Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” Barely Resembles The Classic Tale

Sleepy Hollow

The four horsemen are upon us, and only one man can save the quiet town of Sleepy Hollow from a fate of torment and despair . . . Professor Ichabod Crane.

Pros: None.

Cons:

Issues with Ichabod Crane:

He is buff, handsome, and British instead of the scrawny, frightened nerd we are familiar with.

He is married to Katrina Van Tassel, who is a witch in a powerful coven. I don’t like this for several reasons. 1. Part of the charm of the original story is that scholarly, wimpy Ichabod had to compete with the brutish Brom Bones for the love of Katrina. Fighting for love is one of the most powerful and interesting themes a story can have and this show chose to eliminate it. 2. Brom’s character could have added more spice to these otherwise bland character interactions. 3. If Ichabod is confident, attractive, and won Katrina’s heart, the show’s creators are robbing the viewer of the opportunity to root for the underdog.

He is a time traveler. Ichabod fought in the American Revolutionary War under General George Washington and was frozen by his wife, Katrina. In the pilot episode, Ichabod wakes up 250 years later to help Lt. Abbie Mills fight against the upcoming apocalypse.  Honestly, if I wanted a story about time travel I’d pop in my Back to the Future Blu-ray disc.

Issues with Lt. Abbie Mills

She is a coward. I’m guessing her character was written this way to make up for the fact that Ichabod is now a hero. Her backstory is that when she was a little girl, she and her sister encountered a demon in the woods and went missing for four days. When the girls were found, Abbie lied to police claiming she didn’t see anything and let her sister be dragged off to a mental institution. Then she turned to a life of bad decisions until Sheriff August Corbin intervened and helped her turn her life around. Eventually she finds her way on to the police force, but does she attempt to help her sister get released from the asylum? No.  Instead, she applies for a new position and plans to flee Sleepy Hollow for good. Only after meeting Ichabod Crane and losing her partner does she decide to stay.

Issues with the Show:

Killing Sheriff August Corbin off in the first episode. I really liked his character. He was a good influence on Abbie and was an excellent police officer. I wish they kept his character alive; there are plenty of less developed characters that nobody would miss. I understand they want Abbie to partner with Ichabod but he is not law enforcement. I wish Sleepy Hollow had gone the route of the Sherlock Holmes inspired television show Elementary and just made Ichabod a police consultant. I believe the sheriff could have help balance out the flatness of other characters.

The biblical references of the four horseman marking the end of the world. This just seems like an unneeded element to the story. Why isn’t fighting against the Headless Horseman enough? And once again let me remind the creators of Sleepy Hollow that Ichabod is not a hero! In Washington Irving’s story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod not only loses Katrina to Brom, but the ending implies he either ran away from Sleepy Hollow out of fear or that he was killed by the Headless Horseman.

I like a fresh twist on a classic as much as the next person, but the television show Sleepy Hollow has so many new elements competing for attention that the entire show falls flat. I wish the creators had chosen just one element and developed that further. Time travel, witches, demons, and a dashing Ichabod who becomes a brave crime fighter is straying too far from the original story.

Rating 1: Locked in the Dungeon For an excellent adaptation of this timeless classic, look no further than Tim Burton’s film Sleepy Hollow starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci.

Once Upon An Enchanted Town

imageRecently I started watching the first season of the television show Once Upon A Time based off of some friends’ recommendations. Once Upon A Time is the story of an evil queen that places all fairy tale people under a horrible spell (Snow White, Prince Charming, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood, just to name a few) where they are trapped in the small town of Storybrooke, Maine and don’t remember their true identities. I feel like this show should be something I absolutely love since it is fairy tale oriented (and let’s be honest I devoted an entire blog to all things fairy tale, so clearly it is a passion of mine). But alas, there are a few things that simply fell flat for me. I do plan on watching season two for further analysis. Sometimes a new show just takes a while to really pick up momentum and this series just started in October of 2011.

Pros:
The acting is great. I am a big fan of Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) after I saw her in the film Something Borrowed and Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), who was one of my favorite characters on the early seasons of the series House. Lana Parrilla (the Evil Queen) does an excellent job conveying pure evil and fully encompasses what it means to be the villain. Robert Carlyle (Rumpelstiltskin) is positively creepy and devious which is perfect for the story. And for reasons I can’t really explain, I like Meghan Ory as the sassy, trampy waitress when you know she is really Little Red Riding Hood. Perhaps it reminds me of the the old cartoon where Red is a drop dead gorgeous lounge singer and the wolf can’t contain his desire for her.

The costumes and settings are spot on for a fairy tale.

I like the love story between Snow White and Prince Charming in both the fairy tale and in modern day Storybrooke.

Cons:
Snow White is my least favorite fairy tale so it was hard for me to be excited about the first episode and the fact that the main plot centers around this particular story. Luckily the series does cover other fairy tale characters as well to help balance it out a bit.

I know this series is trying to put a modern spin on fairy tales, but some of the plot points are hard for me to accept. In fairy tales, the villains are 100% evil and the heroes are 100% good but in Once Upon A Time this aspect is lopsided. The Evil Queen is always nasty and mean spirited, but Snow White is all over the place. In the Fairy Tale she is a tough, wise cracking, thief lacking all of the stereotypical princess qualities. While in modern day Storybrooke she is a kind, nurturing teacher and volunteer at the hospital. Shouldn’t this be exactly the opposite? The fact that she is a better person in real life than in her own fairy tale makes no sense to me.

Another miss I feel is that Prince Charming is engaged to another woman in the fairy tale and married in Storybrooke yet he has feelings for Snow White. In fairy tales what makes the prince of each story so wonderful and appealing to all women is that he is available and only has eyes for the women meant to be his princess. If Snow White has to steal Prince Charming from another woman, how is that magical? Seems more soap opera than fairy tale to me.

The idea that no one knows who they really are is just odd to me. Reminds me of the film Lady in the Water that I wasn’t all that fond of.

The main hero of the series is Emma Swan, Snow White’s daughter in the fairy tale and a tough, unapologetic bail bondswoman in Storybrooke. I find it is always difficult to really root for the main character when they aren’t very likable but I will admit she is growing on me over time.

Rating: 3 Breaks The Spell