There is absolutely nothing whatsoever original about Sleepy Hollow. But that is by no means a bad thing.
Taking (very loose) inspiration from Washington Irving's classic short story, the series re-imagines cowardly schoolmaster Ichabod Crane as a heroic spy for George Washington and Rip Van Winkles him into modern day Sleepy Hollow to help solve supernatural mysteries. Thus this wins the award for the most high concept show of the 2013 television season.
Much like their previous series -- a little show you may have heard of called Fringe -- Sleepy Hollow comes across like Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci trying to recreate The X-Files. This time they're doing the creepy, supernatural episodes, rather than the science gone wrong, "There's a conspiracy here, Scully" episodes. So Sleepy Hollow offers us nothing fresh and original, but originality is really an overrated concept. Who needs new ideas when you can have fun with the old ones? And so far, Sleepy Hollow is a great deal of fun. A lot of this is down to the chemistry between Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. The characters may be somewhat thin at this stage, but both actors overcome that to make Ichabod and Abbie an instantly likeable pairing.
Once in the 21st century, it doesn’t take this
The writers establish Sleepy Hollow as a town with a long and dark history of strange and unexplained occurrences. In Buffy-speak that means it's probably sitting on a Hellmouth, which would explain why the blurry boss demon reminded me a lot of demon Giles. All this should give Crane and Mills plenty to do when they aren't fighting Headless Horsemen. At the same time, it leaves me worried that the show will quickly settle into the same type of tiresome mystery of the week format that marred much of Fringe's first season.
Ghosts and Ghouls
--When someone sees a guy riding a horse with no head, the last thing they are going to notice is a mark on their hand.
--Les Wiseman's direction wasn't too bad, even if he did keep doing that annoying thing a lot of hack directors do when they slow things down because they think it makes everything more dramatic. It doesn't.
--If the Headless Horseman is going to be the show's signature villain, how often will the show do that thing where a character checks a room, thinks its empty only for the Horseman to stand up and reveal he was sitting in the chair all along?
--I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Orlando Jones’ police captain will be revealed to be head demon running the show.
--Considering that he hasn't changed or showered since he woke up from being buried alive for over 200 years, I'm surprised no one commented on the fact that Crane must surely stink.
--Not only is Mison the handsomest Ichabod since Depp, he is by far the most brave and heroic. If The Legend of Sleepy Hollow did exist in this reality (which for some bizarre reason it does not) I'm sure he would have more than a few words to say to Irving about how his character is portrayed.
--To ensure there's no awkwardness between him and his new partner, the writers have Crane state quite vocally that he is firmly against slavery.
--Why cast an actor as good as Clancy Brown only to kill him off less than five minutes later?
--If you decide to go for a stroll through the creepy woods near your home town just remember that woods are just trees and trees are just wood. Unless of course they are a symbolic representation of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in which case fucking leg it.
--According to the sign, Sleepy Hollow has a population of 144,000. That's a lot for a "village". I live in a city and we only have a population of 177,793.
--We had one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on the payroll and we still lost the war. Bloody typical.
Crane: "That building used to be a livery stable."
Abbie: "Well, now it's a Starbucks."
Crane: "That building is also a Starbucks."
Crane: "Well, how many are there?"
Abbie: "Per block?"
Crane: "Is there a law?"
Abbie: "I told you to stay in the car."
Crane: "Yet, as you know, I am insane and therefore impervious to simple commands."
Three out of four demon librarians.