Most of us are familiar with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a short story by American author Washington Irving, contained in his collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Irving is one of my favorite early American authors, and my English students and I just read “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” I even showed them the old Disney cartoon, which surprisingly follows the story very closely. It was written while Irving was living abroad in Birmingham, England, and was first published in 1820. Along with Irving’s companion piece “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity.
It’s popularity has led to Fox creating a modern retelling in its new series “Sleepy Hollow.” I watched it for the first time last night. I had DVRed it last Monday and just got the chance to watch it. I really enjoyed it.
In the Fox show, Ichabod Crane “dies” during a mission for General George Washington in 1781. He awakens in 2013 Sleepy Hollow, New York, but so does the Headless Horseman, whose head Ichabod chopped off before his perceived death. The horseman begins his nightly killing spree, and Ichabod must partner with Lt. Abbie Mills.
Abbie investigates the horseman after he kills the sheriff (Clancy Brown). While hunting the horseman, Abbie looks into the old case files her late partner (the former sheriff) was investigating and learns of two types of occult groups—one for good, the other evil—which may have summoned the horseman again. If the horseman is not stopped, dark supernatural forces will affect the Earth. This becomes more difficult as the Horseman discovers modern weaponry, which he assimilates into his ritualistic hunt. Ichabod must also adjust to the societal and technological differences of the 21st century.
The headless horseman is revealed to be Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse described in the Book of Revelation.
As Abbie is a black woman, Crane’s worldview from 18th century Colonial America causes some friction with her, and also the people he must now work with. Given the fact that he is, and states he is from, the time of the American Revolution, local law enforcement see him as a madman but useful in hunting the horseman.
On the second episode (it nabbed 10 million viewers with its Sept. 16 premiere), Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones) and Lieutenant Abbie Mills are trying to make sense of the new mystery man about town, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison). Meanwhile, Ichabod is trying to wrap his brain around such modern marvels as hair dryer, coffee maker, and indoor plumbing. The TV gives him a good jolt too. Check it out in the following clip from “Blood Moon,” which airs tonight at 9 p.m. I recommend watching it, and if you haven’t seen The first episode, you should try to catch it online before the second one airs.
When Ichabod finally does getting around to putting on his shirt in the episode (Tom Mison is good looking enough by himself for me to watch the show), he and Abbie go on the hunt for a centuries-old vengeful witch who “has been awoken by unknown evils and is on a path of destruction.”
Sounds scary. My only criticism is that I would have preferred that the Headless Horseman continue to use his ax, instead of using modern weapons such as machine guns. However,Tom Mison is worth watching as Ichabod Crane. He may not be the frightened Ichabod of Irving’s original story, but the show takes an interesting twist on the legend.