I wasn't sure what to expect of Sleepy Hollow. It looked like it might be fun, but it also looked like it might be dumb, and Fox still doesn't have a very good history with letting quirky shows find their legs anymore. Also, I was concerned about the lifespan of a show based on a previously-done story that isn't that long, and I noticed that there's something else in its slot come midseason, which struck me as odd and like they didn't have much faith in it.
But watching it was a totally different matter. It's probably my favorite new show of the season (sorry SHIELD, you're a close second!). The adds didn't really tell us anything about the story, the characters, their personalities, or the many, many interactions that prop up the story. They didn't tell us that Crane was charming and clever and a little prissy and not as old-fashioned as would make him boring, or that he's trying his best to catch up to the world but still gets sideswiped by things in about the most adorable ways the modern world can sideswipe you. They didn't tell us that Abbie is conflicted between knowing there are strange things in the world and not wanting to believe them, that she's still young in her job, that she really cared about her boss and mentor and feels his loss every episode, that she's sassy and clever but not a stereotype. They didn't show how well the two of them interact and that the near-instant friendship between them feels natural and instinctive.
The adds also didn't say a single thing about how the Headless Horseman is one of the Four Horsemen, and that they're dealing with witches, demons, prophetic dreams, a hidden layer or six of history, a National Treasure-type conspiracy or secret society, or that the show is totally bonkers in the best way possible. It feels like Supernatural in the early seasons--just silly enough to be really fun, not really the real world but close enough for drama, lots of banter and good lines covering character flaws we're just starting to see. It feels like what Grimm wanted to be before it just sort of didn't go far enough. If Tumblr's instant reaction* is any judge, it's hit just the right chord.
The fact that Fox has already ordered a second, full season seems to indicate that it's exactly the chord they want.
Not-yet-four-episodes is probably too early to call it a total success. There's a lot of work that needs to be done to bring home the fact that Abbie's world has totally changed overnight, that it takes a lot of adjustment to deal with a partner from the past and a ghost mentor, not to mention a sister you've been thinking of as crazy for a decade who sort of hates you for it and has been preparing for the end of the world. We need a lot more to let us know that Crane is really feeling the loss of everything he knew and loved, and his semi-immortal ghost-witch wife is something other than a convenient plot device and a wedge to keep Crane and Abbie apart for a few seasons. We need piles and piles more backstory and worldbuilding, but there's ten more episodes for this season and a whole other season next year to build that up. So far, they've literally been running without stopping and there hasn't been time to process it, so that can be excused for a few more episodes. And what we have so far is a fun, exciting, sometimes really spooky show that is hugely entertaining to watch and really interesting to think about.
What about you? What did you think of these first few weeks of Sleepy Hollow?
*It was instant fandom. Within two weeks, there was a name for the fandom (Sleepy Heads), for the pairing of Crane and Abbie (Ichabbie), and a whole community had grown up as I watched!