As a rule, when filmmakers/television makers decide to throw every silly idea that enters their noggins on the screen absolute crap results. But every rule has an exception and the exception to this one is Fox's Sleepy Hollow:
Tom Mison plays Ichabod Crane, the type of plummy, deferentially charming Brit who exists solely in the imaginations of swooning Americans. Crane is an Oxford professor turned spy in the American war of independence, and the 1781-set prologue sees Crane facing Death – both conceptual and corporeal – on the battlefield, where he manages to decapitate the Horseman before succumbing to wounds sustained during their dust-up. Crane then awakens in Sleepy Hollow in 2013, as does Death, albeit with a severely impaired ability to wear interesting hats. The Horseman promptly takes an axe to Sleepy Hollow’s sheriff, bringing his murderous, bonce-less antics to the attention of Lieutenant Abbie Mills. Mills (Nicole Beharie, one of the depressingly few black female lead actors in American TV) forms an unlikely alliance with Crane, and the two battle the Horseman’s plans to resurrect his three Apocalyptic Horsemates and bring about the End of Days. Crane and the Horseman’s fates are entwined, you see, for daft and largely irrelevant reasons that gradually unspooled over the show’s riotously entertaining first season.
It’s a hard sell. But Sleepy Hollow is brilliant.
For those of us who are up-to-date and are feverishly awaiting the season two premiere[*], Crane is still buried alive, his son is the second Horseman of the Apocalypse, Abbie is trapped in a doll house in purgatory, and it’s all looking grim.
And for anyone who hasn’t been watching, I appreciate that must look like a very stupid sentence indeed.
"Brilliant" is too strong a word, I think, but I can't recall a show that is so thoroughly entertaining without any pretensions at being more than it is. And as for historical accuracy, who knew that Benjamin Franklin built a Frankenstein's Monster with which he hoped to battle Moloch the Destroyer?
So it's educational, too!
*For us Americans, the fourth episode of the season aired this past Monday.