Other Show Reviews / Television

Sleepy Hollow Pilot Review

Sleepy Hollow

It’s just so ridiculous. I should have seen this coming. It sounded pretty absurd, but until I sat down and watched the pilot episode of Sleepy Hollow I really didn’t know just how far down the rabbit hole I was headed. Ultimately I think it all may be a bit too much for me.

Sleepy Hollow finds Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman awakened in modern times. Crane ends up being taken in by the police and it leads to some fun fish out of water moments as he copes (better than he ought to really) with the changes that the last 200+ years have brought. Meanwhile, the horseman is out and about and ends up lopping the head off the partner of lead character Detective Abbie Mills. From here, Crane and Mills end up spending a lot of time together trying to figure what all is going on. They seem like strong leads. I’d say their back and forth and budding partnership was the highlight of the first episode.

So everything seems alright so far. I’m apparently totally cool with the horseman riding around in present day with no head and his trusty axe taking out some of the residents of Sleepy Hollow. I was even okay with the fight he got in with the chain-swinging, somehow-also-still-alive-from-200-some-odd-years-ago priest. Yeah it was out there, but okay whatever… I’m still in. I might have even gotten behind the idea of the horseman wielding shotguns and machine guns as stupid as it seemed (though I prefer him as an axe-wielding badass personally… it seems stylistically cooler). But by that point it had sort of lost me. I think it was somewhere between the depiction of Crane and the horseman’s blood mingling on the battlefield and the reveal of the ancient coven of witches that were involved. Or maybe it was General Washington’s bible or the “real” stakes behind the Revolutionary War. I don’t know, but as it all started piling up, it went past the maximum level of ridiculousness I think I can tolerate.

Sleepy Hollow Pilot 3  Sleepy Hollow Pilot 2

It seems the people behind the show at least realize how silly all this is (unlike say The Following which takes itself way too seriously). And for that I can see why so many have said they enjoyed this for what it is: “big dumb fun” or some variant of that. They are eating up the ridiculousness of it all which I could see even if I don’t feel the same. Maybe with a slightly changed perspective I could enjoy it more going forward. It feels like with all the teases of demons and the police duo, we could be in for an X-Files or Supernatural-esque setup which might bear some tasty fruit. And it certainly was a good-looking, well-directed production which is a plus. For now though I’m reeling from the sheer audacity of it all. I’m going to give it a few more episodes to see if it grows on me or I can just get past how over the top it is, but I was hoping I’d like the pilot more than I did.

A few more things worth noting:

  • The way they showed a head falling off someone’s shoulders from the first-person perspective was pretty damn cool.
  • A Starbucks joke? Really? This was funny about ten years ago in a Lewis Black bit. I think it might be time to retire this gag now.
  • I think I rolled my eyes at the sign that got cut and turned into a headless horseman image, but in hindsight this fits perfectly into the campy-style of this show.
  • The demon imagery had a good creepy feel to it. Hopefully this aspect will be something I enjoy now that I am over the initial shock of some of these reveals.

I may have seemed a little harsh on this, but I think it’s more a case of it being different than I expected or maybe just a case of “not for me” though I want to give it more of a chance before deciding if it is the latter. For the right audience, Sleepy Hollow’s over-the-top premise and out-there backstory might be just what the doctor ordered though. Did you check out the Sleepy Hollow pilot? If so let me know your thoughts on it. Thanks for reading!

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7 thoughts on “Sleepy Hollow Pilot Review

  1. I’m going to comment without reading this post:

    I set up a timer on my parent’s DVR to watch this series with them, so I’m really hoping that it’s good and that you enjoyed it. I was actually at my parent’s house tonight and saw it; recommended that we watch it, but I got them hooked on the first season of Once Upon A Time, and they chose to watch another episode of that rather than Sleepy Hollow. Bah! It’s only a matter of time before I watch this new series!

  2. I watched the pilot. I like Crane’s character, but I agree the whole ridiculousness of the headless Terminator made me laugh and go “Oh no they didn’t!” I think I’m more bothered by how cool everyone is about this whole situation headless horseman and man from the past. And the special effects at the very beginning when he nearly gets hit by the truck are HORRIBLE. Maybe they spent the special effects budget on the headless Terminator.

    Sleepy Hallow is bad, but like shows like, Under the Dome. I can’t seem to stop watching it even though it’s bad. Maybe it’s because Crane is snarky. I’ve always been a sucker for snarky characters.

    I just find that these “supernatural” thrillers always end up being campy. Grimm is another show I don’t know why I keep watching. I don’t even find the main character that interesting. At least I find Crane interesting to an extent.

    Don’t even get me started on “The Following”. That show had potential, and just turned stupid pretty quickly.

    • Yeah, maybe I can enjoy its “badness” or “campy-ness” going forward. Initially all of it was a bit of a shock for me. With so much good TV on, I’m not sure if I’ll keep up with this or not. Hoping it kind of grows on me. I do watch the occasional show I dislike for some reason (I’m looking at you The Walking Dead), but these days I’d rather jump out early before I feel some sort of obligation to keep going. We’ll see with this one.

      I also enjoyed the first few episodes of The Following, but boy did it get silly.

  3. I wrote this show off when I first heard of the concept but I actually thought the pilot is decent haha. Maybe my max threshold for ridiculousness is a bit higher than I’d like to admit? I agree the Starbuck jokes were lame and I also noticed the sign with the headless horseman. I thought the demon in the mirror at the end was cool. I don’t plan on watching too many shows this fall so this might not make the cut especially when Almost Human hits the air.

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