I've never been drawn to the legend of Sleepy Hollow, I wasn't a fan of the Johnny Depp movie and I didn't plan on making watching this pilot a priority, especially since I can't commit to it - it will soon go against How I Met Your Mother, which I've watched from day one and is heading into its final season, and Dancing With the Stars, which I don't normally watch but is boasting a pretty decent cast this season, with Valerie Harper, Elizabeth Berkley, Jack Osbourne and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.
Then I found out the force behind the series: executive producers (and co-creators) Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the duo behind the reboots of Star Trek on the big screen and Hawaii Five-0 on the small, as well as past shows Alias and Fringe - all of which I love with a passion. So I knew I had to give this pilot a look.
(L-R: Katia Winter, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones)
Co-starring in the show are Katia Winter (Dexter) as Cranes wife Katrina and Orlando Jones (Tainted Love, MADTV) as Mills' police captain Frank Irving. Notable guest stars include John Cho (Star Trek) and Clancy Brown (Earth 2).
The show has chosen to make Ichabod Crane a soldier during the Revolutionary War instead of the schoolteacher he was in the original story. An interesting choice, as it allots the character to be more adept at action and fighting. FOX certainly likes its mystery-solving duos (X-Files, Bones, Fringe, Alcatraz) and I do like Mison in the lead. He's dashing, snarky and pretty good with sarcasm ... given that's he's from 1776 (were they very sarcastic back then?). Beharie, in the cynic's role here (re: Scully to Mulder), is fairly likeable and the pair antagonize each other well and humorously enough (though they ain't no McGarrett and Danno (H50) or Castle and Beckett (Castle)).
The pilot, which included some fairly cool camera angles and stylized flashbacks, had a decent, go-for-shock sequence early on (plus a very wicked shot of the Horseman), but after CBS' Under the Dome's kick-off episode, which shocked me in a way that hasn't happened in a long time, other shows have big shoes to fill when offering jaw-dropping, holy s**t moments.
Old Headless is awesome and quite the bad-ass, wielding a mother of an axe - as well as a shotgun - and letting plenty of heads fly. His only weakness so far seems to be daylight. I've no doubt he and Crane will have spectacular confrontations as the series goes on
Will Sleepy Hollow fill the void for those of us missing the brilliant Fringe, which departed the FOX airwaves last May? There's definitely a supernatural element here - and witchcraft, which fits into the hot trend of the season (Witches of East End, American Horror Story: Coven, The Originals), and I'm always for that. Like the twisted humor, too (upon confronting the Horseman, a deputy asks simply "think he can hear us?"). The pace picked up and drew me in more as the episode went on and ended with a good fight and an exciting preview of episodes to come, so I'll have to see if I can make the effort to watch it later online - which I hate doing - to keep up.
Ultimately I see decent potential here, though the current TV season is saturated with quite a lot of this type of genre show old and new (Supernatural (AWESOME), Grimm (never seen), The Originals (I like The Vampire Diaries, so ...) AHS: Coven (in the past has been sick, twisted fun), Once Upon a Time (I like)).
BOTTOM LINE: "Head" online now to catch the pilot and judge for yourself.
Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on FOX.