Yesterday was the premiere of the new FOX series Sleepy Hollow, so I figure it deserves a thread of its own.
For those unaware, SH is a modern re-envisioning of the titular story, coming from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the co-creators of Fringe alongside Abrams, among other things). The official trailer can be seen here.
Ichabod Crane, a soldier during the Revolutionary War, faces an ominous masked mercenary on the field of battle. The mercenary slashes Crane, but Crane manages to behead him, and Crane blacks out. The next thing he knows, Crane awakens in the 21st Century. And so too as the masked mercenary, now a Headless Horseman, who has come to the town of Sleepy Hollow to carry out his sinister agenda. Crane must team up with Abbie Mills, a cop who gets drawn into the Headless Horseman mystery.
So, it's basically a buddy-cop show with a supernatural bent, in which Crane plays the fish-out-of-water believer and Mills plays the more skeptical, down-to-earth cop.
The pilot was pretty good, thankfully. It moves at a very fast pace, and a lot of the mythology is established in this episode. However, there is the promise of cases-of-the-week, so I imagine it will be a semi-serial much as Fringe was, in that each week has a case involving supernatural baddies, with an overarching mythos driving things along.
The show takes itself just seriously enough, given the premise. The leads have a fun rapport, there is some humour to be found, the production values are solid, there are some interesting directing flourishes and camera work, the mythos is intriguing, the acting (of the leads, especially) is on point.
The pacing is breakneck, and one wonders if the show will be able to sustain this pace for future episodes (though its bound to slow down after this Pilot). Also, some of the secondary characters had somewhat wooden performances, and with the pacing so swift, certain development feel glossed over, and the some may find the Pilot a bit overstuffed. Also, some of the action sequences were kind of tame.
In all, the Pilot has a B+ feel to it. It has great potential, and I'm on board. Apparently, there is a seven-season plan (and the show even gives us a seven-year timeframe). First seasons are always precarious, but as it happens, the premiere garnered high ratings with a 3.2 demo and 10 million viewers. I imagine these numbers may dwindle slightly for the next few episodes (as it always tends to for shows), but this is a promising start.
Now, I'd like to comment on the things seen in the Pilot. Spoilers to follow:
Evidently, the mythos has a loose grounding in Judeo-Christian lore. We have the Headless Horseman being Death of the Four Horseman fame. So in addition to Death, we will probably have Famine, War, and Pestilence as built-in future antagonists.
The Demon that seems to be engineering the advent of the Horsemen is intriguing. The visual effects of the Demon was very cool, by the way.
I imagine that the "good and evil" covens will be another source of ongoing story. Clearly, members of both covens have implanted themselves among the populace of Sleepy Hollow. I imagine that the Dark Coven, alongside John Cho's character, were the ones responsible for awakening the Horseman of Death (and therefore, Ichabod Crane).
The search for Katrina will likely be a subplot for Crane, though I hope they don't drag it out for too long. The priest seems to have attained immortality, and clearly has magical prowess, as evidenced with the chains. Is Katrina's physical body stuck in some timeless dimension, bound to the demon? Or is this only her spirit? I suppose time will tell.
The series endgame is also pretty clear, with the Apocalypse and Judgement Day, and Crane and Abbie being the Two Witnesses of the seven-year Tribulation.
The promos seem to set up the procedural aspect of the show; an army of evil is a convenient way to set up the freak-of-the-week. 1.02 will feature a witch, and 1.03 a sandman-figure. The visuals and style in the promos compound the nice aesthetics and character designs that the Pilot has established.
Also, it would seem that according to 1.02's press release, John Cho's character mysterious returns, despite having been apparently slain by the Demon near the end of the Pilot. Interesting .
Anyway, the seeds of mythology planted in the Pilot have me most interested for what's to come. Sleepy Hollow could easily have been a campy and/or shoddy mess, but it all comes together. It seems I now have a new show to follow, which is always a plus.
If anyone has seen the Pilot, by all means share your thoughts below.
John Noble Cast In Recurring Role
Excellent news has surfaced concerning Sleepy Hollow.
According to Deadline, John Noble - Fringe's Walter Bishop - has been cast in a "major" recurring role.
Here is the character description:
As a Fringe fan, this is a most fortuitous development. In Fringe and elsewhere, Noble has demonstrated his masterful acting finesse. While this is a recurring role, I have no doubt that he will bring good things to this character.
Originally Posted by Deadline
Is this Henry Parrish a reclusive member of the Light Coven? Is he some hermitic mystic with seer powers? I suspect his "supernatural powers" will probably pertain to either visions, or the ability to intuit supernatural matters. Since there is a seven-season plan in effect, there is the possibility that Parrish will recur for many seasons to come (of course, assuming the best possible outcome).
As seen in the Pilot, SH has been able to round up some pretty renown faces (Clancy Brown, John Cho). With Noble now aboard, there is the chance that perhaps other well-known faces will appear throughout SH's run.
The Pilot itself was strong enough to merit further investment, but if you have been undecided as of yet, perhaps this news will pique your interest further. As for myself, I wait in anticipation for the laterportion of the season for Noble's arrival on the screen.
Head to head with Jones
Cracking the Equation
Can't say it really blew my hair back or anything. They replayed the pilot tonight and I watched it while cooking dinner, so I did miss a tiny bit when my back was turned and so forth but managed to remain trained on the tv for most of the episode despite the distraction.
So, one thing I know I missed, where are we getting it that the priest is immortal? The fact that he survived until present day? Didn't the horseman kill him in their battle together, thought he got hacked up?
I agree that they tried a little too hard to pack too much into the pilot, a fast pace is nice and all but I feel like the writers worked a little too hard to force everything to fall into place in the first episode. Her partner dies, turns out he has this huge hidden case file that he just couldn't bring himself to discuss with anyone and Ichabod already has the police chief and Mills eating out of his hand by the end of the episode.
The mythology of the Four Horsemen isn't exactly original content either. I do agree that the effects for the demon were good though. I'll be on the fence for a good bit, it will be interesting to see how the show evolves through the procedural case of the week format.
At the very least, the Pilot was competent - which is actually a good sign, since, considering the show's premise, it could very easily have bombed.
Originally Posted by PB
I agree that it didn't "blow me away" either, but there was a lot of little things to like that cumulatively add up for an at minimum decent experience. Decent shows are hard to find nowadays.
Concerning the priest, he was present in the flashbacks in which Crane was injured, and being tended to his wife. The priest (in fact a member of the Light Coven), handed Crane Washington's Bible, and probably contributed to the spell that placed Crane and the Horseman in stasis.
Given that the guy is basically a witch, he may have acquired the ability of immortality (for a moment while watching, I had considered reincarnation). He most certainly did die when the Horseman came for him in the present day, however. I don't expect him to come back (lest more headless folk start wandering the town of Sleepy Hollow).
Tying in the Headless Horseman into Judeo-Christian lore is kind of neat. Though admittedly, the ties to the original Sleepy Hollow legend are rather superficial; a guy called Ichabod, a Headless Horseman, and a town called Sleepy Hollow. Whatever the case, there is no reason why they wouldn't be able to give a new spin on the old Apocalypse story (unless they muck up, or aren't creative).
I imagine going forward, it will be like Fringe's early days, in which we have a handful of random cases (the Army of Evil) interspersed with mythalones or straight up serial installments (Covens, Demon, Horsemen, Tribulations, etc.).
In fact, for those interested, here is the "This Season on SH" trailer.
As can be seen, 1.02 (Blood Moon) will concern an evil witch, and 1.03 (For the Triumph of Evil) is about the Sandman (or a Sandman figure). Seems we'll be meeting Abbie's institutionalized sister, probably during 1.03.
I think you're wise to be on the fence, PB. The next 3-4 episodes will be telling as to the consistency and longevity of the series. I will certainly continue to relay impressions in this thread as the show unfolds.
Observing The Pattern
I too watched the pilot of SH. (It's nice to have you still on the forum boards, OJ!) The pilot had a lot of stuff to absorb in 44 minutes (minus commercials) - all it needed more was Ghostbusters' "Dogs and cats living together!"
Originally Posted by Omniscient_Jay
I too am on the fence about SH. The news about John Noble tips me toward supporting the show. When I finally decide to start recording the show to DVD, that will mean I'm a commited fan of SH. Time and viewing will tell.
I'll be lingering here for the foreseeable future, even if in limited capacity (though this would only be for the current drought of things to talk about).
Originally Posted by FrankStanton
Tomorrow's episode will show what SH can do with a (mostly) standalone weekly case. I think getting an example of one standalone and one mythalone/serial episode will provide people on the fence with examples of how well the show can handle these two modes of operation.
Giving SH a four-episode run might be for the best; four episodes is usually a good place to assess whether a given show is for you. Having read the press release/synopsis for episode 1.04, it seems a bit more serial, so that's where I would recommend making the decision to stay aboard or drop off.
1.02 - Blood Moon
Spoilers ahead as I share some thoughts on episode 1.02 of SH.
I found it to be a reasonably competent MOTW episode. If I had to grade it, I'd probably put it at a "B" and/or a 6.5 to 7 out of 10.
The case involved a Demon-resurrected John Cho releasing the first soldier in the Army of Darkness - the former High Priestess of the local Dark Coven, seeking to make herself whole by preying on the descendants of the magistrate that burned her at the stake.
The "revival" of Cho's character was kind of awesome in its straight-faced absurdity. Also, the derpy footage of Cho slamming into the mirror to bend his neck backwards got a chuckle from me. The Demon's visual effects continue to be super-cool.
The beginning dream-vision was kind of cool, and it was neat to see the Four Horsemen side by side. Katrina names them as War, Conquest, Famine, and Death. It was hard to see, but I think I saw a robed Horseman (whom I presume is Famine), and the one in the armor is likely to be War. The fact that we have four Horsemen means we have, in addition to Death, three other possible recurring antagonists, which extends the narrative longevity potential of the series.
The actual case wasn't all too exciting. Cho uses an amulet to summon Somesuch of Abbadon (didn't catch the first name). She kills one dude, charring him and taking his ashes, then robbed the funerary urn of her second target (after a fakeout with the little boy). I did find the resurrection sequence to be nifty, what with the Priestess falling into and merging with her bones.
However, the resolution was kind of anti-climactic; after encountering Abbadon, they merely arrange the blackpowder crates in the tunnels and light them with a torch (though Crane's reaction to the fake-out was nicely done).
The Abbie-Crane dynamic continues to be the arguable strongest element in the show. Tom Mison plays Crane's culture shock and unfamiliarity of 21st Century technology in a subdued manner, which I appreciate; I find he strikes a balance that might have been executed more cartoonishly by someone else. And I'm also very fond of his colonial colloquialisms.
Captain Irving is a bit less annoying than he was in the Pilot. I suppose he's kind of like Broyles of Fringe fame, a man who plays hard and by the facts (and by the books). And it was very nice to see Clancy Brown return as the Sheriff, even if only as some vision experience by Abbie.
Does this mean that we can expect future cameos of Ghost!Sherrif? Because I wouldn't mind that. I imagine that Zombie!Cho will stick around for a little while to do the Demon's bidding, though I don't see him sticking around past this first season. Before he dies (again), I'd at least like to know his motives for serving the Dark Side.
We also learn that Katrina is stuck in some Limbo dimension. This offers the possibility of freeing her, so that she can come to Sleepy Hollow in corporeal form. We could then have another member of the Scooby Gang (because having Katrina trapped in Limbo and offering cryptic dream-omens for more than one season would be stretching things out unnecessarily). Having a powerful witch on Team Tribulation's side wouldn't hurt.
Speaking of potential allies, we are introduced to Abbie's sister (whose name is Jenny, IIRC). She seems to be SH's answer to the devoted Cortexiphan soldier; unlike Abbie, who pushed her experiences with the Demon away, Jenny has come to see herself as a soldier in the coming war against the forces of darkness. Having a hardcore chica with a warrior mentality would also be of benefit to Team Tribulation (yep, that name is staying).
One minor element I wasn't keen on was the standoff between Crane and Abbie's "ex". I have no idea what his deal was, but whatever it is, I hope we don't end up with a lame love triangle, with Abbie being caught between Crane and Ephrem McAllister.
A decent episode of television, all things considered. Not as good as the Pilot, though I didn't expect it to be. Fringe's first season had a run of rocky standalones as it tried to find its footing, and I imagine that Sleepy Hollow will be doing the same until it finds its pace. I do look forward to 1.03 ("For the Triumph of Evil"), however; it's the one with the cool-looking Sandman entity, and will officially bring Jenny Mills into the fold.
Also, a relatively detailed synopsis of episode 1.04 ("The Lesser Key of Solomon") shows it to have mythalone potential.it seems that Jenny escapes the institution, and both Team Tribulation and the servants of the Horseman Death will be looking for her (the latter group also seeks a tome that can open Hell). It seems that this all ties to a mission Washington had Crane undergo during Colonial days, and we will also be learning the Demon's name.
I suppose that's all for this week. I'll drop by next weel for impressions on 1.03. In the meantime, share your thoughts below (because I find the show to be good enough to warrant at least a little bit of internet discussion ).
Cracking the Equation
Okay, just because this is Fringe-Forum after all, and you drawing the parallel between the sister and a cortexi-kid (though I saw her to be more of a died in the wool Sarah Connor type , no seriously though, your analogy fits). The business of Ichabod having a photographic memory? That smacks of Olive Dunham. Is this some kind of trick of the trade writers use in investigative procedurals as a shortcut around ever having to make a character invest a rational amount of effort in solving a mystery?
So I'm a huge fan of zombie Cho, campy or not, that scene in the morgue was great. Zombie Cho as the harbinger of the evil witch was great as he was compelled to apologize to each of the soon to be victims, he's a sympathetic harbinger of evil.
Ghost Sheriff will be a like a weird spiritual father figure for our protagonist I guess, seems to fit the general ambiance of this supernatural drama. Also, Ghost Sheriff could be like a far less creepy analogue of John Scott for our protagonist: pops in unexpectedly, visible to no one but her, gives cryptic warnings/advice. Not sure about the casting of Orlando Bloom, wasn't he on the Mad TV cast or something? I'm having a hard time accepting him as the straight laced captain or whatever.
The guy who plays Ichabod has kind of a seventeenth century cool about him, and I also appreciate that his reactions to the 21st century are not insanely overdone as is so often the case in these kinds of tails: "Egads, a giant metal beast", like, looking at a bus or something.
Your fears about a love triangle coming completely out of nowhere for no other reason than to have one is warranted, this is network television after all.
I'm really tired after writing about Breaking Bad, so this little review of mine is pretty bare bones, but it looks like you covered most of the key points of this episode OJ.
This show always seems to find me when I'm cooking, so catching all the dialogue and action was tough yet again this week, but I DVR'd it this time, so I can go back review what I missed. Can someone tell me what it is he found on the burn victim that helped Ichabod realize he knew who had committed the crime??
Last edited by PB; 09-24-2013 at 03:00 AM.
There are some Connor parallels. Zomebie Cho's stoic shade-sporting was also a bit Terminator-like.
Originally Posted by PB
I didn't make the connection between Crane and Olivia with the eidetic memory. Maybe we'll find out that he was experimented on with sorcery as a child (by Benjamin Franklin, the Bell to Washington's Walter ).
It's pretty interesting. I think he reminds of the Loyalist character from episode 5.02 of Fringe. In said episode, the Loyalist had joined the faction because he saw no chance of hope against their invaders. Could it be that Cho joined the Dark Coven and/or became a servant of the Dark Side because he saw the apocalypse as inevitable/necessary/etc., while still having some measure of empathy/compassion/conscience?
Originally Posted by PB
As a side note, I need to go check what his character's name is. Zombie Cho is a fun nickname, but the actual name would be nice for accuracy.
I had figured that we'd only be getting Clancy Brown voice-overs post-Pilot as Team Tribulation checks out his cold case file recordings. If the Sherrif does recur, I would prefer that he be used more sparingly (just as having Katrina appear every episode could easily get old).
Originally Posted by PB
I forget where I've seen Bloom (if anywhere). I agree that Captain Irving is still underdeveloped at this junction. I'm not too bothered by it, but I'll give it a few more episodes to see whether he warms to me.
He's kind of perfect for the role, the more I think about it. I'd rather have a subtle performance than an overcooked one, but Mison's strikes a fair balance between shock and adaptation.
Originally Posted by PB
Imagine a quadrangle between Crane-Abbie-Katrina-Ex.
Originally Posted by PB
And the Horseman of Death might get jealous, since he knows that he'll never get head from any of them.
Basically, when investigating the charred victim up close, Crane saw that someone had scooped out some of the ashes, creating a cavity in the chest.
Originally Posted by PB
He realized that this was similar to an event that happened during Revolutionary times. As Crane (and/or Washington) had suspected, the Redcoats may have allied themselves with a local Dark Coven, led by the High Priestess Serilda of Abbadon. Crane and his compatriots stumbled upon a campsite filled with burned bodies, showing signs of sorcerous warfare.
Serilda was eventually captured (with the aid of Katrina's magic) and burned at the stake by a magistrate. In her last words, she exclaimed that she would rise again, and the flesh of the magistrate's descendants would become her flesh. This led to the plot of 1.02, in which Serilda's spectral body hunted down the current descendants of the magistrate - the guy in the car, whom she burnt for his ashes, and the second guy, whose ash-filled urn she stole (when the show led us on to think it was the adopted boy) - so that she could combine the ashes with her buried bones to restore her physical body.
In retrospect, this all sounds very interesting on paper, but I think the actual episode suffered somewhat due to it being a bit overstuffed, much as the Pilot had. As a result, the Serilda case felt rushed and underdeveloped, and so much stuff was introduced in the episode beside the fact. Again, I'm willing to be lenient on the show to see what it can do when it finds its footing, but if this trend continues, it will invariably drag down the quality and potential of the series.
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