Fall TV Preview

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.

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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)

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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).

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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.