Ichabod crane is all of us in Sleepy Hollow's Season 4 premiere (ie. a bit sad and lost without Nicole Beharie's Abbie Mills).
The new season, comprising 13 episodes, kicks off on January 6th, but is it the show's final curtain call? Speaking at an Upfront press call back in may, FOX boss Dana Walden commented “We are not announcing a final season. We are not sure if it’s a final season.”
Clearly the Network is testing the waters with these new episodes, an unsurprising move given the strong fan backlash following Beharie's departure from the show earlier this year. Will fans continue to tune in to a show minus its co-lead? Will Ichabod vanquish the forces of evil or will Abbie's death prove one tribulation too many?
Much may depend on how familiar (or different) the format looks and feels to fans this season. With the additional exits of Zach Appleman and Nikki Reed, accompanied by season 3's villains Shannyn Sossamon and Peter Mensah, a soft reboot was necessary, if only to give Ichabod someone to talk to this Winter.
What does this reboot mean for the theme and tone of show and its characters going forward? Let's break down what's different vs what remains the same.
Rebooting the Formula
This wouldn’t be the first time Sleepy Hollow has executed a soft reboot of sorts. Characters played by Katia Winter, Neil Jackson, John Noble, Orlando Jones, and Zach Appleman were all axed in previous seasons to make allowances for shifts in storytelling. Now, with the loss of Nicole Behaire — one half of Team Witness — many will want to know if the show is still Sleepy Hollow without her. Just how many times can a series be rebooted before it becomes unrecognizable?
While that’s not for us to say, we can tell you that the premiere episode is a spiritual successor of sorts to season one’s pilot, with Crane finding himself in a strange location, friendless, and up against a formidable enemy. It’s familiar territory that long-term fans of the show will instantly recognize and feel at home with.
To overcome the many obstacles he faces, Ichabod will have to win friends and influence people, all while dressed in colonial garb and talking like a man from another century. Sound familiar?
Also, remember that moment from the pilot episode where Ichabod stumbled onto a road and was almost run over by a car? The show famously reprised that moment when Abbie found herself transported into the past in season 2 finale. Look for a similar (but far noisier) moment in the season 4 premiere.
The city may be different. The characters may be new, but the vibe is definitely the same. Which brings us to our next point.