Wake up! Sleepy Hollow is one fun ride

The headless critic

It’s that time of year again at the TV Feeds My Family house–time for all the packages of promotional items from the networks to pile up at my door.
Every day brings more trucks to Brampton, delivering all manner of ballyhoo.
One of the most memorable arrived last week–a Headless Horseman zip-up costume hoodie sent by Fox to promote Sleepy Hollow. The hour-long fantasy-drama premieres Monday night at 9 p.m. on Fox and Global.
Executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci had nothing to do with the hoodie, but they have fashioned an original, well-crafted TV show. “It was our goal to create a series that is a rich blend of fantasy, action, romance, history, mythology and, perhaps most importantly, fun,” the producers state in the letter that came with the goofy garment.
Have to say they surprised me by how well they seem to have succeeded in that aim. Sleepy Hollow is one of the most enjoyable new shows this fall.

Sleepy Hollow star Beharie and Mison

Based on the 1820 “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” novel by Washington Irving, the pilot shows that Kurtzman and Orci, two former Fringe and Star Trek writers, were serious about the “fun” part. Ichabod Crane (UK actor Tom Mison, one of the new season’s breakout stars) jumps ahead in time from 1790–when he was fighting for George Washington–to 2013. Thanks to supernatural forces, which are partially explained later, he finds himself in the modern day Colonial town of Sleepy Hollow. (The series is actually shot in Wilmington, North Carolina, where Under the Dome is produced.)
The bad news is that the guy chasing him back then–the creepy Headless Horseman–is still after him now.
Crane is naturally a tad freaked out by modern times–shades of the late ’60s Monte Markham series The Second Hundred Years–but soon goes with it. (A little too fast, as Tim Goodman points out in his nonetheless positive review of this series.) He’s paired with the town’s new sheriff, Abbie Mills, played by newcomer Nichole Beharie. A Black, female lieutenant? “You have been emancipated, I take,” he tells the sheriff, who figures this odd Brit in period costume is just some kook.
The two eventually team up, and, aided by Mills’ boss (Orlando Jones), try to corral the headless horseman.
I know–it sounds like I’ve lost my head! But trust me–the pilot zips along, the effects are first rate and if you can buy the premise and suspend logic you’ll enjoy the ride. Giddyap!
Sleepy Hollow premieres tonight at 9 p.m. after “The Secret’s in the Proposal,” the ninth season premiere of Bones (8 p.m., Fox and Global).

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