New elements revise the classic tale by Washington Irving

By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis
Updated September 17, 2013 11:15 AM
Credit: FOX

Murder, time travel, unsolved police investigations, witches and the four horsemen of the apocalypse … oh my!

Fox’s Sleepy Hollow presented several intersecting plot lines with its premiere episode on Monday, the chief storyline being the return of Ichabod Crane, a character most Americans know from the Washington Irving short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

In the new version, Crane (Tom Mison) is a British soldier who traveled to the American Colonies to defend the Crown in the Revolutionary War, but ended up switching sides and fighting for independence instead. Crane is fatally wounded during battle, but manages to decapitate a redcoat with a bad reputation, and in so doing, creates the Headless Horseman.

Crane dies, but awakens in the present day, understandably disoriented by things like moving vehicles and pants – “When did it become acceptable for ladies to wear trousers?” he asks. By this point, his strange behavior and anachronistic clothing have landed him in police custody as a suspect for murders perpetrated by the returned Headless Horseman himself.

And this is no ordinary Headless Horseman. He is, in fact, one of four – the four horsemen of the apocalypse, that is.

It quickly becomes clear that if Crane and local policewoman Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) don’t work together to stop the Headless Horseman, he will call his three friends and bring on the end of days as prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

Crane further discovers that his wife was a (good) witch working against the same apocalyptic threat during the Revolutionary War days, and she appears in his dream to help guide the investigation.

Already, Sleepy Hollow has presented a lot of turns and twists to the familiar story – with plenty more to come.