The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the writer and does not speak for every viewer of Sleepy Hollow.
At the end of each season, the writers on a television series face a difficult challenge in setting up the new season to be one that will keep viewers tuned in. With that often comes introducing new story lines that will keep the interest of those loyal viewers watching and hopefully, entice new viewers.
FOX’s Sleepy Hollow had a huge obstacle to overcome. As the show focused on two biblical witnesses of the Apocalypse, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Abigail “Abbie” Mills (Nichole Beharie), how could the show continue after the departure of Beharie’s Abbie? Additionally, backlash from fans angered by the death of Abbie made for a difficult challenge ahead. A large percentage of viewers dubbed themselves former fans and vowed to no longer support the show. Once it was announced that the series would be retooled with an entirely new cast (except Mison and Lyndie Greenwood’s Jenny Mills, Abbie’s sister) and leave Sleepy Hollow and set up stakes in Washington, DC, the uproar was intense. There were numerous tweets on social media criticizing the show, its creators and writers for ruining something special. And many people vocalized their hope for Sleepy Hollow’s cancellation. As someone who loved Season One of Sleepy Hollow, I found some of the story lines in the later seasons leaving a lot to be desired. However, as my reason for starting Sleepy Hollow was based on seeing the modern retelling of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” whereas others viewers, especially many POC probably felt a strong bond to the character of Abbie Mills that they related to, with the loss of this character their interest in the show died along with her. But this article is not meant to get into whether to support or not support, but to talk about how I feel Season 4 has done with the new cast, setting and stories. And please remember, these are my opinions and those reading this article may to disagree.
New Cast. In addition to Beharie, by the end of Season 3 Zach Appelman (Joe Corbin), Lance Gross (Daniel Reynolds), Jessica Camacho (Sophie Foster), Nikki Reed (Betsey Ross), Shannyn Sossamon (Pandora), Peter Mensah (The Hidden One) had all departed. New actors Janina Gavankar (Diana Thomas), Jerry MacKinnon (Jake Wells), Rachel Melvin (Alex Norwood), Oona Yaffe (Molly Thomas), Jeremy Davies (Malcolm Dreyfuss) and Kamar de los Reyes (Jobe) were added to the canvas. Diana is an FBI Agent and single mother to Molly, who was revealed to be the new Witness, Jake and Alex are employees at The Vault, a secret organization founded by George Washington, Malcolm Dreyfuss is an eccentric billionaire with an interest in the occult and supernatural and Jobe is a demon with a surprising loyalty to Dreyfuss. I’ve found that each of these characters have brought intrigue and a uniqueness to their roles. We were curious to see how straight laced Agent Thomas adjusted to learning about the supernatural and daughter’s Molly’s place in evil’s fight. Having the second Witness as a child left many wondering, how could Ichabod battle evil’s threats with a kid who had a bedtime? Thankfully, the writing set these doubts to rest (The recent episode “The Way of the Gun” where we met an adult Molly, now called Lara, from the future was a stroke of genius). Jake and Alex made The Vault a cool place to be: book guy Wells is a fun-loving geek and fan of Ichabod Crane while Alex is technical savvy and has saved the team numerous times as she’s come up with useful gadgets. Malcolm Dreyfuss is scary and charming all at the same time and has become a worthy adversary to Team Witness. And why is demon Jobe so loyal to Malcolm? This cast and characters work on so many levels and have elevated the stories due to great acting.
Setting. Changing the location of a show called Sleepy Hollow from Sleepy Hollow, NY to Washington, DC was a risky move. Would the gamble work? I admit I was a little skeptical when I read that was the plan for Season 4. I feared we’d lose the supernatural element and Sleepy Hollow would become more about government secrets, especially since Diana was Homeland Security. Thankfully, Washington is just a backdrop to tie it all in with the Founding Fathers and George Washington’s dream for freedom by protecting the country from the supernatural.
Writing. Kudos to the writers for achieving the impossible: creating great new characters to interact with old characters Ichabod Crane and Jenny Mills. Some of my favorite episodes of Season 4 were: “The People v. Ichabod Crane”, “Loco Parentis”, “Child’s Play” and “The Way of the Gun.” We got to see the return of a few characters from Sleepy Hollow’s rich history like The Headless Horseman and Henry Parrish, which was neat because these characters reappeared helped to move the current stories further.
Opening. Thanks Sleepy Hollow for keeping the stirring opening theme. I don’t know how others feel about this, but if the credits had changed, it wouldn’t have been Sleepy Hollow.
In conclusion, I’m happy that I did what felt right for me and continued watching Sleepy Hollow. I believe that the show achieved what it set out to do in Season 4 and rewarded viewers who stuck with it. Each episode of Season 4 left me excited for the next. I haven’t been this thrilled with Sleepy Hollow since Season 1. I look forward to the Season 4 finale and hope that we see Team Witness live to fight the good fight in Season 5.