Last night, FOX debuted its new show Sleepy Hollow, to raves. According to the always infallible Wikipedia, the show can be classified as a "fantasy mystery thriller adventure drama." But that's only the start of its, shall we say, "complexity." The story centers on Ichabod Crane, skittish and ill-fated hero of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and his supernatural terror-cum-shadow, The Headless Horseman. The resemblance to Irving's story, however, ends there. In the FOX version, Ichabod dies during a military mission in 1781, and is reborn in 2013 in Sleepy Hollow, New York, along with his headless foe. Now, Crane (Tom Mison) must team with a sexy young police officer (Nicole Beharie) to stop this horse-bound modern merciless murderer.
Are you interested yet? This is only the start of this show's completely unhinged take on historical drama.
A few other things you missed last night:
-The Headless Horseman now has access to 21st-century weaponry, like exploding shotguns, and totally mythical weaponry, like searing-hot swords.
-There Will Be Blood. And decapitations. Lotsa them. Like at least three in the first episode alone.
-There Will Be Biblical Allegory. Because no longer is this Irving's ghost story colored by class struggle in post-colonial America or a battle between the rational mind and the id, but instead a pretty pablum reading of the Book of Revelation. (Headless Horseman = First Horseman of the Apocalypse. Get it?) Not that that makes for poor television. Bring on the seven-headed beast!
-All of those innocent "witches" who were murdered during the Salem-era hysteria and inspired Arthur Miller's immortal parable about Communism and the dangers of group-think? Turns out they were actually witches. Ichabod's wife was a witch, too — but a good witch, obvi.
-John Cho dies. Sorry for the spoiler, but you had to expect this was coming, right?
Perhaps FOX is trying to capture some of American Horror Story's rabid viewship — FX is owned by FOX, after all — but can it possibly maintain this insanity each week? (AHS had to resort to aliens, incest, and a fairly disgusting form of sex aversion therapy to kick it up a notch after its first season.) FOX tried this "historic charcter reanimated in modern-day New York with an entirely insane supernatural bent" thing in its short-lived 2008 drama, New Amsterdam , which ran for only eight episodes before it was canceled and starred a pre-Game of Thrones Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a 400-year-old NYPD homicide detective. Why didn't that one take off? (EW.com)