I promised myself not to mention either “National Treasure” or “Rip Van Winkle.” These both came to mind while watching the hodgepodge of ax murders and classic good versus evil that make up “Sleepy Hollow.”
Sleepy Hollow seems to be “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” reversed with a twist of “The Stand,” a dash of “The Odd Couple,” a dash of Lizzie Borden and a dollop of the Salem witch trials. With enough beheading to make Henry VIII blink, this could have been an inexcusable bloodbath shock-fest. It isn’t. It is bloody but the characters are likable enough. That said this story bears as much resemblance to Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” as “Sesame Street” does to “True Blood.” Sesame Street has a vampire-like creature, the Count and unless Big Bird turns out to be a shape-shifter, that is it. In this case, there is an Ichabod Crane and a headless horseman and that is it.
Nicole Beharie as Abbie Mills and Tom Mison as Ichabod have some chemistry together. Orlando Jones plays his version of Axel Foley’s hard nosed chief of detectives through the first half and is then remarkably transformed to believer after the second or third beheading. Actually I think you could count that as the fourth, I lost count. Beheadings are balanced with comic relief. Comedic moments in particular addressing slavery and Starbucks lighten the gore. Mison’s portrayal of Ichabod stretches credulity in his acceptance of his circumstances 250 years after being buried in ice and soaked with water. As he clawed his way from the ground I was more surprised that his 250 year old costume had survived. I guess not being on HBO, Crane’s resurrection had to include clothing. A decent dead person would have shown up with more wear and tear. Even more incredibly, despite incarceration in both a jail and a mental ward Crane keeps his outfit.
Beharie’s character, a day away from achieving her dream of joining the FBI, as she meets Crane and despite direct orders, does what she thinks is right rather than blindly following along. The show doesn’t include police procedure to the extent that she puts the dangerous madman who insists he knows George Washington in the front seat of the police cruiser and only comments on him playing with the electric windows. Oh! did I forget to mention the witches and the threat of the end of days for all mankind? The headless horseman learns quickly and graduates from ax to shotgun with which he demonstrates remarkably good aim for a fellow whose head is in a jar somewhere else to be used later to avert catastrophe or something.
Despite the inexplicable plot and mainly because of the actors and the comedic aspects I will tune in for more. I have tried not to give away the whole of the plot, so suspend your credulity, watch this.