At the start of this season, things don’t look promising for Sleepy Hollow – the town or the show. Several heads have rolled off-screen since the second season finale in response to a ratings slump. Unfortunately, these include Orlando Jones’ Captain Irving, one of the series’ best characters, and most explicit nods to the source material.
New showrunner Clifton Campbell has ditched pretty much everything else that ties the show to its literary origins too, including the Headless Horseman. Given how formidable he was set up to be, his perfunctory exit early in this season’s premiere is so insignificant that it feels like the writers couldn’t get rid of him soon enough.
At first, his replacement, Pandora (Shannyn Sossamon), looks like a worthy successor with her creepy box of tricks. Yet, it’s apparent after a few episodes that her vague plan has only slim links to Sleepy Hollow, and principally involves unleashing a series of familiar evils upon the town.
Unsurprisingly, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and newly minted FBI Agent Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) have no trouble dispatching these network TV-friendly ghouls. Their successes don’t feel sincere though, because they’re almost always achieved through broad assumptions and Crane’s seemingly limitless ability to suddenly recall past experiences with the supernatural.
Sleepy Hollow has been undermined by these flaws from the beginning, but the longer it’s gone on, the more obvious they’ve become. The original short story is too flimsy to sustain a series that isn’t fleshed out with complex characters and involved storylines.
This season, Mison, Beharie and their co-stars are still an appealing gang of ghostbusters, but there’s no real depth to their characters. Moreover, the formulaic monster-of-the week storylines don’t amount to evolution, never mind the revolution the series needed.
With the season’s climactic events forcing yet another reboot, it’s hard to see Sleepy Hollow lasting much longer.