Sleepy Hollow: Tall, dark and British

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Yes, Mr Crane, that building is also a Starbucks, and no, there is no law that requires a Starbucks be built on every block.

Sleepy Hollow is a “retelling” of Washington Irving’s ‘Legend of the Sleepy Hollow.’ It stars English actor Tom Mison (TV’s “Lost in Austen,” 2008) as Ichabod Crane, Nicole Beharie (“Shame,” 2011) as Lt Abbie Mills, Orlando Jones (TV’s “MADtv,” 1995-1997) as Captain Frank Irving, and Katia Winter (TV’s “Dexter”) as Katrina Crane, Ichabod’s wife. It is quite different from the 1999 Tim Burton movie, Sleepy Hollow which starred Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman, and Christina Ricci as Katrina Van Tussel.  Below is the teaser for the pilot episode of Sleepy Hollow.

In the original short story by Washington Irving, Ichabod Crane was a superstitious, gangly, unattractive schoolteacher, who wanted to marry Katrina Van Tassel so he could acquire the vast wealth of her father, who was a Dutch farmer; after attending a party where he intended to propose to Katrina but was turned down, he headed home, was pursued by the Headless Horseman, and was never seen again.

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In this retelling of The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod retains his position as a teacher, but in Oxford as a professor, who was enlisted in the British Army and fought in the American Revolutionary War. He defected to the Continental Army, and climbed and reached the rank of captain, worked under General George Washington, and died in the midst of the Revolutionary War while on a mission for him.

Which brings us to present day Sleepy Hollow, where Ichabod Crane rises from his grave, arriving in 21st century America just after the Headless Horseman. He meets Lt Abbie Mills after the Headless Horseman beheads Sheriff August Corbin, played by Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption,” 1994), Abbie’s mentor and partner, and the town priest. The Horseman’s killing spree causes Crane and Abbie to team up to stop him.

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Though relatively unknown before Sleepy Hollow, both Mison and Beharie are very, very good, and I think they have a very good chemistry together. I’d also love to see them grow and develop through the season. Especially their trust and faith in each other, because that proved to save their asses a lot of times through the episodes. I’d love to ship them, but Crane’s obviously still very much in love with Katrina, his wife, and I don’t think Abbie’s available for anything other than trying to get that Headless Horseman. Orandlo Jones is hilarious even outside of MADtv. His humor is usually dry, and his lines are said as flatly as they could be said which makes it even more funny.

I think that one of the things I like about Sleepy Hollow, without giving anything away that is, is that it’s as scary as the short story by Washington Irving. It’s creepy and mysterious, and a bit unnerving at times. It is unlike Tim Burton’s version, which took so many liberties with the characters. In Burton’s version, Crane is not a schoolteacher but a police constable sent from New York to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the recent murders on local landowners by the Headless Horseman. I think I prefer Professor/Captain Crane to Constable Crane, thank you. And another thing is that they’ve somehow related it to the Book of Revelations, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Guess which horseman the Headless Horseman is. Yep, the Headless Horseman is the Horseman of Death, and there are three more where he came from.

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What amuses me most is Crane marvelling over modern day living. I could watch him try to figure out why there are two Starbucks cafes in one street less than a hundred metres apart, or try to tear a razor out from its plastic casing for hours. Or find out who allowed women to wear pants. That last one seemed like heresy to him.

I really enjoyed the first episode of this series and it made me want to see the rest of it. Not just because Ichabod Crane is tall, dark and British, with an accent to die for, no, but also to see what kind of darkness and evil the Headless Horseman, whoever he must be serving, is going to spread next. There’s also the cliché, or trope of Germans being the antagonists. I found that hilarious, if somewhat disturbing after seeing what they were capable of.

According to IMDB, there are only nine episodes in the first season of Sleepy Hollow, but fear not, they have been renewed for a second season which is to air in 2014. And I am really, really, really excited to see more of Icha—Sleepy Hollow.

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