by Billie Doux
I'm trying to think of a series that has reinvented itself as much as Sleepy Hollow has. Alias? Heroes?
We are now watching a show called Sleepy Hollow that is no longer set in Sleepy Hollow, New York: it's in Washington, D.C. There were a lot of callbacks to earlier seasons, starting with Ichabod emerging on yet another road surrounded with mist and nearly getting run down, except that this time it was runway at Reagan International Airport. And of course, the first case was a decapitation, this time of the Lincoln Memorial.
(If we have to have the show set in D.C., could we please have Ichabod Crane's considered opinion of our new president-elect in a future episode?)
It's not that I don't like Janina Gavankar, because I do. She rocked in True Blood, she's good with the comedy and the action. But the set-up was just so pat: he just lost his partner, she just lost hers. But Special Agent Diana Thomas is not Abbie, and never will be. And is she going to just keep skipping out on her job to help Ichabod fight demons? I didn't think that worked for Abbie, either.
Whatever. I actually do like the twist that the second witness isn't Diana — it's her ten-year-old daughter, Molly, who is now suffering from "transient aphasia," as in, she stopped talking right about the time that Abbie died. And she's drawing pictures of Ichabod. How are they going to handle this? Does he have to wait for her to grow up? Can Diana act as a sort of regent witness in place of her daughter until then? Not that I expect this series to last another ten seasons. They're pushing it with four.
New Scooby gang
Already there's a brand new headquarters, originally set up by Washington himself, with an archive brimming with information that Ichabod and his new friends will need to battle the supernatural. New cast member Jake, who is already a huge fan of Ichabod's and calls him "Captain Brownbeard," was actually wearing a tee shirt that said, "You can't handle the truth," probably because "The truth is out there" might have been too on the nose. And Alex is mechanically gifted and loves to create strange things, like a guillotine, or a weapon made out of pennies. That'll be useful. You know, it's like the writers were going, what characters can we create that will be useful for Ichabod's mission? Okay, those. Ditto the Revolutionary war-era tunnels under D.C. Honestly, it's like someone was watching Buffy and taking extensive notes.
It was a relief when Jenny showed up in the nick of time. I've always liked Jenny and I'm glad she's still with us, even though it's sad that she's the only surviving member of the cast other than Ichabod. At least someone still knows that he's a couple of hundred years old. Will he ever tell his new buddies? Would they believe him if he did?
I'm also encouraged by the casting of Jeremy Davies (Lost, Justified) as Dreyfuss, our brand new villain. It was (again) very Buffy-like that he was in the middle of an evil ceremony when his cell phone rang. (I almost expected him to say, "We don't knock during dark rituals?") Note how they kept filming Dreyfuss in shadow so that we got a silhouette of his rampant hair. Maybe he's a vampire.
Dreyfuss and his powerful glowy-eyed minion, Jobe, freed a demon that was created by John Wilkes Booth to kill Lincoln so they could free some sort of mini-manhole cover that was concealed in the head of the Lincoln statue. Dreyfuss wants a lot more manhole covers, too. And he's the one who held Ichabod prisoner under the Reagan airport. Maybe Dreyfuss knows about the secret tunnels under D.C., too.
-- Same opening music and credit sequence, although of course, an almost entirely new cast. The opening scene with Ichabod being interrogated was pretty standard "catch up the audience" exposition.
-- There was a recreation of the Lincoln assassination. Interestingly, I just saw one a few weeks ago on Timeless. Maybe they should coordinate these things so two productions don't have to create the same set.
-- Lincoln had supernatural experts, led by Mary Todd Lincoln. Of course he did.
-- In the series, it's the beginning of August. Here at my house, there is snow on the ground.
-- I liked the mention of Hamilton. And note that Diana's coat looked like Ichabod's frock coat. They did that with Abbie, too. (Although why is Diana wearing a heavy coat in August, in D.C. which is hotter than Hades in August?)
-- Actually, I like Ichabod's shorter hair. It looks good on him.
Ichabod: "She became my partner. We joined together to fight evil."
Questioner: "To fight evil?"
Ichabod: "Yes. Demons, Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the ongoing success of shows about real housewives. You know, evil."
Ichabod: "Your brogues are loosening… your shoes are untied. Oldest trick in the book, and that's coming from me."
Diana: "You did not tell me that he was vegan, one of the judgy ones. And he hummed Katy Perry, non-ironically."
Eric: "So he's healthy. And Katy's awesome."
Diana: "No. No no no. No good music was written after 1984. Purple Rain. That's it."
Diana: "You sure know a lot about decapitation."
Ichabod: "I've had some experience in the matter."
Diana: "I cannot believe this is what I'm doing, crawling through tunnels with Mister Downton Abbey. No offense."
Ichabod: "None taken. Although I rather like Downton Abbey."
Jake: "...because copper is the demon's kryptonite!"
Ichabod: "Or... because copper is the demon's weakness! (pause) Oh, yes. The Superman."
Ichabod: "Allow me to introduce Miss Jenny Mills: soldier, scholar, gentlewoman and all around badass."
Jenny: "Actually, I prefer Ms. Badass."
So what's the verdict, Sleepyheads? It was well done, but I wasn't captivated. Like I said in the opener, maybe there have been too many changes and reinventions for this series to work. Despite the fact that they still have an amazing lead,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.