Whether it can cement itself as the new Supernatural -a series that has enjoyed a long run and a strong fan base- remains to be seen. But it’s no American Horror Story, it’s far more mainstream than that.
This modern-day retelling of Washington Irving’s 1820 short story, brings the horror of the 1790s into 2013 (are you keeping up?).
It begins with Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) confronted by the Headless Horseman during a battle in the time of George Washington. Mysteriously, he awakens in the present-day Sleepy Hollow aka. mid-town USA. Naturally, Ichabod has no concept of cars, pistols, the local law enforcement or Starbucks.
But also travelling through time (it’s never quite clear how) is the Headless Horseman, wreaking havoc on a local farm and increasing the headless body count in this show.
Ichabod is arrested by the local force, suspicious he is a murderous assassin. Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) doesn’t believe his wild story about coming from the past, and he is hooked up to a lie detector. As he reveals more about his past it’s presumed Ichabod is in need of mental treatment.
Meanwhile there’s still a killer on the loose, riding around on a white horse and wielding an axe. There are stories of white trees signalling the impending arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
But Ichabod and Abbie begin to bond when Abbie uncovers grisly unsolved cases across the centuries at Sleepy Hollow. This place isn’t so sleepy after all.
Soon past and present unite to battle a common enemy: the bloke on the horse with the disproportionate period costume. Ichabod is also getting messages from his deceased wife Katrina (Katia Winter) in dreams and occasionally in mirrors for no apparent reason. There’s a little bit of humour in his very English manner, trying to come to grips with a modern American society, including an emancipated African American female police officer.
In its first outing Sleepy Hollow strikes a sensible, if somewhat predictable, balance of old and new, horror and procedural and awkward-buddy adventure. It doesn’t enjoy the theatrics of the Tim Burton film but the moments of horror are good fun -however much will rest on the chemistry of the two leads.
Sleepy Hollow looks like being a good replacement for Under the Dome, currently TEN’s most successful show, which has its season finale next week.
Check your head at the door and you should enjoy this one.
Sleepy Hollow airs 9:30pm Tuesday on TEN.