The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a wonderful story. Washington Irving wrote the original short story and published it in 1820. The story, which has endured in both popular culture and has influenced countless literary entities over the centuries, is set in Tarry Town, a Dutch settlement in New York State, where resides a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow.
Sleepy Hollow of course is well known as a haven for ghosts and wayward spirits of the netherworld. There are many that pervade the minds of the small town inhabitants but the most infamous is the legendary Headless Horseman. The Horseman is said to be a former Hessian trooper that lost his head during a battle of the American Revolutionary War. He rides forth every night to prey on the town and search for his missing head.
Enter Ichabod Crane, a lanky, nerdy, superstitious schoolteacher and you got yourself a heck of a premise for a scary story.
With the recent Fox update of this wonderful story, we have a fantastic supernatural show called Sleepy Hollow, starring Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane, Nicole Beharie as Lt. Abbie Mills, a modern detective, and Orlando Jones as her direct supervisor at the Sleepy Hollow police department.
Yes, that’s right, this show is set in modern times. Blasphemy, you say? No, because it works. It really does; somehow a modern retelling of one of America’s most beloved old time stories works very well and not only keeps with the spirit of the original Washington Irving short story but expands upon it and builds its on mythology. Only 13 episodes have aired but Fox has already ordered a second season of 13 more so we shall see how much more of the story works out in the end.
Each episode builds on the previous and although much of the first half of season one fell prey to the monster-of-the-week scenario of similar shows, Sleep Hollow does not digress too far off the main thrust of the premise and that is to tell the story of the Horseman and why it is so important Ichabod and Abbie fight hard to stop him.
The Headless Horseman is in fact one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He is Death and his coming signals the coming end to humanity itself. The Horseman has other secrets as well, including being one of Ichabod’s best friends from back in the 18th Century. They are entwined together throughout time and Ichabod was resurrected for a very important reason; to battle with the supernatural entity he beheaded all those years ago in the war to free the Colonies.
The Horseman remembers that it was Ichabod that took his head and he, as the incarnation of Death, will stop at nothing to take his revenge and set the stage for the end of mankind. Ichabod convinces Abbie and Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones’ character) to help him and the two police officers suspend their disbelief and buck up to do their jobs.
They have no other choice because if the Horseman is not stopped it means the end of it all.
They have other people helping them but it not that easy. Abbie has a sister that she is both ashamed of and conflicted with guilt because of; poor younger Jenny has been confined to a mental institution for many years because of an incident from their past. Once while in the woods they encountered the rise of the second Horseman but Abbie refused to admit to it, fearing the repercussions that caused Jenny to be committed. Abbie eventually comes to terms with what she did by helping Jenny get released.
They also have witch/ghost Katrina helping them out. Katrina was Ichabod’s wife back in the 18th Century and now attempts to give him advice from the grave. She is trapped in between worlds and this causes much pain between them.