Sleepy Hollow Review by John Keegan

Sleepy Hollow 4.01:  Columbia

Sleepy Hollow 4.01: Columbia

Written By:
Albert Kim
Directed By:
Russell Fine

When Sleepy Hollow was renewed for a fourth season, I was stunned.  The third season was such a poorly conceived mess that even the presence of the infinitely entertaining Ichabod Crane couldn’t salvage some episodes, and the questionable departure of Nicole Beharie seemed like the kind of action taken to give a series finale a bit more weight.  And yet, here we are.    



Right from the start, it’s fairly obvious that the showrunners are struggling against budgetary constraints, which were likely the cause of Beherie’s exit, given that the longer regular cast members remain on a show, the more expensive they become.  The already bargain-basement effects seem to have taken another downgrade as well.  It’s left to the cast and the writers to either embrace the absurdity or give it some measure of gravitas.


Ichabod’s new partner, Diana, is a skeptic learning to embrace the weirdness that suddenly emerges into her life.  In efficient narrative fashion, her daughter Molly seems to have inherited the mantle of Witness from Abbie.  Considering that evil billionaire Malcolm Dreyfuss conspired to drag Ichabod to Washington in the first place, there is some irony that Dreyfuss basically put Ichabod within reach of his goal of finding Abbie’s successor. 



The introduction of Ichabod to his new status quo takes a bit of time, and the writers try very hard to sell the new characters to the audience as quickly as possible.  The result is effectively what could have been a pilot for a sequel series.  And like most pilots, the episode almost gets buried under the weight of exposition.  There’s a creepy demonic entity and some humorous Ichabod moments, but it’s all stuck in the middle of some quick revisionism.


Despite some fun new additions to the cast, Jeremy Davies having a grand old time chewing the scenery, and Ichabod still being a temporal fish out of water, it’s hard to overcome all of the attempts to incorporate recent genre touchstones.  Diana is a bit too similar to Abbie here at the start, Alex is basically a riff on Claudia from Warehouse 13, and Agency 355 couldn’t be a more obvious copycat of The X-Files if it tried.  All that said, considering this was the series hitting a reset button with a sledgehammer, it’s too soon to tell if this will end up being rich enough narrative soil to overcome the budgetary limits.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Ichabod could read the phonebook and add enough snark to make anything enjoyable
The Bad:
  • By the look of things, this show is being made on a seriously slashed budget
  • Many of the new elements are awfully derivative

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Sleepy Hollow by - 1/9/2017 12:46 PM175 views

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