New show: Sleepy Hollow
Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox
Fox's new drama "Sleepy Hollow" is a witch's brew of nearly every TV genre you can conjure: shoot-em up action, historical thriller, suspense, horror, comedy, mythology, fantasy, cop drama, vampire lore and yes, even some witches.
The premise has Ichabod Crane, the nervous school teacher from the Washington Irving tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," suddenly crawling from his grave into present day Sleepy Hollow, in the Hudson Valley area of New York. Crane barely has time to question how this happened before he discovers that a man he beheaded during the Revolutionary War has also followed him back to present-day Sleepy Hollow -- on a red-eyed horse, no less.
The aforementioned Headless Horseman sets about beheading seemingly random people in Sleepy Hollow, and the local police -- and FBI -- are soon on the case. Except, naturally, they believe Crane is insane and won't listen to his explanation of what's going on. Oh yes, and the apparently invincible Headless Horseman has added to his fiery broadaxe an arsenal of automatic weapons that give him more firepower than the local cops.
The creators of "Sleepy Hollow" try to elevate this beyond a series about a run-of-the-mill murder spree by raising the stakes to put all of mankind in danger. You know, the end of the world and all that.
But there's nothing particularly fresh about the concept of bringing fictional -- or nonfictional -- characters from history into present day (ABC's "Once Upon a Time" uses a different device -- having the old characters appear in present day, but as modern versions of themselves), nor about having characters try to stop a looming apocalyptic showdown.
British actor Tom Mison plays Crane as a much more confident and capable (not to mention dashing) foe to the Horseman than we remember from Irving's story. Nicole Beharie is Abbie, the local cop with a crazy backstory herself (also -- a week away from a job at Quantico) who decides to work with Crane to stop the Horseman. And Orlando Jones is the stubborn FBI agent who has come to town to take over the case and obstruct the work of Abbie and Crane -- all very by the numbers.
Of particular interest to locals, however, is the fact that "Sleepy Hollow" is filmed entirely in North Carolina. The pilot episode was filmed around Salisbury, Gastonia and Lincolnton. The rest of the series is being filmed around Southport and Wilmington.
In the end, despite nice cinematography and a few well-timed chuckles, "Sleepy Hollow" will likely become its own worst enemy, done in by trying to do too much.