Pilot Roundtable: Sleepy Hollow

A new television season is upon us, and with that comes a whole slew of new comedies and dramas to pick apart, complain about, and even sometimes celebrate! But which ones are worth watching? Our Pilot Roundtable series is designed to help you answer that question for yourself! Up first, we’ve got…

Sleepy Hollow

Senior Editor Kyle Trembley (@KyleLovesTV)
What a way to kick off pilot season! Look, ‘Sleepy Hollow’ is incredibly stupid, completely ludicrous, and 100% bonkers. The show itself is clearly aware of this to some degree, and decided to lean into the crazy rather than attempt to pass itself off as a more vanilla police procedural.

And you know what? It worked! Because “crazy” is not what makes a network crime procedural unwatchable; “boring” is. Say all you want about ‘Sleepy Hollow’, but it is certainly not boring. The storytelling of the pilot was convoluted at best, I feel like I understand maybe 35% of the premise, and the performances are enjoyably hammy across the board. Conversely, the pilot featured the headless horseman riding around on a horse in the 21st century, wielding both an assault rifle and a shotgun and generally terrorizing a small town before sunrise (because he’s like a vampire, you see). It featured an extended Revolutionary War flashback, a dream sequence, and a whopping five decapitations.  It featured an EXTENDED Starbucks joke. So yeah, I’m going keep having a blast watching ‘Sleepy Hollow’ from here on out, thank you very much.
Verdict: Thumbs Up

Staff Writer Ricky Diaz (@rickyjdiaz)
A paragraph? Really, one paragraph is all I get to say what I need to say about Sleepy Hollow?! Damn. Let me predicate this with saying, I watched Zero Hour last year and loved it, why? Because it was absolutely bat-shit crazy. I wasn’t going to watch this show, I didn’t think it had legs, but after the first episode I am IN, so IN. It’s your basic buddy cop, time travelling, witches, battle-with-devil mix of a show. It has seemingly everything, fights, theology, odd couple leads AND Guns. Seriously, I laughed like 5 times in the first 10 minutes, whether it was intentional by the writers or not is beside the point. Generally the pilots aren’t a great gage as to the rest of the season, but if the rest of the season is half as good I will enjoy it. Firstly let me say about the episode on the whole – this is a modern day retelling of the Sleepy Hollow story, which means means headless horseman WITH GUNS! Finally, it said near the end that there would be “seven years of tribulations” – which means that the writers plan to have this go on for at least 7 seasons!
Verdict: Thumbs (way) UP!

Staff Writer Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)
I’m still trying to figure out whether I was supposed to be watching a crime procedural, a comedy, or a supernatural drama. It would be really awesome to have that mix if it was intended, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.  Full disclosure: I was skeptical about Sleepy Hollow long before I watched it.  I mean, how do you take a classic short story and turn it into a tv series?  At some point, I saw some promos and thought it might actually be worth giving a chance, thinking “oh!  They’re moving it into the future and putting their own spin on it?  Cool!”  I’m sad to say that my initial skepticism was well-warranted.  It’s one thing to put a new spin on something; it’s totally different to save nothing of the source material but the names and then fill in the blanks with complete insanity.  The Headless Horseman had both his traditional axe AND some kind of military-grade weapon, which he wielded quite well despite being from a different millennium.  And that’s not even the worst of it.  Will I probably keep watching for the snark opportunity?  Yes.  Is this a great new show?  Absolutely not.
Verdict: Thumbs Down

Guest Contributor Bridget L. (@CoffeeByCaskett)
So the premise of Sleepy Hollow is that Ichabod Crane, along with the Headless Horseman, has traveled 250 years into the future to help a detective solve a series of murders by decapitation that are happening? Um ok sure, I’ll go with that Fox. For most of the premiere I found this action filled drama to be very fun and liked that it didn’t take itself too seriously. Plus who doesn’t like the fact that there were already no less than 3 decapitations in the first 10 minutes? The actor that plays Crane, Tom Mison, seems up to the task and has a good rapport with Nicole Beharie’s detective who seems to be the only one believing this time travel story. They make for an interesting crime solving duo and unconventional to say the least. On the flip side, actors Orlando Jones and John Cho play police officers not quite buying that Crane isn’t totally insane. We’ve often seen these guys in strictly comedic roles so I’m not sure I don’t see them soon realizing the comedic potential in this whole premise and reveling in the campiness of it all. I definitely think Sleepy Hollow will be entertaining enough to warrant a return visit and just hope they don’t try to keep it too serious.
Verdict: Thumbs Up

Associate Editor Blaire Knight-Graves (@BlaireLovesTV)
You’re going to get a few positive things from the Sleepy Hollow pilot: campy dialogue, fun and thrilling antics, and a series that is almost clever. But you’re also going to get a hefty helping of cray with a side of headless cray (I’m talking Nazi Clocks cray). I’m not sure whether I unabashedly loved or undeniably hated the pilot, but I can definitely say that I was both completely surprised and dutifully pissed off. After all, I am the local mythology nerd here at We Love TV More, and nothing bothers me more than a show that clearly hasn’t taken the time to even Google its source material (no—I’m not referring to the actual story of Sleepy Hollow, I’m referring to Christo-apocalyptic mythology from the Book of Revelations). Sleepy Hollow fits into the monster-of-the-week genre that I harbor such a love for that I will be buried with my The X-Files box set, but I’m worried that it’s all going to be flash, bang, scary with none of the heart.
Verdict: Thumbs Down, even though I may end up watching the whole damn series (all seven seasons, apparently).

Staff Writer Olivia Richards (@RichardsOlivia)
I was immediately intrigued by the premise of Sleepy Hollow and went into the pilot with mixed feelings. I hoped that the content of the show could support the interesting premise (I felt the same way about Under the Dome, and look how that turned out). Based on the premiere, I was most definitely not disappointed. This show is an absolute goldmine. In forty-two minutes, we covered witches, demons, time travel, and a potential apocalypse of Biblical proportions. Plus, there’s a hot British Ichabod Crane wondering around trying to figure out modern technology and no shortage of decapitation jokes. All in all, I’m giving Sleepy Hollow a big thumbs up.
Verdict: Thumbs Up

Managing Editor David Warren (@FunDavy)
Just because you own the rights to a classic tale, that doesn’t mean that you have to make a tv show out of it…    Watching the pilot, I was curious to see how the creators would handle the introduction and existence of a headless man, and my feedback to Fox is “try harder.”  We get  a thin backstory and local law enforcement that is ready to believe anything, and even moves on to practical issues like “can he hear us.”  There are fun shows where suspension of belief is a foregone conclusion (True Blood, GOT), but jumping right in with the 4 horsemen of  the apocalypse, with the potential end of the world looming, is a lot to swallow in the pilot episode.  This evil, headless fish-out-of-water premise is one part Grimm and one part Once Upon a Time, with just a hint of a bad Guns ‘N Roses video.   Whether intended or not, this series will likely be a one season (or less) television event.  Hopefully  it will at least stick around until Halloween.   Not necessarily sleepy, but definitely a little hollow.
Verdict: Thumbs Down

Staff Writer Caitlin Malone (@SpaceCaits)
Visually ‘Sleepy Hollow’ was on point. With its foggy days, stormy nights, and orange lit cemeteries it was everything that a show called ‘Sleepy Hollow’ should feel like. I’m excited to have a new ‘monster of the week’ show, but it looks like the devil is going to be the big bad, which is unfortunate for a couple of reasons. How do you top the devil? Going apocalyptic is a big order to fill. A couple of seasons ago ‘Supernatural’ tackled the apocalypse and the show still struggles to top itself. Ideally Sleepy Hollow will continue to just hint at the prospect of facing the devil  and hold off on that coming to fruition until a later season. Hopefully the show will be more inventive by creating its own lore while building off of the Sleepy Hollow tale that we already know. As far as pilots go, this one was entertaining and kept me interested enough to make me look forward to next week’s horror story along with the inevitable slew of 18th century-isms spouted by Ichabod.
Verdict: Thumbs Up


Our consensus: Watch ‘Sleepy Hollow’ if you are a fan of pretty pictures, intentional-unintentional comedy, and making jokes on Twitter. Otherwise, stay away – ESPECIALLY if you have any passion for the source material or care about making sense of the mythology.

Did the public watch? Yes!  Over 10 million viewers and a whopping 3.4 demo rating make ‘Sleepy Hollow’ one of FOX’s most successful premieres in years.

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1 comment

  1. I forgot to add this little tidbit in my rundown of the pilot

    – Sleepy Hollow is what live tweeting was created for…

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