When Monsters Steal the Show

I always enjoyed Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" so I tuned in to FOX's new show Sleepy Hollow, loosely based on it.  I actually liked Tim Burton's gothic movie version from 1999 a bit better, but I'll still give the TV series a chance.  My biggest problem was that I didn't connect with the lead character, Ichabod Crane, right away.  The scenes with the Headless Horseman were more gripping, even if they felt a bit out of context -- but there's still time, it was only the pilot episode after all, and all will (hopefully) be revealed.

We aren't given much depth to Crane's character when we first encounter him, in the middle of a Revolutionary war battle, fighting a demonic looking British Redcoat and decapitating him -- but then suddenly Crane ends up in modern times and I couldn't really make sense out of it all. Still, the Headless Horseman scenes were cool. Monsters often steal the spotlight.  It happened in Irving's original story, and it happened with Frankenstein, when the creature (instead of the titular mad scientist) became the star.

In the short story written in 1820, Crane is a much more developed character.  In the TV show, the Horseman is the real star, and so are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, including the creepy, pale Death whom we see at the end. Monsters often overshadow the human heroes -- but shows such as Supernatural or Grimm made the premise work, so maybe Sleepy Hollow can do it too.

Maybe there might even be a cameo appearance by Irving's other well-known character, Rip Van Winkle, but the cynic in me fears that they'll just turn him into an ancient zombie or something equally horrific. 

The ratings for Sleepy Hollow's debut were excellent. I'll give it a few more episodes to see how they develop the characters.

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