April 9, 2016

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Finale Review: “Sleepy Hollow”


SLEEPY HOLLOW has been trying very hard to justify its survival this season under new showrunner Clifton Campbell.  In addition to telling its core story arc about Pandora (Shannyn Sossamon) gathering sundry demons to strengthen her evil god husband The Hidden One (Peter Mensah) in preparation for his destruction of, you know, the world, the show introduced a steady stream of new characters.  These included Joe Corbin (Zach Appelman), an occasional wendigo and steadier demon-hunter, as well as romantic interest for Jenny Mills (Lyndie Greenwood); FBI supervisor Daniel Reynolds (Lance Gross), also around to romance Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie); Sophia Foster (Jessica Camacho), another FBI agent on the demon-hunting team; Ezra Mills (James McDaniel), long-lost papa of Abbie and Jenny; and no less than Betsy Ross (Nikki Reed).  For a few episodes, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) got a potential girlfriend too, in Zoe (Maya Kazan), but she didn’t last long.  None of them really came to much in the end:  Joe was killed off last week, Betsy Ross had so little to do (she was mostly a supporting figure in Revolutionary War-era flashbacks) that it was hard to understand why she’d even been made a series regular, and The Hidden One barely came out of hiding.  (To save money, production also changed states.)  Through all of this, the ratings remained poor, even by the standards of Friday night.

Tonight’s somewhat incoherent and abrupt Season 3 finale, written by Co-Executive Producer M. Raven Metzner and directed by Russell Fine, was either the show playing its last desperate card or a zen-like acceptance of inevitable rebooting or cancellation, as the show killed off its heroine and female lead Abbie by having her sacrifice herself to save the world, with repeated assurances thereafter that although characters on Sleepy Hollow aren’t necessarily permanently dead, she was really really gone.  The Hollywood Reporter says that Beharie wanted off the show, and if true that no doubt figured into the decision, but the question remains:  where does that leave Sleepy Hollow, a series built from the start on the chemistry between Crane and Abbie, and thus between Mison and Beharie?   The finale allowed for Crane to seek and presumably find a new fellow “witness” partner, and also had him recruited to some kind of supernatural government unit, but none of that will be the Sleepy Hollow of the first three seasons, and with ratings as bad as they already are, it’s hard to see a fruitful future for the series.  (The Reporter also calls renewal “very likely,” but statements like that are meaningless at this time of year, as the networks prepare to watch their new pilots and make decisions on bubble shows.)

If this was indeed farewell for Sleepy Hollow, the show can be remembered as an above-average supernatural thriller, notable not just for the pairing of Mison and Beharie, but some enjoyable time-travel banter and an often fun mythology, along with particularly strong production values.  If the show manages to dig itself out of its current catacombs, it will essentially be back to square one, and very much in need of some otherworldly help of its own.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."