A mainstream genre TV show, where half of the main cast are people of color? With an African American woman playing a badass cop who snarks and faces demons, and a police force where the white guy dies first and everyone else is majority non-white-male? Let’s hope it’s good, because I really want this to be a successful thing.
The first episode of Sleepy Hollow aired last week, and my feelings were excited but mixed. Although the show had a lot of potential, the pacing of the pilot seemed kind of sloppy, and I wasn’t sure if the main conceit (the headless horseman is one of the horsemen of the apocalypse and they must stop him) was going to work.
The second episode was much improved. It’s still kind of cheesily put together (although maybe I just have a vendetta against prophetic dream sequences), and its historical inaccuracies may frustrate some people, but it’s just tremendous fun. There’s some stuff going on with witches and demons and people-who-should-be-dead-but-aren’t, but really, the whole “plot” thing just seems like window dressing right now. Ichabod Crane “died” in the revolutionary war and woke up in 2013, and only Abbie Mills, a local cop who was about to leave Sleepy Hollow to train for the FBI, believes him about his identity, or his tales of headless horsemen and witches in the woods. Cue lots of ranting about modern day taxes, confusion over light switches, and surprise at the deliciousness of donut holes, all said in Tom Mison’s gorgeous voice, while Abbie rolls her eyes and snarks and assists when she can. The chemistry between the two leads (platonic? romantic? who cares!) is so much fun to watch. They banter, they bicker, they work together and help one another out; I would happily sit through a show of them just navigating modern life, their interactions are so enjoyable. A fish-out-of-water sitcom, with some scares and apocalypses thrown in.
I’ve seen Abby compared to Joan Watson from Elementary a few times. She is, after all, a woman of color who is partner to a somewhat unusual British man and solves mysteries of a brutal or strange nature. Although the characters are very different in terms of background, people who are fans of Joan will find a lot to love in Abby as well. She’s a no-nonsense kind of woman, not willing to take any crap from Ichabod, certainly not afraid to take charge or take risks, but also open minded and caring and played with both humor and depth.
As for the plot side of things, it seems too soon to say how good it will be. I’m probably not the best judge of the quality of the “horror” part of the series, since I never watch horror movies and am inevitably terrified by the mildest of scares whenever I do. But I can say that the show didn’t give me nightmares, despite watching it immediately before bed, yet did give me at least one serious jump-out-of-your-skin-and-scream moment. It’s dark and creepy, kind of silly and campy at times, but with some actual scares and an unspeaking monster who manages to freak me out every time he appears.
The first two episodes are available on the FOX website, so if you’re looking for a good new genre show to watch this season, I recommend you check it out!