Sleepy Hollow, Season 1 (2013)

 
Reviewer: Charity Bishop
 

What if one day you awoke in a cave three hundred years after you died? This is the plight of Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), a man from the past. His last memory is of fighting a Hessian horseman and his death blow came just seconds before his own injury claimed his life. Or so he thought. Now, Ichabod must contend with the modern world in the knowledge that he's awoken for a specific purpose.

  

The Hessian Horseman has also arisen from his grave to stalk the living and free the other horsemen of the apocalypse. Only Ichabod and a sassy police detective called Abby Mills (Nicole Beharie) stand in his way. They alone can defeat the legion of demons, witches, seers, and other dark forces determined to wreak havoc in the world before the end of days. Along the way, Ichabod unravels the mystery surrounding his reawakening, which leads him to unexpected discoveries about the American Revolution and his wife, Katrina (Katia Winter). Abby must face her own past and a secret that has alienated her from her sister Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) for over a decade.

 

Speculative fiction is more popular than ever and this show is an unique, at times bizarre, blend of history, fantasy, folklore, and magic. It throws obscure and better-known facts into a blender, adds a dash of spiritualism and a heavy helping of Biblical imagery, and spits out an entertaining thirteen episodes that are nothing if not memorable. That isn't to say it doesn't have its flaws, but the characters are wonderful and seeing Ichabod familiarize himself with the modern world is priceless. He complains about everything from the price of donut centers to the easy access the modern age has to "indecent content." He's a Revolutionary gentleman who refuses to step out of his customary attire, paired with a smart go-getter of a detective, each week solving a far out situation of some kind -- either marauding ancient witches or lost colonies.

 

It plays fast and loose with scripture, often blending it with Pagan mythology. Ichabod later learns that a coven of witches is responsible for his fate and their magic influences the second half of the season, with subsequent reappearances and further exploration of their magic. Possessed houses, sin eaters, demons, sleep monsters, zombies and all kinds of evil things that go bump in the night appear. It pays homage to Faust in its leading villain and his dreamworld of tortures. It approaches known events and puts a twist on them that historians may nor may not appreciate -- taking a few pokes at the founders along the way (mostly in throw-away lines). A dig is taken at the Second Amendment and goes unchallenged. The first half of the season is solid. It loses its footing a bit in the second half, but recovers for a decent finale that establishes a whole new set of possibilities for season two. It isn't a masterpiece but it's different from the norm.

   

  

Sexual Content:

Ichabod accidentally accesses a porn site on a laptop (not shown) and hastily shuts it off.
  
  

Language:

Occasional mild profanities and abuses of God's name.

  

Violence:

Frequent and grotesque scenes of heads being sliced off, stabbings, and shootings.

    

Other:

Witchcraft plays a primary role in many of the episodes.

 

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