Fall TV First Impression: Fox's Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow PreviewThe broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes, a futuristic tale from the Fringe team and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

THE SHOW | Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (Mondays at 9/8c; premieres Sept. 16)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ 2 Broke Girls/Mom (new), NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, ESPN’s Monday Night Football and The CW’s Beauty and the Beast

THE CAST | Tom Mison (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), Nicole Beharie (42), Orlando Jones (MADtv) and Katia Winter (Dexter)

RELATED | Fall Preview: TVLine’s Grid Showing What’s On When and Versus What!

THE SET-UP | In what Fox is dubbing a “modern-day twist on Washington Irving’s classic,” Mison stars as Ichabod Crane, here envisioned as one of General George Washington’s top soldiers in the Revolutionary War. During a fateful battle, Crane beheads a mysterious, masked man whose hand is branded with a bow-shaped mark. Having suffered critical injuries himself, Crane then… wakes up 250 years into the future, where he helps Sleepy Hollow police detective Abbie Mills (Beharie) investigate a trail of new treachery by the Headless Horseman, who apparently made the “time jump” with him. Jones plays Abbie’s boss Captain Irving (heh), while Winter is Crane’s wife Katrina (seen in flashback).

RELATED | Fall TV Preview: TVLine’s Snapshot Guide to All the New Shows

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | I tell no lies. I was sold — hook, line and sinker — two-thirds of the way through this pilot, as it uncorked a rollicking, doesn’t-take-itself-too-seriously tale of a fish out of water and his frighteningly formidable foe. (“Headless” wields an axe with a superheated blade that conveniently cauterizes as it lops noggins.) But then the last 10 minutes or so heaped on so much nutty mythology, explaining Crane’s predicament and his new lot in life, that my (attached) head started hurting. I also question the decision to not have The Legend of Sleepy Hollow exist in Abbie’s reality (because it’d, what, make Crane’s time traveling testimony to the police hard to believe…?)

All that said… Mison is quite enjoyable in the lead role, as Crane takes in his familiar-yet-vastly changed surroundings, and he and Beharie have a fun rapport as she slowly becomes a believer. (Fun fact check from my best friend in Sleepy Hollow: They don’t have one let alone several Starbucks shops, and the population is nowhere near 144,000. Fix that prop!)

RELATED | More Fall TV First Impressions: CBS’ HostagesNBC’s IronsideABC’s Super Fun NightThe CW’s The Tomorrow PeopleFox’s Almost HumanCBS’ The Crazy Ones

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE Even if Sleepy Hollow and its far-out premise is poised to strike a chord with the genre-TV loving crowd, the time slot competition is significant, especially if The Voice stays strong and DWTS somehow manages to find its footing again.

Watch a video preview for Sleepy Hollow, then vote in our poll below.

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41 Comments
  1. John says:

    Sounds “New Amsterdam”-ish, which is a good thing as I liked that show.

    • Ally Oop says:

      I loved New Amsterdam. It was one of many series I quickly got attached too and therefore quickly got my heart broken when it was abruptly cancelled. That said, I’m not sure if I’ll stick with Sleepy Hollow or not. It’ll likely be a bubble show for me, depending upon whether or not it goes with the procedural path or not–if it turns into a procedural I will quickly jump ship.

    • carrionne says:

      I hope it lasts longer

  2. Alichat says:

    I love the look of this…..the cinematography. It doesn’t look like a television show at all. And at first I didn’t know what to think of the re-vamp, but now I find the story intriguing.

  3. This series gives me the creeps but I don’t know if Sleepy Hollow has potential.

  4. Mo says:

    I wasn’t excited about this at all until the trailer. It looks great in terms of production values (hope they’re able to keep it up) and it’s an interesting take on the story. Although now that you mention it, I also wonder why they decided against having The Legend of Sleepy Hollow exist in their reality. Seems it would have added interesting wrinkles to the story rather than take away from it.

    • carrionne says:

      A Legend would mean they would have heard about something like this before. The situation wouldn’t be so grave if there wasn’t SOME panic that something so impossible and mysterious was happening in the typical small town. You’re not a typical small town when you have a legend in your name.

      • Mosh says:

        What I mean is that this story is so completely different from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (seems like the only thing unchanged is the name Ichabod Crane & a headless horseman character) that even people who knew the story won’t know the story. And the people in Sleepy Hollow are no more likely to believe what’s happening than anyone else. They may be even less likely to accept the impossible because it’s such a well known FICTIONAL story. They are probably far more likely to believe it’s a couple of nut cases who think they are these fictional characters and not take the possible danger as seriously.

  5. Cory says:

    This is the show I’m most looking forward to this fall other than Tomorrow People and Almost Human, production values looks great and I think I’m gonna love the mythology.

  6. HEADLESS HORSEMEN says:

    Nice review. I saw the promo and living in the area (Dobbs Ferry) I immediately had a issue with the scenery. Anyone who lives in Westchester County knows that this is NOT the town of Sleepy Hollow but more like something out of North Carolina. They had an ariel shot of the town and the roads in our area don’t even look like that. Next, we have Starbucks in Westchester and while Sleepy Hollow doesn’t (from what I can see on Starbucks link or Google) the town surrounding them do. The population of 144,000 I believe is a reference to the biblical number found in Revelations where it mentions those going to heaven to serve as Kings and Priests with Christ. So maybe that will be part of the mythos as they move forward? I’m going to give the show a chance but I think that many people from the region are going to be turned off by the inaccuracies of the area. Locations people should have done a better job from what I see on the promo commercials alone. Heck, they should of just shot it in Sleepy Hollow and called it a day. We could use the production work. But let’s see what the pilot episode does to change my mind.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Correct, this was filmed in North Carolina. And yes, maybe the “Starbucks” scene took place as they drove through Dobbs Ferry or Ossining. Or something.

    • Sleepy Hollow Resident says:

      Actually, many of the aerial shots in the promo are in fact of Sleepy Hollow & Tarrytown, or at least Westchester (One for certain being the aerial shot of the Old Ducth Church). And while yes, they have taken many liberties with the feel and look of the town, many of the roads near the North end of the village look very similar to a lot of the wooded areas shown. In particular those roads around Route 117 and Pocantico Hills.

    • Midori says:

      Shows always fail at this. Stargate SG-1 had every alien world look like Canada, they were lazy. Fringe drove me insane because anything outside of Boston they thought was Kanas. They pretended that they were in Westfield MA, near my hometown, and it was flat farmland for as far as the eye can see and Westfield has grocery stores, Walmart, strip malls, Starbucks, parks, rivers and mountains.

    • jestsaying says:

      Hey when you’re willing to front the money for production, you can complain about such inaccuracies. TV shows film where it’s affordable and convenient and try to do their best to look repetitive. If the location inaccuracy is what pushes you to not watch this or any other show, i suggest you read a book or watch documentaries instead.

  7. Britican says:

    The promo picture makes it look very CW-esque, which put me off (for reasons of sentimentality and obsession with women who all look the same), but the trailer shows SO MUCH potential. Love the horsemen of the apocalypse angle!

  8. Sara says:

    I’m a sucker for this type of show/movie….so I’m definitely going to check it out.

  9. JT says:

    Love the story of Sleepy Hollow so I will definitely check it out.

  10. sum says:

    How is this going to work as a show? I don’t understand how the premiss would carry on into future seasons. As soon as the headless horseman schtick is up, there isn’t much else to it.

  11. liz says:

    Love that the main female lead is a woman of colour. Awesome!
    .
    The super hyped-up patriotism might turn off international viewers, but that same theme will really appeal to Americans probably lol.

  12. Leondre says:

    I think I will watch this.

  13. Jane says:

    There is nothing else on at this time period that I am interested in watching so I’m glad there is something new I can try.

  14. JeffDJ says:

    I was initially skeptical about this show, but that trailer has changed my tune! Looking forward to checking this series out. (And count me among those who liked “New Amsterdam” as well).

  15. JC says:

    I’m still betting on this to be first drama cancellation of the season. It just seems like that kind of show just going off the trailer. I just don’t think a lot of people are going to buy into the “nutty mythology” business. Look how Zero Hour did. It’s not that I’ve got it in for the show, and I was intrigued by the fish-out-of-water aspect. But I honestly think the weird mythology angle will kill whatever chance it might have had otherwise.

  16. sladewilson says:

    I’m going to check this out esp. because Orlando Jones is slept on as a serious actor. He’s crazy talented. The promo rocked….

  17. Sheldon W. says:

    This will be my go to show in the timeslot. I thought the pilot was terrific – I didn’t mind the mythology building in the last third of the pilot at all.

  18. alan moore says:

    Hey TVLine, is there going to be a show this fall that you DON’T recommend?

  19. Ram510 says:

    Olay first I thought I wanted to watch this, which is weird for me cause I don’t care for most of Fox shows, but now I’m not so sure. That promo picture isn’t doing it any favors, look cheap, like a bad CW show. I think I still check it out I just don’t have as much enthusiasm for it now like I did in may

  20. DavidSask says:

    If reality shows went to die finally, the craze has to end at some point, this show would have a shot to live!

  21. ABC says:

    I’m intrigued by the premise, but the trailer suggested that the show might have some tone issues. I didn’t laugh or smile once (even at the Starbucks joke). I feel like this type of show has to be able to poke a little fun at itself. I will definitely give it a shot though.

  22. meatwad says:

    i’m definitely interested

  23. Floyd says:

    I’m from North Tarrytown (Sleepy Hollow) I’ll give it a try….even if Ichabod the school teacher is now an assassin!

  24. Lonnie says:

    I give it a season maybe if they campaign enough it will get 2 seasons… 2 thumbs down

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  26. Cool Beans says:

    Ichabod Crane is not English. Why do they ahve an English actor?

  27. JK says:

    144,000 is a reference to the book of revelation i think.

  28. Seth Owen says:

    I think the 144,000 does double duty. It’s an obvious biblical reference but it also (along with other departures from History) establishes that the show is not in our timeline. It reminds me of the Star Trek reboot which plays off the previous ‘reality ‘ with new twists.

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