Nicole Beharie

Sleepy Hollow S1 E1 “Pilot” (Universal)

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I approached the first episode of the new version of Sleepy Hollow with genuine interest and reasonable expectations: well-reviewed in the US and already renewed by Fox for a second season after just three episodes, I was intrigued to know just how they would be able to expand a short story by Washington Irving about one man facing off against a ghostly headless horseman in the 18th century into a sufficiently robust foundation for an ongoing weekly series that could last for up to seven years.

sleepyhollowThe answer to that one appears to be taking the aforementioned headless horseman as but one aspect of a bigger whole, the vanguard of the end of the world which also involves the Book of Revelations, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, the Horn’d Beast himself, and two rival covens of witches – one good, one evil – fighting over the outcome. Into this mix is thrust Ichabod Crane (time travelled by witchcraft from 1776 to 2013) and his very modern cop cohort Abbie Mills, together with a raven embodying the soul of Crane’s long dead wife Katrina.

All of this we know from the pilot episode, which crams an extraordinary amount of plot exposition into the 40 minute running time. There’s enough story here for a two-and-a-half-hour movie but instead it’s crammed down our throats in an artless, incoherent gabble as fast as possible, presumably so that we don’t have time to stop and notice with a load of hackneyed, clichéd tripe it is, a collection of tropes from a dozen far better books and TV series all thrown together in the hope that something will spark and produce a new creative lifeform among the sludge and manure. Read the rest of this entry »