Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sleepy Hollow

Any regular or even occasional reader of this blog could probably come up with some of my favorite shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, Community), but aside from the odd name drop or reference, I've never reviewed a show on here.

Until now. *dramatic music*

Why now, you ask? Because now there is a little show called Sleepy Hollow and it is INSANE and I can't stop talking about it. Here are some reasons why.

The Plot
Well, ok, actually the plot is the thing that made me initially want to stay far, far away from Sleepy Hollow. Time-travelling Ichabod Crane solving crimes in the 21st century? Puh-lease. Actually though, it's shaping up to be a pretty great supernatural series, with some "freak of the week" monsters, as well as season/series long arcs. The horror parts are actually kind of terrifying, and even the ridiculous elements are so fun you'll probably just enjoy the ride.

The Setting
Small historic city with loads of colonial buildings, twisty rivers, and misty woods? Um, yeah, I'm there.

The Characters
Like the better Supernatural (see what I did there?) shows, this isn't all about wacky hijinks and mysterious beasties. It's about the relationships between the characters. Lieutenant Abbie Mills is a skeptic, and not just because there needs to be one on a show like this. She's a skeptic because she and her sister witnessed something as kids that caused massive fallout for them that they are both still struggling with. Ichabod Crane doesn't just have to cope with automatic doors and a 10% levy on baked goods ("insane!"). He's been awakened in a time not his own, one in which his wife has been dead for 200+ years and he has no one to turn to. The chemistry that these two have is amazing, which brings me to... 

The Cast
I love this cast. Even when the show is at its craziest, the actors do an amazing job of injecting gravitas, emotion and humor. Watching them interact is one of the best things about the show, and while it's not overdone, watching Mills try to translate modern quirks for Ichabod is so fun.

A lot has been made of the diversity of the cast, and rightly so. There are several main characters who happen to be POC, and guests stars of various backgrounds have been introduced as well (with mixed results, the Native American episode was a little off). Orlando Jones, who plays Mills' commanding officer (police chief? detective inspector? no hang on...) has promised more and better to come, so here's hoping this trend will continue.

Tom Mison. Tall. Dark. British. His voice nearly knocked me off my chair the first time I heard it, and he's forever doing things that, having been brought up on a steady diet of English costume dramas, make me swoon. He shoots with his arm behind his back. He dashes about in an excellent (if worse for wear) coat. He pronounces "Lieutenant" "Leftenant" and makes use of their extreme and wonderful height difference to hold up police tape for his partner. Also he speaks Middle English and has the best bitchface this side of the Winchesters. Move over Hornblower, I've got a new 18th century man.

The Fandom
This is the first time I've been part of a fandom from the start and it is a blast. Thanks to tumblr, I can see other fans reactions to episodes, share gif sets, art and fic from moments that happened hours before, and geek out about Tom Mison's overly expressive eyebrows to my heart's content. And it's not only the fans. The creators and cast are in on it too, especially the amazingly lovely Orlando Jones. He live tweets episodes, refers to fans lovingly as Sleepy Heads, shares fan art, teases future episodes, acknowledges and praises fan participation with the show, and ships IchAbbie as much as any of us- with the occasional nod to IchaTrina. Be still my nerd heart.

Speaking of shippers... Ship wars can often be the worst part of a fandom, as people take sites, bitterly defend their own OTPs, and lash out at other pairings and shippers. I haven't seen any of that in the Sleepy Hollow fandom yet, which may only be because the fandom is so new, but I like to think it's because we have learned from past mistakes (the Hannibal fandom also seems pretty much free of ship wars, so hopefully this is becoming the norm). 

The Surprise
Honestly, I still can't believe how much I love this show. If you had told me 6 months ago that I would be more excited by this hunk of supernatural cheese than by the new Joss Whedon (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) show, I would have scoffed until I hurt something.

Now? I hate to say it, but other than the always charming and perfect Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is leaving me cold. It's making me flashback to when Dollhouse was on. I watched that religiously, afraid that if I missed one episode it would be cancelled out from under me and I would have no right to complain (obviously, this happened anyway). People would ask me if it was good, and I would pause, trying to find the will to gush, and then mumble something about the cool tech and gorgeous set pieces. But I didn't love it, and that bummed me out more than I can reasonably say. Since then I've come to appreciate Dollhouse more, and to genuinely enjoy it. Unless S.H.I.E.L.D. has a whole arsenal of surprises, though, I don't see that happening here. I want to love it, I took it for granted that I would love it, but the characters are missing some essential spark, and the Bus just looks like Serenity in ways that hurt my still broken Browncoat heart.

But Sleepy Hollow!! I don't know what else to say other than that I love it, unreservedly. The first 5 episodes are on Hulu so there is plenty of time to catch up. I hope you like it.


Anonymous said...

Sleepy hollow is possibly my favorite show currently on the air. Also, totally agree about Shield. I want to love it, but there is just something missing.

-Dan C

Emily Mulvey said...

Agreed, although at least I thought the most recent episode was a step in the right direction.

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