Looking for a raucous ride of paranormal-thriller police work? Fox Network has you covered with the new series “Sleepy Hollow,” which appears to be a sexy new mash-up of “The X-Files” and “National Treasure.”
The pilot episode starts with Ichabod Crane, a Revolutionary War soldier in the heat of battle in 1781 in the Hudson Valley. He gets in a one-on-one fight with a redcoat wearing a mask and a bow tattooed on his hand. After shooting him doesn’t take the guy down, Crane severs his opponent’s head and falls to the ground himself, also mortally wounded.
Then we get a quick transition to present-day Sleepy Hollow via The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” and some aerial shots of the town.
Lt. Abbie Mills of Sleepy Hollow police department in on break with her partner, Sheriff August Corbin. She scolds him for working ’round the clock. He’s reading about a nearby case in the paper and rips it out for future inspection. Mills is one week away from being transferred to the FBI’s police feeder program. Bam! All her future amazing skills are now explained because she is top of the top. She’s good enough to train for the FBI, people!
Meanwhile, Crane has awoken in a nearby cave and is running around experiencing semi-trucks and tar-paved roads for the first time.
Mills and Corbin receive a call to check in with a local: Something strange is going on with his horses. Mills finds the homeowner beheaded in his truck. She radios Corbin, who is in the stables just as he comes across the Headless Horseman and — pow! — we get our third decapitation in approximately 10 minutes.
Officer Andy Brooks, on his way to the scene of the crime, almost drives right over Ichabod (who still hasn’t learned to keep off roads) and immediately arrests him as the suspect in the killings.
While Crane is being questioned, Mills immediately vouches that he isn’t the murderer, and Crane knows she’s seen the Headless Horseman. Now it starts to come out: Crane tells a room full of cops that he was recruited by George Washington to take out a man with a bow tattoo; Mill confirms their suspect has the same tattoo. When did Crane last see him? When he cut off his head.
After his interrogation, Capt. Frank Irving wants Crane delivered to the local asylum. Mills persuades him to let her drive him there. She has a few more questions for him — and let’s face it, she’s attracted to crazy.
On the way to the asylum, Crane discovers the joy of automatic windows, ladies in trousers and Starbucks. Reverend Alfred Knapp sees him in the car with Mills from his churchyard while Crane directs Mills to the cave where he woke up. Together they discover George Washington’s bible that was buried with Crane.
He links what’s going on with the Book of Revelations. The Headless Horseman is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse! Mills responsibly tells Crane that he’s nuts and can’t have him mess up her chances of getting into the FBI.
Meanwhile, Knapp busts out some telekinesis while facing off against the Horseman, but he loses his head, too. That’s four heads off so far.
Once Mills and Crane get to the crime scene, she tells Irving that he can’t be the murderer since Crane was with her during the reverend’s decapitation. Crane wanders through the churchyard and follows a bird to his dead wife’s grave, where he discovers she was burned at the stake for witchcraft. Irving insists to Mills that Crane still needs to go to the loony bin.
At the asylum, Crane dreams about his wife Katrina, who tells him where the Horseman’s head is and that he needs to get it before the Horseman can become whole and set the end of days in motion. She also informs him that he is the first witness, and the Horseman is Death blood-bound to Crane. Oh, and the Horseman has the vampiric quality of not being allowed out in the sun.
During Crane’s incarceration, Mills visits her recently deceased partner’s office and finds a secret stash of files. She learns that her previously sleepy little hamlet is ground zero for supernatural happenings: There are two opposing witches’ covens (good vs. evil), and Corbin knew about a supernatural vision that she and her sister had as children in the woods.
Now Mills believes Crane’s story and goes to rescue him at the asylum. She gives the nurse a fake note and gets him out. He tells Mills where the head of the Horseman is and she immediately dials Brooks again for backup.
Brooks lies to Mills and says he will. Then he enters his apartment to meet the Horseman and tells him where to find his head. He’s a bad guy!
Crane and Mills find the Horseman’s head first. When Brooks arrives, she wonders where the backup is and Brooks attacks her and ties her up in the back of his cop car. Mills bites his thumb and breaks free. Crane is dealing with the Horseman. Backup finally arrives and they are stumped when they try to tell the Horseman to put his hands on his … head?
Dawn arrives none too soon and the Horseman disappears.
Mills decides that this apocalypse thing needs some investigating and decides to ditch the FBI training. Crane informs her that she and him are bound for a seven-year tribulation that will end with Judgment Day, which is fortunate, because that’s how long a successful series will usually run on network television and guarantees the last episode will be climactic!
In the episode’s one truly creepy moment, Brooks loses his head in a holding cell via a demon who comes through a mirror, which puts the total count of decapitations for this episode at five.
Mills and Crane glimpse his reflection in the mirror, and prepare themselves for whatever he might send them next week.
Follow Danielle Schoeck on Twitter: @athena3000