Saturday, December 20, 2014

Back to Sleepy Hollow

Recently, a sub-station of Pro7 started to air the first season ofSleepy Hollow.” That means people over here can finally see one of the best supernatural series made recently. I, however, have moved on already and took the chance to get the second season at iTunes yesterday. As with the first on, once I had started watching the episodes, I was caught and just had to go on and on and on. Which meant, with only 11 episodes, I have managed to watch the season in about a day (split between Friday evening and Saturday morning/afternoon).

It’s always a certain danger when a series is going into another season. I remember being completely taken with the first two seasons of “Warehouse 13” and finding the third so uninteresting I almost didn’t watch the final two seasons, which are great again. I did fear a little that the series, once in for a new season, might lose the things that made it so interesting to me: the close connection of mythology, history, conspiracies, and magic. I was afraid they would put some of that aside to boost other stuff. I was afraid action might take over, or the visible attraction between Ichabod and Abbie may.
Instead, they continued down the road they had chosen before. Yes, there is more action in the second season, but that is only to be expected, as the End of Days draws nearer and both sides get more desperate. They also expanded the pool of main characters a little. But they kept more than they changed. Just as in the first season, it pays to pay attention to the details of every episode. The situation can change from one moment to the next and what you thought you knew can suddenly be all wrong again. There is no such thing as a ‘monster of the week’ episode in “Sleepy Hollow,” either. With merely 11 episodes, there is no space for one. Even seeming ‘monster of the week’ episodes like “Heartless” or “Mama” include vital information and drive the main story. Often it takes one or two more episodes to realize the real impact another episode has had on the full story. “The Weeping Lady” seems to be a ‘monster of the week’ episode at first glance, since the ‘lady’ in question targets women around Ichabod and tries to drown them. The episode is important for the season in the long run, though, because of the outcome and the new information on both Ichabod and Katrina it delivers.
As in the first season, the monsters are not just creations of the show’s writers, either. Even though they might have taken some liberties with the material, all monsters have a solid foundation in mythology, history, or at least literature. They are very well-made (the Gorgon in the next-to-last episode took my breath away, once it was completely visible) and the writers know how to introduce monsters correctly: by not immediately showing them off.

At the end of the first season, the audience is left with no less than five cliff-hangers, every main character has their own. Ichabod is buried in his son’s former grave, Abbie is caught in purgatory, Katrina is in the hands of the headless horseman, Captain Irving has been arrested for the murders his daughter committed while possessed by a demon, and Jenny (Abbie’s sister) may be dead or still alive after a car accident. During the first episode of the second season, not only is a full story of a ‘possible future’ told, but all five cliff-hangers are resolved, too. And as much as there’s different threads running through the whole season (for both seasons out so far), they all get tied up nicely towards the end of each. It’s almost as if the show’s writers wanted to do a ‘how to’ about handling the story arcs right.

I really loved the second season of “Sleepy Hollow,” even though there’s less cliff-hangers at the end of it. I will definitely hope there will be a third one.

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