No, this is not a review of the Johnny Depp Christina Ricci Sleep Hollow, this is a review of the new television show that was debuted on Fox last night. To be honest with you, I was very curious how the story of this would play out. I know it’s the age old story of Ichibod Crane, but how would he fare in a new world?
In the opening scenes we see Ichibod in the middle of battle with the red coats; cannons bursting, muskets blasting, and bodies every where. The Ichibod Crane that everyone is used to is a lanky, pale, scared man child, but not this time. He’s not a brooding hearthrob, but he’s brave, and is portrayed as a spy rather than a studious doctor. Immediately in this first scene we wittness the beheading of the soon to be Headless Horseman by Mr. Crane. Even though Ichibod ended the Horseman’s life he was fatally wounded causing for an interesting reason as to why he is brought to present day. I loved the opening scene, it was almost like watching a movie. I don’t want to talk too much about what happened though. Ultimately I want talk about the show and it’s story line. It’s only the first episode I know, but you deserve to know if it’s worth your DVR space right?
I’m going to break this down by strengths and weaknesses.
* It has a really nice mix of horror and witty comedy. Obviously it was put in place to help offset the gore and horror that is definitely going to be happening through out the season, but it’s refreshing. It kind of reminds me of Sherlock, maybe because the guy is British. Some of the comedy though is at the expense of Ichibod Crane experiencing a new world and it’s pretty funny. Much like the Johny Depp movie, he is the comedic relief and I’m okay with that.
* It actually had some pretty scary moments. If it didn’t, the pilot would be a complete bomb. You can’t have The Headless Horsemen without horror. The good thing about these moments is that it wasn’t too scary. It was a just right. Think American Horror Story but blunted.
* How he is in present day is pretty cool. In the battle scene in the beginning of the episode we see Ichibod is fatally struck by the blade of the Horseman across the chess, but before he falls to the ground he decapitates the Horseman with his saber. They both fall to the ground side by side and their blood pools together. Since the Horseman is not actually a human, but an other worldly devil, their blood intertwine’s and two become one. (Who’s thinking of that Spice Girls song now? Dammit) Essentially, if the Horseman ever comes back to life, so does Ichibod.
* The acting was solid. This should be a given if a TV network is trying to launch a big time crowd drawer, but I thought it’s worth mentioning.
* The filming is movie worthy at some points. I really liked some of the angles and lighting that is used for this. Think Sleepy Hollow movie meets CSI. At some point the fog that was rolling through the scene would be lit up by orange florescent lights that made it look like fire. You got the feeling that Sleepy Hollow was actually in Hell. So that was cool.
* Costumes and Special effects were awesome. When the Horseman wasn’t so headless, he had a very edgy look to him. Even though it was colonial times at this point, he wore a mask that reminded me of something a Slipknot member would wear. Blood splatter didn’t seem fake, and the devil beast that is in the end was CREEPY. Yes there is a goat horned creature that doesn’t have a face and moves like a skipping DVD. It was probably the scariest thing in the show.
On to weaknesses
* How long can this really last? I honestly question how far they can take the show. They’ve tied the story with the End of Days in the bible, but even with trying to do that I feel like it is going to be a more of a commodity then a long term standing show. Grant it, this was only the pilot, but I feel like this could go only about 1 season. While I enjoyed the first scene, I didn’t feel like a long story line was a head. It felt like once the Horseman is gone this will be over. Ultimately that is what the audience is going to want, and I don’t think that will be a 4 season journey. Now they have a lot of other elements going with this like conspiracy of cults, end of days, and the love story between Ichibod and his ghostly wife, but ultimately this is either going to be way too much for viewers to enjoy, or feel very stale. We’ll have to wait and see.
* It’s got some velveeta on it. It terms of character development, I tend to be a purist. I like the Headless Horseman riding around with a firery jack-o-lantern as his head, and I thought this interpretation is pretty cool actually, but when he starts strapping on fully automatic weapons and belts of ammunition you start to lose me. I mean really? This guy has been in the ground for 250 years and suddenly he is fully grasps how to operate a M4?! I thought that part of the show was completely cheesy, and ultimately a ploy to try and up the coolness of him. Until that point, I thought his fiery broad ax was bad ass enough. I think it was unnecessary.
* It’s not edgy enough. While I listed it being a nice mix of comedy and horror, at the same time I don’t know if it has the edge factor that a lot of shows have. It feels like they are trying for that Hannibal type of show, but are falling a little short. Some of you are not going to agree with this, but I feel like they could be one more step out there. They did okay, but could be more.
Over All: I think this show would work better as a movie. It was a decent pilot, but I’m not sold. I’m going to give this show about 4 episodes to get me hooked. If it doesn’t, I bet this lasts about 3 seasons tops. I’m not the end all, but I like to pretend I am.