Ichabod Crane died during the civil war, succumbing to wounds caused by a mysterious figure on horseback whose head Crane detached. A couple of centuries later he wakes up in modern day America, in a small town which appears to have a problem with a headless guy on a horse murdering local residents. Crane partners up with a local cop to work out what’s going, while engaging in familiar buddy cop tropes.
This is a relatively high profile new series, which had already received some strong reviews and after airing just 3 episodes it’s not only been picked up for the full season, but renewed for a second! But despite all that I wasn’t particularly excited by the idea of this going in. The cast was completely unknown to me and the blurb just sounded quite tired, I felt I could probably map out most of the series’ plot and jokes without any particular thought.
After watching it, I can’t say I’d count myself as that much more enthusiastic, but I have to acknowledge that it’s a very solid offering. The plot remains as predictable as expected with the predictable jokes from the man out of time about the number of Starbucks, women wearing trousers, the emancipation of slaves and confused looks about just about everything. The mythical elements trundled along like a rerun of an episode of Buffy or Supernatural and the police elements plodded on like… well I can’t actually think what it was specifically like, but it certainly felt very familiar. In fact it’s just one of those shows that feels endlessly familiar, even if you can’t quite place your finger on what exactly it is that’s triggering that.
BUT I actually kind of enjoyed the pilot. While the unknown-ness of the cast doesn’t help generate buzz for the show, it did mean that they were very fresh. I liked them. They didn’t do anything particularly astonishing or anything, but they managed to give some heart and soul to the characters, and immediately established an entertaining partnership. They’d certainly benefit from some stronger supporting characters (the endlessly shouty and disapproving Captain can feel free to go away), but as a leading team, these two have potential.
Overall, the pilot was nothing special beyond the fact that it didn’t fall over its own feet, a rarer achievement than we might hope. Having dropped Once Upon a Time from my watch list, this might actually fill the “amiable entertainment” slot. This strikes me as the kind of show that thanks to its relatively low ambition, actually has the potential to be pleasingly successful.
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