FOX has a new show from the writers of the new STAR TREK which re-envisions Washington Irving’s 1820 short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” for the modern day. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this information. I grew up on that short story, and on the 1949 Disney retelling. I grew up not far from Tarrytown where the story is set. I went to haunted hayrides there. In high school I drew pictures of the Headless Horseman while other kids were trying weed for the first time. This is a story that has a lot of power for me. This is a property I know about, more than most.
There’s stuff I like about the promo footage. I like seeing Clancy Brown (STARSHIP TROOPERS) in anything, although it doesn’t look like he makes it out of the pilot. I like Nicole Beharie, the female lead, having just seen her in 42 and thinking she made near-angelic sweetness a believable human characteristic there. I like the idea of the Headless Horseman running rampant through the very bucolic Dobbs Ferry.
But there’s some bizarro stuff in here too. The premise is that Ichabod Crane, who in this incarnation fought with George Washington, is woken up 250 years into his future, where his nemesis the Horseman has been once again causing trouble. First of all, that’s Rip Van Winkle, if you know your Irving, but neither that nor the fact that Ichabod has been stripped of his characteristic cowardice is what worries me nearly as much as THE CONSPIRACY. Oh no, the conspiracy! The back-of-the-dollar-bill spooky-eye pyramid Illuminati conspiracy! I’m not being sarcastic. I’m actually concerned. Concerned that this is going to be turned into NATIONAL TREASURE: THE SERIES. I don’t watch those movies, the same way I don’t watch DA VINCI CODE movies, because I’m not interested in historical conspiracies. I’m interested in ghost stories. Especially when it comes to SLEEPY HOLLOW, I’m interested in the ghosts. And on top of everything, here they’ve got the spectral swordsman wielding automatic rifles just like he’s Val Kilmer in HEAT.
It’s adequate cause for concern, is all I’m saying. There are ways to allay worries. (I am, as always, eminently hirable as consultant on matters of supernatural accuracy.)
Anyway here’s the trailer. You decide for me. Keep an eye out for a special guest appearance by the tagline from Tim Burton’s 1999 SLEEPY HOLLOW ad campaign!