Unlike the ones in the New York village, the show's surprises are welcome.
The new FOX show would be worth watching for the Headless Horseman alone. He
moves with the fluidity of a decapitated Terminator: oddly confident, despite an
apparent lack of capacity for emotion.
And then we meet a villain who's scarier than he is. Way to keep us on our
toes, "Sleepy Hollow." The show, debuting Monday night on FOX, comes from "Star
Trek" vets Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, as well as Len Wiseman
("Underworld") and Phillip Iscove.
It doesn't yet have the urgency of a series you just have to see — nothing
this season does — but you could do a lot worse if you're looking for a fix of
good-looking people trying to prevent the apocalypse.
The first is Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), handsomer than you may
remember from Disney's "Sleepy Hollow" cartoon. We meet him in the midst of the
Revolutionary War, as he separates a Hessian from his head. Crane is British but
has joined the Americans because their cause is so obviously just.
As Crane goes to sleep in a cave, the show does its first story mash: He
wakes up Rip Van Winkle after two-and-a-half centuries, in the modern age. His
Hessian rival co-opts another story, one of the most popular: He comes back as
one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Apparently, Gen. George Washington was not only trying to shake off the
monarchy but also prevent the end of the world. Crane resumes his mission in the
modern age with help from Sleepy Hollow police Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie),
who's about to leave for the FBI.
She's black, he's white, he's a guy, she's a lady, he's from the 18th
century, she's not. They have things to talk about, and to the show's credit,
they do. There's a surprisingly frank talk about the changing roles of women and
African-Americans throughout our history. Crane proves to be a forward-thinking
He's also quick on the draw when it comes to technology. We're spared too
much of him figuring out how phones and cars work. He's a soldier on a mission,
so he adapts. There's a Headless Horseman out there. The Horseman's a fast
study, too: He proves adept with a range of new killing machines.
About midway through, the pilot seems ready to settle into an "X-Files" dynamic: Abby is the sensible Scully and Ichabod
the wild-card Mulder. But then another smart thing happens: She turns out to
have a backstory nearly as wild as his. And as scary as his nemesis may be, hers
One reason the pilot works as well as it does it the way it flips the
expected audience surrogate. We begin with Ichabod, not Abby, so we don't see
him as the weirdo he is. We begin to feel like we know Abby — Clarice Starling
type, ready to blow this town — until we find out why she's the only one who
takes Ichabod at his word.
Beharie, recently seen in "42," sells her character beautifully. We relate to
her, even while we're a little in awe. Mison, meanwhile, winks at us just
And does he wink at Abby? Not yet. He has a wife (Katia Winter) trapped in
some kind of limbo.
Lest things get too simple.
What did you think of Monday's series premiere of "Sleepy Hollow" on
FOX? Tell us at MSN TV on Facebook and Twitter.
A good amount of creative license has been taken to portray Ichabod Crane as a brave soldier of the Revolution and link him eternally to the Headless Horseman. It worked for me. It was a good plot to start the series.
I actually enjoyed it more that I thought I would. I was certain it was going to be a stinker, but it wasn't half bad... of course, that eye candy they've got as Crane doesn't hurt, either. ;-) *growl!*
Told primarily in Sondheim's own words, this documentary is a highly personal profile of a great American artist as revealed through the creation and performance of six of his iconic songs. "'Six by Sondheim" premieres Monday, Dec. 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.