abigail Mills, must do everything in their power to stop the ever encroaching darkness from consuming them all.
The show has adopted the formula of lesser-monsters and even evil humans aligned with the malicious force behind the oncoming Apocalypse which breaks from the expected week after week of the Headless Horseman, with the latter only making special appearances whenever it is warranted. The emerging story in Sleepy Hollow is one buried in the past and monumentally interesting in the present day, with special appearances by various important figures such as the Founding Fathers of America and mention of various important battles and events during the American Civil War…with a bit of a supernatural twist to them.
The retelling, and more detail-filled variation of the story of Sleepy Hollow looks like it is developing into quite an interesting story-arc and hopefully it develops into a multi-season show. Only time will tell if this will be the case, but if the writing quality continues on this path, then it is indeed a lock.
The people behind the show has opted to use lesser known actors in the development of this show, but they could not have picked better actors. Tom Mison, better known is his home country of England as a stage actor, was cast as Ichabod Crane, and he is proving to be very suited to the role as the former British soldier turned American Revolutionary. He carries the role with a certain grace, and his acting ability is quite apparent, especially in the comedic moments in which he finds himself face to face with modern day things that as a resurrected character from the time of the American Revolutionary War would not have been familiar with. Nicole Beharie is introduced to viewers as Lt. Abigail (Abbie) Mills, a non-believer in the supernatural, who is quickly drawn into this wild and crazy ride after the death of her partner, the Sheriff of Sleepy Hollow at the hands of the Horseman. Beharie as with Mison, is lesser known in acting circles, having only starred in a few smaller roles in films such as American Violet (2008), The Express (2008), My Last Day Without You (2011) and Steve McQueen’s Shame (2011). Despite her small resume, you can already see by her role as Abbie Mills that she has quite an astounding acting ability and it will be interesting to see how both her character and her as an actor evolves with the show.
Sleepy Hollow looks to be a promising new addition to the supernatural genre. Going up against other shows currently on television such as Grimm, Once Upon A Time and even Supernatural itself (the one with the Winchester Brothers), will definitely be a challenge in its own right, but I believe, given time and the quality of writing, it may go on to become one of the most popular shows on TV.
Still not convinced? Check out the fantastic trailer for the show below: