Sleepy Hollow is a new program from Fox described as a "mystery-adventure drama"
"In this modern-day twist on Washington Irving's classic, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers. Revived alongside Ichabod is the infamous Headless Horseman who is on a murderous rampage in present-day Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod quickly realizes that stopping Headless is just the beginning, as the resurrected rider is but the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Nicole Beharie is Abbie Mills, the African-American sheriff's lieutenant who decides that her own adolescent encounter with the myth will postpone her leaving Sleepy Hollow to enter the FBI Academy. There are structural similarities to the Tim Burton movie of 1999 particularly on the issue of police detective work and the "undead headless Hessian mercenary from the American Revolutionary War who rides at night on a massive black steed in search of his missing head."
More useful aside from the recycling of genres especially X-Files and Fringe, with a touch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its many undead demon-zombie offspring for the tweener market, is that the juxtaposition of the headless horseman onto an end times narrative fits an ideological/religious need for rapturous myths and interdimensional thrills. Fortunately special effects and CGI have given us better means by which we can present programs that may eventually wind up as re-released series on the Syfy channel. Having run through the basic plot elements of Irving's tale in the first episode, it will take some interesting writing to get us beyond the Fringe-like elements possible in a narrative that features interdimensionality, blazing hot broadaxes, numerous decapitations and a professorial Crane who may be the next big heartthrob.
The more spectral elements of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" were likely based on German folktales concerning "The Wild Huntsman", a ghoulish phantom that would chase interlopers through the woods at maddening speeds. Often this apparition was headless and its victims lacking in virtue or morality.
Irving's depictions of regional culture and his themes of progress versus tradition, supernatural intervention in the commonplace, and the plight of the individual outsider in a homogeneous community permeate both stories and helped to develop a unique sense of American cultural and existential selfhood during the early nineteenth century.One hope for this series from co-creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the “Star Trek” and “Transformers” franchises, “Fringe”) is that these will get further articulation in subsequent episodes although the flashbacks to the Colonial setting of Westchester and the parallel plot of massive populations of witches hitherto unreported in historical accounts might get too formulaic now that we have far too many supernatural genre programs and movies. One hopes that with the ending of Breaking Bad, that crystal meth will become a plot element in subsequent episodes, since it needs a bit more of Joss Whedon's snappy patter.