If there’s one legend that everyone knows (and secret loves), it’s that of the Headless Horseman. And now, FOX is cashing in on its popularity by bringing Sleepy Hollow to primetime TV. But make no mistake, this isn’t the same story you grew up hearing on a camping trip.
Sleepy Hollow is the modern twist on Washington Irving’s classic, following a resurrected Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) as he tries to navigate the village of Sleepy Hollow 250 years after his death and unravel a mystery dating back to the founding fathers. Enter the Headless Horseman, who has been brought back alongside Crane to wreak havoc and also bring about the beginning of the apocalypse. With help from Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie, 42), Crane begins to deal with the large amount of chaos on his plate, and it doesn’t all end with one rider who has lost his head.
Sound interesting? It did to 10.1 million viewers who tuned in to watch its premiere Monday night. But if you need a little more convincing, here are five reasons you should be watching Sleepy Hollow.
Fair warning, spoilers for the pilot episode are ahead!
The Headless Horseman has gone Terminator
As if the surprisingly accurate, axe-wielding villain wasn’t enough, the Headless Horseman has discovered that he can get down to his murderous ways with more of a long-range approach. That’s right. Good old Headless has discovered firearms. Specifically, assault rifles that he uses to try and gun down Crane in slow motion. You want modern? Sleepy Hollowgives you modern, in all of its ridiculous glory. But what’s even better is that he’s a fantastic villain for this campy, buddy-cop-with-a-supernatural-twist show. Headless literally has a super-heated axe that cauterizes neck wounds (because he’s obviously not into being messy), and he also enjoys hiding behind high-backed armchairs in dark apartments that he breaks into just to jump out a scare the life out of poor, not-so-innocent cops. If he had a head, you know he’d be laughing.
Modern marvels + previously dead guy + 250-year time difference = pretty darn funny
Crane may be many things, but he is not “hip to the times.” From an entire conversation based on slavery that should not be funny but somehow is, to his first experience with a flashlight and Starbucks, his complete befuddlement of the way 2013 operates is enough to garner a few chuckles. It’s the kind of situation that has to be addressed in a show like Sleepy Hollow, so why not exploit it to its full, corny potential?
Good Witch vs. Bad Witch vs. Telekinetic Priest?
In FOX’s retelling of the legend, the Horseman isn’t just a soldier who’s a little upset that Crane cut off his head during the Revolutionary War. Instead, he’s actually Death, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and this very large piece of a long-fought war between two covens. One wants to end the world, the other wants to save it. And in the middle of this witchy battle is an immortal priest (or well, maybe only kind of immortal, since he doesn’t make it past the first episode) given the task of playing keep away with Headless for his head and who can also fling chains out of mid-air. Are you getting all this?
Mirror, mirror on th-what is that?!
Mirrors have always been a huge factor in television shows and movies that try and play up the horror factor. So it makes sense that Sleepy Hollow would also follow that tradition. But when the creepy demon-who-may-or-may-not-be-Satan somehow manages to travel through a mirror into the jail cell of the previously mentioned not-so-innocent cop and deliver an uppercut so powerful that his head flops backwards…well, things get a little chilling. Especially when poor old Abbie and Crane see him lumbering back to his home in the four white trees through the same mirror and he then throws a temper tantrum, sprinting back and splintering the reflective surfacing in an act of rage. I know I didn’t want to look in a mirror for the rest of the day.
You really enjoy “Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Even though Sleepy Hollow is full of lore that goes so far beyond Irving’s original tale, there’s still a good amount of the time-honored tradition of beheading. So if you’re afraid that the show will make Headless fall too far away from his original spine-tingling roots, don’t be. I’m sure the assault rifles won’t be used that often. And if you have a sometimes dark sense of humor like I do, you might actually find the humor in mentally playing “Heads Will Roll” throughout the entire episode.