The box of non- delights
UK Broadcast Universal Channel, Thursdays US Broadcast Fox, finished Episodes Reviewed 3.01- 3.18
Sometimes a show is only as good as its Big Bad. For its first two seasons, Sleepy Hollow had one of the most famous Big Bads of them all: the Headless Horseman from Washington Irving’s classic tale The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow. Around this nasty chap and his hooved companion the writers wove a dastardly plot to bring a demon named Moloch into our world, and in doing so they had a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, with Moloch defeated, the Horseman unsaddled and all their lackeys gone – including Ichabod Crane’s wife and son – Sleepy Hollow’s choice of villain for its third year has been an absolute disaster. In theory you’d think Pandora ( you know, the woman with the box) would bring a goldmine of unnerving material; she’s in charge of all our sins, after all. But instead we simply get actress Shannyn Sossamon talking to herself in a breathy whisper for episode after episode after episode.
Criminally, this year has also managed to flunk its flashbacks. The addition of original US flag- maker Betsy Ross as Ichabod’s 18th- century partner- in- crime was probably supposed to add some chemistry, but the pair fizz together about as much as an Alka- Seltzer in the desert. After a while your heart sinks whenever you realise Ichabod’s about to reminisce about the past – which means the “present” plots have to be damn fine to make up for it.
Thankfully, as is always the case with Sleepy Hollow, things perk up whenever Ichabod and Abbie do their double- act. He’s still hilariously stiff and British; she’s still a force of nature. Abbie’s sister Jenny and new beau Joe are also fun to watch.
But for all the one- liners, inventive monsters and undeniable charisma of the main cast, nothing can really compensate for the black hole of dull that is Pandora. Even when she conjures another baddie, the Hidden One, who then starts wreaking havoc, she still manages to suck the life out of every plot. After a while Sleepy Hollow starts to live up to its name – you just might start snoring. Jayne Nelson
Some barn dances get out of hand…