Monday, September 16, 2013

'Sleepy Hollow'

Possible trend alert for the fall 2013 TV season: Hunky versions of deeply unsexy male historical/fictional characters. Okay, this probably isn't a trend, but next month you can catch the scruffy, smoldering Nostradamus on The CW's Reign, and this week the fall season kicks off with a decidedly debonair version of Ichabod Crane on Fox's Sleepy Hollow. Instead of a schoolteacher, this Ichabod is a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and his battle against the Headless Horseman catapults him 200-some years into the future, to the present day. There he teams up with a skeptical cop in the modern-day town of Sleepy Hollow and fights to stop the Headless Horseman, who also happens to be one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. There's also an ancient coven of witches and George Washington as some sort of grand mage.

So, yeah, it's totally stupid, and unfortunately it plays everything completely straight. The pilot is filled with mind-numbing exposition delivered by a range of stock characters, some of whom exist solely to get killed off (there are two seemingly major characters who don't survive the first episode). There's some lame time-travel comedy with Ichabod (Tom Mison) expressing disbelief at the black, female police lieutenant (Nicole Beharie) he's teamed up with, but in general the camp factor is pretty low. The first episode burns through so much plot that it could have worked as the first two acts of a movie, and I'm not entirely sure how the rest of the season will play out. Will Ichabod and his new cop buddy keep chasing the Headless Horseman each week? Or will they end up solving random other supernatural cases that happen to crop up in the eerie small town? Either way, I don't think I will stick around to find out.

Premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox.

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