Sleepy Hollow is quite possibly the most fun you’ll have with a new television show this fall. The reason? It’s unabashedly crazy.
The series, loosely based on Washington Irving’s classic short story, turns Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) into a Colonial American soldier under the command of George Washington. Shortly after lopping off the Horseman’s head, it appears to the viewer that Crane dies. That is, until he awakens alongside his nemesis in 2013. Got all that? Good, because it’s about to get even more complicated.
Waking up more than two hundred years in the future isn’t the worst of Crane’s problems. He faces a number of fish-out-of-water issues – the fact that new Sheriff Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) is an African American woman is, to say the least, jarring to Crane’s 18th-century views. But while working with her, Crane discovers that the Headless Horseman is actually the first of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, who have come to unleash hellfire and brimstone on the modern world. (Yes, we’re serious.)
Sleepy Hollow is dumb, convoluted, and absolutely insane at times, but it’s way more fun than many of today’s self-serious action dramas. This is a show that knows what it is and embraces that with every fiber of its crazy, little being.
The cast seems to know they’re in a show crazy enough to show the Horseman riding through a graveyard with a pump-action shotgun. It’s one of the most ballsy moments of tonight’s premiere, but it’s one that we could watch over and over again. (It won’t be long until a GIF makes its way around the Internet.)
Tom Mison does a fine job as Crane, and he handles the fish-out-of-water moments with much less bombast than you might expect. He’s over-the-top as the Colonial soldier transported to a place with speeding cars, flashing lights and automatic weapons, but he never takes the performance into the realm of parody. Nicole Beharie’s Sheriff Mills is perhaps the show’s most interesting and grounded character. She’s new and trying to make a mark in her department, so it’s understandable that she’s the first (and, for a while, only) person that actually believes Crane’s nutso story. Plus, Beharie’s chemistry with Mison is palpable.
If you’re heading into fall looking for the latest by-the-numbers action-drama or a show that takes its mythology seriously, you’ll probably be dissapointed by Sleepy Hollow. But if you’re in the market to turn off your brain for an hour and have some fun with an updated classic (and witness craziness like a machine gun toting Headless Horseman), you could do a whole hell of a lot worse.