Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pilot Review: Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
Premiered September 16 at 9pm

This fall’s first broadcast network pilot has been one of the most visibly-advertised shows, at least in New York City. It starts from the same point that many other shows do, with an age-old premise and an unknown British actor in the lead. This series in particular follows in the recent footsteps of other shows like “Grimm” and “Supernatural,” which follow a hero fighting demonic forces on a weekly basis. On this show, the enemy is literally death, one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. The concept is actually decently creative, though it’s hard to deny that the image of the headless horseman is tough to take seriously. I also can’t quite understand why our heroes thought it wise to dig up the secret skull so that the horseman could come close to getting his hands on it before being scared away by a tiny bit of light peeking out from behind a building. The show isn’t firmly grounded in logic, both physically speaking and organizationally, since Abbie had no trouble walking into the psych ward and taking Ichabod with her just because she said so. I do think that Nicole Beharie is a relatively strong lead. Her debut in “American Violet” was decent, and her small role in “Shame” was memorable. This part doesn’t demand much, but she and actor Tom Mison work together well as a ragtag duo. I can’t comprehend the casting of Orlando Jones or John Cho in these serious roles, however. This show doesn’t particularly interest me, but the pilot was considerably better than I had expected it to be.

How will it work as a series? I see it turning into a supernatural procedural, with Ichabod and Abbie uncovering a new secret about Sleepy Hollow each week while the threat of the world ending hangs over them. It should actually work pretty well, for those who are interested in watching a light action-horror series.
How long will it last? It turns out this might be just the kind of show that the FOX network is looking for, considering it was the channel’s highest-rated series premiere in seven years. Though there have been many false starts recently with shows that didn’t even make it to a second season, I think that this is what FOX will want to endorse, and airing it behind “Bones” should work wonders. Expect a second season pickup in the near future.

Pilot grade: B-

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