San Diego Comic-Con has become a great venue to roll out TV pilots, so that the networks can build up excitement for their upcoming season. This year I caught the pilot of the new Fox show, Sleepy Hollow, that films in my home state of NC.
This Sleepy Hollow is different than other versions we have been subject to in the past. Ichabod Crane isn’t the jittery coward that we are accustomed to. Played by Tom Mison, this Ichabod has wit, an impressive intellect and doesn‘t shy away from a fight. The pilot begins in the past with flashbacks of Ichabod battling the Horseman, and actually causing him to become headless. However, the tale takes us into the present day, with Ichabod and the Headless Horseman, both being revived into the present day. While Ichabod comically tries to gain an understanding of his new future environment, the Headless Horseman continues his killing spree in the modern day. Ichabod ends up joining forces with police officer, Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) and her captain, Frank Irving (Orlando Jones). Yes, the captain’s last name is Irving, as a nod to Washington Irving who wrote the original “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
Judging from the pilot, the audience can look forward to a show that combines suspense, the supernatural and mystery as our heroes try to piece together the true identity and purpose of the Headless Horseman. With its secret societies and historical clues, it has a feel of National Treasure or The Davinci Code, with a touch of humor and magic. Flashbacks appear a number of times to help us fill in the blanks between Ichabod’s time and our own. Overall, the pilot was a very enjoyable ride. Familiar faces such as Clancy Brown and John Cho make appearances. Tom Mison does an excellent job of playing our out-of-his-element hero, combining a sense of urgency while injecting some comedy. Orlando Jones plays Captain Irving with a disciplined serious tone, and is always a pleasure to watch. The one somewhat weak link, at least in the pilot, is Nicole Beharie’s portrayal of Officer Mills. Her pilot performance didn’t seem to be up to par with the rest of the cast. I believe that she’ll find her groove and believability as we progress into the series and learn more about the character.
I would definitely suggest checking out Sleepy Hollow when it premieres on FOX. If the pilot is any indication, we can look forward to twists and turns, as well as an exciting adventure as we figure out exactly what is going on in Sleepy Hollow. Watch the series premiere of Sleepy Hollow on Monday night, September 16th at 9/8c on FOX.