Third-episode verdict: Sleepy Hollow (Fox/Universal)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, Fox
In the UK: Wednesdays, 9pm, Universal. Starts October 9th

As you might expect for a show that relies so much on throwing the crazy out there, Sleepy Hollow is a somewhat hit or miss show, aiming for multiple targets in the hope that something will land. One moment it’s giving us an updating of the Ichabod Crane story, complete with Headless Horseman armed with a sub-machine gun; the next it’s all Omen-ish, giving us the Book of Revelations and Witnesses to the end of the world; the next we’re in Dan Brown conspiracy theory territory, with sects of witches running the US throughout the ages; the next we’re in Kolchak, Grimm, X-Files and Torchwood territory, with Ichabod, clad constantly in the same outfit he’s been wearing while buried in peat for the past 200 years, and his female partner investigate demons of the week against a heavy mythologised background.

The third episode did suggest that it might be finding more of an American Horror Story niche, exploiting old horror stories and American myths. It’s not a bad tack, given that to a certain extent the show is already based in American myth – the American revolution myth – the third episode giving us the interesting ‘fact’ that the Mohawks fought on the side of the colonists in the war, when actually they sided with the Crown and ended up getting shipped off to Canada by Washington after the war as a result. It would certainly be better than American Horror Story.

But beyond the occasional bit of frightening imagery, some good CGI, the central performance of Tom Mison, there’s not much to recommend the show. Supernatural has done all of this better, albeit crasser and less slickly. The really fun stuff seemed to have got burnt off in the first episode. The show drips with too much mythology already and we’re only three episodes in. It’s not a great show, even if it’s prone to having good moments.

Try it, see if you like it, but don’t expect too much of it.

Barrometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: It’ll probably losers viewers over the first season and renewal will be touch or go. Might make it, might not, if it doesn’t do something to lift it out of the supernatural ordinary.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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