"The first time I read the script, I was like, 'This is ridiculous!'"
While Sleepy Hollow's premise may have originally elicited some skepticism from its leading lady Nicole Beharie, we're happy to report that only heads, not eyes, will be rolling throughout the Fox drama's series premiere tonight. The network's modern retelling of the classic tale of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is big on the three Fs: fog, frights and fun and we're totally buying a one-way ticket to Crazytown aka Sleepy Hollow this fall.
To help you decide which of the many new series debuting this fall are worth your time, we're reviewing all of the five network's newbies, starting with Sleepy Hollow. Plus, we've got scoop on what's next from the stars and producers...
Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
Premieres: Monday, Sept. 16, 9 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 2 Broke Girls/Mom (CBS), Beauty and the Beast (The CW), The Voice (NBC)
Cast: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones, Katia Winter
Status: We've seen the pilot episode
From big-hitters like Fringe and Star Trek's Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and Underworld director Len Wiseman, Sleepy Hollow puts a modern twist on the legend of Ichabod Crane (an irresistibly charming Mison) and the Headless Horseman, while simultaneously introducing us to a world where Washington Irving's tale never existed. (So no, we will not be seeing any Headless Horseman groupies/worshippers in future eps.)
In their interpretation, Ichabod is a Revolutionary War soldier (he and George Washington are BFFs, no big deal) who is seriously wounded in a battle after beheading a hard-to-kill masked Hessian soldier. Cut to the dashing Brit waking up in the 21st century in a particularly epic sequence, which ends with him nearly being ran over by a truck.
But he's not the only colonial souvenir to have been transported to our time, as the Headless Horseman is also in Sleepy Hollow, which is how Ichabod and the just-about-ready-to-spread-her-wings-and-fly-far-away-from-her-small-town Lt. Abbie Mills (Beharie) end up teaming up. Cue hilarious banter (slavery is addressed right off the bat, by the way), crackling chemistry and a fated friendship!
Alas, a potential romance between the duo has one major speed bump: Ichabod's wife Katrina (Winter). "I'm still married, even though she's dead!" Mison tells us. Dead, but still communicating with her hubby because she's a witch, naturally.
Sure, a lot of the elements feel very "Pilot 101," including a "shocking" death of a recognizable face, a good guy turning out to be bad, etc., but Sleepy Hollow pulls them off with style, seemingly aware and embracing its somewhat formulaic series opener. It's weird, yet familiar, quirky yet reliable. "The show is one molecule away from totally ridiculous and insane at any moment," Kurtzman admits. "So you're constantly walking that line where you're asking the audience to buy into this crazy premise but you're also asking them to take it seriously. So we're always one molecule away from implosion, but somehow we've been managing the tone really well and it's really fun and it's really scary. And so it's an experience you can't have anywhere else on television."
We can't help but worry though that Sleepy Hollow went too big and too far when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse crash the party, but it's hard to be concerned when you're having as much fun as this Fox series seems to be having.
Verdict: Watch and enjoy the lush locations, stellar special effects and the sometimes batsh-t craziness of the war between good and evil. "The shows just get bigger, which surprises me that it didn't ramp down, which you're sort of accustomed to," Orlando Jones, who plays Captain Irving (Get it?!), teases. "We are now shooting episode five and I'm like, 'Oh my god, this is going off the rails!'" Sold!
Our Review in .GIF Form: