'Sleepy Hollow' is a snore fest

Dave Bartlett
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The first show of the year gets kicked off my PVR

I have to admit I was really hoping the modern retelling of “Sleepy Hollow” would be a surprise.

Tom Mison plays Ichabod Crane in the modern retelling of “Sleepy Hollow.” — Submitted photo

But for that to happen, the writers would have to sell me a compelling reason why Ichabod Crane and The Headless Horseman have been transported into the future.

It failed. It failed so spectacularly, that as I write this, minutes into Episode 2, I cannot wait to rid my PVR of the worst piece of TV I’ve watched in years. In fact, I think I’m going to press stop right now.

It takes the classic tale by Washington Irving, one I’ve always loved, and merges it with the book of Revelations to turn the Horseman into one of The Four Horseman — he is Death incarnate.

Now, after sleeping in graves for more than 200 years in the Hudson Valley, Crane and the Horseman have returned and only Crane and a young police detective, on her way to the FBI, can stop the apocalypse.

No. It’s worse than it sounds.

The dialogue is obvious, the special effects lame, the story so full of fantasy cliché that fans of the genre will be downright offended and it will do nothing to attract new fans.

The fact that actor John Cho appears, turns villain — which is the only mild surprise you don’t see coming immediately — dies, and is brought back to life by a hazy demony shaped thing (that’s the scene, where I said “enough” and erased the series) does not give the show credibility, it just makes you feel sorry for Cho.

This show doesn’t foreshadow anything. It broadcasts what’s coming with big billboards, with giant fingers on springs waving at signs that read “That guy’s dead in the next scene.”

The only way you will find anything new here is if you’ve never watched a police drama before, or read a mystery novel.

And someone give the art department Photoshop, at least, so the red eyes on the Horesman’s horse don’t look like cheap candies taped there with dollar-store adhesive.

I always try to find something good to say about a show, and this is only the second time I’ve come down hard on a series in this column. But the dialogue is so bad, I can’t even tell if the actors are terrible or just have nothing to work with.

It’s not even campy.

The big questions all begin with why? Why would someone think it was a good idea to modernize a short story into a serial for starters? Why add the biblical and witchcraft references?

If using occult references, why not research more than Halloween costumes and children’s cartoons?

And finally, why would Fox green-light this?

This show over-tells everything, but shows you absolutely nothing except what you expect to see. It’s like looking out your window, mid-afternoon on an eventless, foggy day.

It was quite bad from the start, but one line about half-way through the pilot almost made me scream at the TV and want to stop watching on the spot.

Crane sees his long-dead wife in a mirror in his cell, standing in a soft-focused forest — you know, because it has to look like a dream. Unbeknownst to him, she was a good witch, who tells him:

“We are part of an ancient order, sworn to fight the darkness that hides in Sleepy Hollow.”

How many holes can you poke in that plot?

The scene continues and she says that because both Crane’s and Death’s blood mixed on the battlefield — cue to shot from above of blood from their bodies running together into a pool — they became linked.

And when the Horseman trades his axe for a shotgun, and then an Uzi I had to ask myself when does he swap the horse for a Hummer?

Did anybody like this? Well it turns out, it was Fox’s highest rated drama debut in seven years and I’ve read a couple of positive reviews. But, it’s the first show of the year to be cancelled from my PVR and good riddance.

PVR problem.

Speaking of which, I discovered that I can only record two programs simultaneously, but not three — oh, the problems of the First World.

The result: I was unable to record the pilot of “The Goldbergs,” nor the second episode of “Dads,” and may have other conflicts as other new shows premiere. However, as I mentioned a few weeks back, “Dads” was lame and “The Goldbergs” is one of the shows critics seem to like early on, so I’m hopeful it will stick around long enough to go into reruns or for me to declare the other shows it’s up against dead to me.

If there are more shows like “Sleepy Hollow,” that shouldn’t take long. Of course it may also be moved to a better night as Tuesday has never really been a great place for a sitcom.

 

What other travesties of fiction have been committed on TV this fall? Send comments to Dave Bartlett at talkingtelevision@gmail.com.

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  • taxpayertoo
    October 16, 2013 - 15:05

    Huh, I loved it and am looking forward to the next episode, to each his own I guess...