Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: Sleepy Hollow on Fox

I've decided to dedicated more time to writing. To achieve this, I had vowed NO NEW TELEVISION SHOWS. In fact, I've deleted some long-standing programs from the record feature on my DVR.
When I read a summary of Sleepy Hollow on Fox, I decided to make an exception. Obviously, I'm a big fan of anything paranormal, historical, and just plain weird. The show sounded as if it would meet all three criteria. It did … and it didn't. Here's why:
·     Set in 1781, Sleepy Hollow opens strong. There's lots of action and the battle scene was apparently filmed with that new technique that makes the audience feel as if they are in the middle of action*.

Actually, I thought the story opened too fast. I wanted a moment to connect with Ichabod Crane before he's killed. Maybe that would have made me care more when he's mysteriously resurrected later.

·     Next, we move into modern day and the Headless Horseman is searching for his head. He confronts a mysterious priest who says: "I'll never tell you where it is. I'm prepared to die."

Headless accommodates the priest's wishes and cuts off his head. Then, we switch to the priest's point-of-view as his head slowly tumbles to the ground and we watch the Headless Horseman walk away. It was meant to be dramatic, but it turned out to be melodramatic. I had to pause the show for several minutes because I was laughing so hard.

·     Wiping away my tears of mirth, I pressed on. Next, Ichabod finds his wife's grave. According to the tombstone, she died in 1782. However, the tombstone looks as new as if it had been erected that same day. It's a small gripe, but if the set director had taken the extra effort to make the headstone appear aged, it would have done much to help a show that wants to be dark and serious, but is more of a silly comedy.  

·     Jumping forward a bit in the story (by this point, I was only paying half attention) Ichabod and his cop friend, Abby, open Ichabod's wife's grave to recover the Headless Horseman's head. (Long story. Apparently wifey isn't dead, but is possibly trapped in a dreamworld.) When Ichabod finds the head, the tarp that covers it looks brand new and clean (not a spot of dirt on it after being buried for 231 years). I guess the same magical powers that put her in dreamland and preserved her tombstone also kept the tarp in mint condition.

·     Up to this point, Headless Horseman has been a real bad ass. He's chopping off heads left-and-right with his trusty ax. I kinda like Headless. He's a man with a goal. I respect that.

Then, toward the end of the episode, Headless puts his ax away, picks up an automatic weapon, and starts blasting everyone with bullets. I couldn't stop laughing. It was so silly. It also made me wonder why he even needed a head so badly. He can walk/chop/slice/dice/shoot and never misses despite his lack of a noggin.

By the end of the show, Headless has everyone beat. He's going to win. Then, a single ray of sunlight strikes his neck area and we see a whiff of white smoke. The next thing we know, Headless is on his horse and rides away. Hell, if that's all it takes, just stay out of his way after dark.

·     The episode concludes with Ichabod revealing to Abby that they are the two witnesses foretold in Revelations to endure a seven-year battle against the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I giggled. The show's producers had given themselves a goal for how long they wanted to stay on the air. Good for them.

Overall, Sleepy Hollow accomplished being a paranormal story (even if a bit inconsistent one). It sucked from a historical viewpoint (but, again, that's my pet peeve). And was less weird than unintentionally comedic.

Whether the series will last seven years, or seven episodes is up to the viewers. I, for one, will not be tuning in. I can use that hour to write my own scary, historical, and weird stories.  

*It's not 3D [no special glasses are required] but still feels more like being inside the TV than just watching a flat screen. I don't know how it's done, or the name of the special effect, but I have noticed more history programs using it.

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