But sometimes even her favorite Catholicish goth comedy fantasy time travel historical procedural misses the mark.
Because in Sleepy Hollow, the ultimate Evil, the Evil that threatens everything cozy and light, is sad white boys with hurty feelingz.
A quick summary for readers that enjoy more wholesome and improving nighttime activities:
Ichabod Crane, our country’s favorite legendary nerdlington nebbish, is now a foxy British redcoat-turned-Revolutionary warrior. He killed a British soldier who later became the First Horseman of the Apocalypse. And their blood got tied by witchcraft (yes!) and they both rose from near-death in 2013 Sleepy Hollow to fight for the soul of the world.
Cuz Catholic theology + computer graphics + Revolutionary War trivia = fantastic TV.
But seriously. White actors are the minority, women’s relationships are given depth, prominence, and movement, and Fringe’s number one A plus plus actor John Noble is in it. I could listen to him read boy band lyrics ALL DAY. And like it.
But the plot isn’t exactly that a bunch of interesting people make jokes about the 21st century, run around in spooky old houses, and dodge swords thrown by a dude whose fantastic aim is enhanced by his having no head.
The plot is that no-longer-dead Ichabod Crane and sassy small town cop Abby are the Witnesses of the Endtimes, as prophesized by prophetic Christian prophesies. Their job is to prevent the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse from returning to Earth and wreaking heavy darkness.
The first horseman is the Headless Horseman of Washington Irving’s story. And he’s right scary.
But it turns out that he used to be human. He used to be Ichabod’s BEST FRIEND, y’all. And he was driven to Evil because Ichabod stole his fiance from him. Katrina, of the 18th century lipstick and witchy witchcraft.
And the second horseman? In the finale we learned that he’s Katrina and Ichabod’s son! Hurt by their abandonment! He has “anger issues.”
The Harold and Kumar guy turns evil because Abby doesn’t want to date him.
Next season we’ll find out that the demon in charge of the whole endtimes thing (Moloch of mysterious Judeo-Christian-Milton origins), was Katrina’s dad, sad that he didn’t get onto the royal fox hunting team. Or Abby’s ex-boyfriend, who didn’t pass the bar exam even though his parents spent thousands of dollars on prep classes.
Plot hole alert, not that it matters: The second horseman/Jeremy Crane is also the Sin Eater? The guy who Eats Sins? Not sure how that all works.
I’m not sure if I like this particular version of postmodernism, where history and cultural trends and the latest technologies all crash together till something funny, pretty, thrilling, but nonsensical emerges.
At least the first Star Wars films made the dark side tempting to Luke Skywalker, and to us. Give in to hate! It’s so easy, but so terrible to turn to the dark side.
Here, dudes turn evil because they have the sadz and some horned beastie pulls them out of the mud.
Fringe worked for me because psychology was metaphor. When a couple loses their young child, all joy vanishes from the world.
But in Sleepy Hollow, there’s no compelling reason for people to turn to “Moloch.” There’s just some psychology-lite, rendered into stark terms with stakes much higher than plot points might suggest.
Foster kids. Cold dads. Dead parents. Broken engagements. Complex subjects to be sure. Rich veins to mine for small screen pathos.
But ultimate evil?
So instead of mining these subjects for potential emotional complexity, the show throws in a sad backstory and a cheap twist.
HE’S THEIR SON!!??!?!?
I know that we’re generally weary of grand narratives like good and evil, but I guess I’d prefer it if they try a little harder to make EVIL more interesting.
Will I watch next season? Will I see how Abby escapes Purgatory: Fashioned by IKEA? Will I see if Ichabod and Katrina make more EVIL babies? Will I tune in to see if the third horseman is really Captain Irving’s old accountant, bitter that Irving moved on to a younger, more technologically savvy accountant?
Or maybe he’ll be his disabled daughter, angry about not getting into Princeton?
Or maybe he’ll be Abby’s sister Jenny, angry about the hospital bill she’ll incur after what happened to her at the end of this season?
DAMNED right I will (har).