Anything but sleepy
Funny and frightening in equal measure, Sleepy Hollow is one of the pleasant surprises of 2013. Guy Davis talks time- travel and headless horsemen with the show’s star, Tom Mison.
Ihave to admit, my expectations for Sleepy Hollow weren’t all that great when I first heard about it.
There’s nothing wrong with revamping or reinterpreting an old classic, of course, but transforming Washington Irving’s spooky short story about a schoolteacher pursued by a malevolent headless horseman into a time- travelling supernatural mystery? Well, that could go either way.
But wait, there’s more! The schoolteacher, named Ichabod Crane, has been transformed into a gentlemanly scholar, soldier and spy fighting during the American Revolution when some magical mischief saw him put into a very, very deep sleep, from which he would awaken some two centuries later.
And his headless nemesis? He also spent over 200 years snoozing as well, only to wake up in the 21st century and start wreaking havoc in the modern- day town of Sleepy Hollow.
By the way, the horseman isn’t working alone. He’s one of four … as in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Not many people these days are inclined to believe Ichabod’s tales of impending doom, especially when they’re coming from a chap who looks, sounds and dresses like he’s straight out of the 1700s.
However our hero finds
Ian unlikely ally in police officer Abbie Mills, who has experienced enough strange phenomena in her lifetime to give Ichabod the benefit of the doubt. Up to a point, at least.
That’s a lot of mythology and information to take in, and it would have been awfully easy for Sleepy Hollow to drop one or more of the many balls it was juggling.
But so far it’s kept them all in the air, and proven to
Mison: “It’s trying to work out how moody someone would be when they come out of the ground after 200 years.”
be pretty entertaining while doing so.
Sleepy Hollow, airing in Australia on Network Ten, has emerged as one of the new hits of the year, and the deft way it combines chills with a sly, self- aware wit is a big part of its success.
But another factor is the undeniable chemistry between its two leads. As Abbie, Nicole Beharie is a smart, no- nonsense heroine who is open- minded enough to embrace the weirdness of the story’s unfolding events and tough enough to take on any strange villain who comes out of the woodwork.
And UK actor Tom Mison is a treat as Ichabod. Rather than play the character as a bewildered fish- out- of- water type, he’s made him capable and charming, usually flummoxed by some of the modern things he encounters but often able to use his encyclopaedic knowledge and diverse set of skills to overcome any obstacle.