Pilot Reviews Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow 1×01 – Pilot

"First I shot him, then he rose back up; beheading him seemed like the next logical step."


There’s nothing I love more than a fresh pilot, and Sleepy Hollow is the first new drama of the season to premiere. But does FOX’s whacky fantasy thriller have enough potential to turn into one of the year’s breakout hits? The short answer — definitely.

It’s curious that it took this long for one of the big networks to scoop up the rich world of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. But Sleepy Hollow does exactly that: it takes a well-known premise, blends it with a 21st century twist, and douses it with a healthy dose of fun and mythology. Hollow is immediately confident in tone, introducing Crane and the Horseman right off the bat in a stunningly realized battle sequence (the cinematography is particularly excellent). It then jumps through time and transports the two iconic characters to present day Sleepy Hollow. To spoil any more would do a disservice to the show, as it burns through quite a bit of plot in the span of 40 minutes. This is a plot-heavy production, and while the exposition does come across as a bit heavy-handed, it does the job and lays enough tidbits for a promising debut season.

The real sense of Sleepy Hollow‘s fun stems from the unlikely partnership and amusing banter between Lieutenant Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane. Nicole Beharie plays the former, a cop with a tortured past (is there any other kind?), while Tom Mison imbues Crane with a hilariously snide persona. They’re both quite likeable as leads, and I’m curious to see how the show plans on taking their dynamic forward. Plus the fact that they’ve both been prophesized to save the world together adds an exciting layer to the proceedings.

It’s no secret that I hate procedurals, so I do hope Sleepy Hollow follows through on the expansive mythology it sets up in the pilot. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before: end-of-world prophecies, glimpses of a monstrous Big Bad, and some findings Abbie discovers about two witch covens and the inevitable battle between good and evil. Thankfully, Sleep Hollow doesn’t take itself too seriously (which would have made it a huge flop in my book). In fact, the show embraces the inherent wackiness of its insane premise. Kudos crew; that’s how you do it.

Headless Bits

– Len Wiseman (of Underworld fame) directed the pilot. Good to know that he can take a break from directing Kate Beckinsale every once in a while (yes that’s my jealousy talking).

– Well it sure didn’t take John Cho long to find work. He was one of the brights spots of (the sadly-cancelled) Go On.

– Lots of nice tidbits about Crane throughout the hour: he’s fascinated by Abbie’s position (being black AND a woman), and he’s captivated by car windows. Also, Starbucks! (see below).

– Did the horse’s red demon eyes make anybody else laugh? Okay, just me then.

– Well I sure didn’t expect the minister to have magical powers!

– So the Horseman is one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I don’t believe that was ever a part of the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow so that was a nice touch.

– Katerina is gorgeous isn’t she? Good news is, she’s trapped in another dimension so we’ll be seeing more of her soon hopefully.

– Say what you will but Sleepy Hollow isn’t afraid of killing off characters. Both the minister and Andy didn’t survive the pilot (and I was sure they would last the season). Take notes True Blood.

– I’m not a fan of Orlando Jones’ turn as Abbie’s captain Irving. It would do the writers good to give him something more to do besides question Abbie. Such characters tend to become grating quite fast.

– Super nifty death POV of the priest as the axe slices the camera and he crashes to the floor.

– Will we find out why Andy was on the Horseman’s side? Because his neck did get snapped and all.

– Things we learned this week: the Horseman’s blood is linked to Ichabod’s, and his weakness is the sun. Oh, and Abbie and Ichabod have his skull now (which is the key to bringing the other Horsemen).

– Abbie isn’t transferring to the FBI’s training program anymore; who didn’t see that coming?

Crane Quips

Detective: Would you admit to cutting off his head, yes or no?
Crane: No. First I shot him, then he rose back up. Beheading him seemed like the next logical step.

Abbie: Mr. Crane, I’m lieutenant Abbie Mills.
Crane: A female lieutenant? In whose army?
Abbie: You’re not gonna break character huh?
Crane: You’ve been emancipated I take it?
Abbie: Excuse me?
Crane: From enslavement?

Crane: That building used to be the stables.
Abbie: Well now it’s a Starbucks – where they make coffee.
Crane: That building is also a Starbucks!
Abbie: Yup.
Crane: Well how many are there?
Abbie: Per block?
Crane: Is there a law?

Abbie: So 250 years huh? Civil war didn’t wake you? Noisy neighbors to the south? Did you get up to pee? I don’t know about you but I’d be getting up to pee 75, 80 years.
Crane: Are you quite finished? Because Most of what you say is unintelligible gibberish to me. It’s like watching a chicken cluck. And when did it become acceptable for women to wear trousers?

Crane: As you know, I am insane and therefore impervious to simple commands.

Abbie: Keep walking. We have a minute before they’re on to us and they realize that court order is a practice sheet.

A slick and ambitious start from Sleepy Hollow. Let’s see if this spooky little creation can keep the momentum going. I’m definitely rooting for it.

Nad Rating


  1. I agree fully, I loved the first episode! I would rank it higher than a B+; it's the pilot, very rarely does one actually hook you. Loved the emancipated from enslavement moment =p

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