Sleepy Hollow. Episode 2

Shows — especially cop shows — love to portray rule-breakers. Search warrants? Search warrants are for protocol-followers. We’re renegades. We don’t need ’em. Luckily, the show ends when the serial killer gets put in the cop car and not when he’s found not guilty because the crucial evidence was gathered without a search warrant. So, BOOM RENEGADES. HIGH FIVE.

I’m OK with a little light rule breaking. It’s a crucial ingredient for many good shows. But seriously, Sleepy Hollow. Your rule breaking is getting way out of hand.

The second episode, “Blood Moon,” starts off with Ichabod Crane waking up in a cheap motel room guarded by a police officer. Why is Crane being imprisoned here against his will?

“It’s the law,” says Abbie, his cop companion. Yes, friends, it’s the law that police witnesses like Crane must be locked away in hotel rooms until needed. Abbie alone has the power to release him from her custody. When Crane protests, she argues, “It’s a little early in the morning for a constitutional debate.” But she needs one! Desperately!

Not only does Abbie refuse to release Crane, she also drives him to crime scenes. At one, he literally pokes a dead corpse. Oh no, it’s fine. Let the strange Revolutionary War reenactor touch the homicide victim. No wonder there are so many unsolved crimes in your town!

Lest you sense antagonism between Crane and Abbie, fear not. They’re a committed team. She even marvels at his ability to speak multiple languages (His explanation? He has a photographic memory. But … that’s not how language learning works.). FOX is banking on their chemistry, as we learn. According to prophesy, Crane and Abbie will team up for seven years to save the world. Seven years?!?! FOX thinks they can milk this concept for seven seasons?! It’s the world’s most optimistic variation of leaving the door open for a sequel.

FINAL RATING

2 stars out of 5

Major docking of points for the incredibly disappointing revelation that John Cho isn’t dead. He gets resurrected by Satan to be his evil minion (reason why not given). Let this be a lesson to you stoner teenagers: White Castle is the gateway drug to eternal damnation and perpetual servitude to the Lord of the Flies.

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Sleepy Hollow. The pilot.

“Don’t you find it odd? All the unsolved cases around here?” the sheriff of Sleepy Hollow muses over a cup of coffee in the FOX pilot.

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Forty-some minutes and four brutal murders later, a compelling case has been made that Sleepy Hollow is the murder capital of the world. El Salvador ain’t got shit on this small town in upstate New York.

Do you like historical accuracy? Literary adaptations? Gun control? Then do not watch this program. The central character has been asleep for 250 years but wakes up looking like Abercrombie and Fitch Jesus: sexy yet beardy and dirty. If you can’t accept that this version of Ichabod Crane is evenly matched with a headless Hessian wielding several semi-automatic weapons, then this is not the show for you.

Beyond the obvious sci fi lunacy, Sleepy Hollow brings us back down to earth with one of my favorite bad TV hallmarks: unintentionally inept cops. Here’s what goes down in my single favorite scene from the pilot:

Having just witnessed the Headless Horseman behead the town sheriff, our heroine Abbie Mills radios for backup. She’s alone in the rural outskirts of town. Who should respond but JOHN CHO, who is making the rounds in his squad car on Main Street.

Seconds after receiving her call, John Cho slams on the brakes and aggressively (“PUT YOUR HANDS UP OR I’LL SHOOT”) apprehends total stranger Ichabod Crane. Both of these men are many, many miles from the scene of the crime, but I guess a downed office isn’t as important as this vagrant-looking guy who, honestly, is way less homeless-y than 90% of the people I see outside the metro every morning. John Cho: world’s most easily distracted cop.

“Yeah, I’m sure it’s him” Abbie says when she sees Ichabod Crane at the station. She then goes on to describe a murderer as a man in a red coat (not him), with a brand on his hand (nope, not him) and no head (still not him). Despite these obvious facts, she threatens to shoot Crane not once but twice.

Ichabod Crane has got the makings of a great civil suit here. The police department will have to settle for sure. Continue reading

A brief treatise on bad television

The moment I knew The White Queen was my type of bad television came about 30 minutes into the first episode. King Edward IV is welcoming guests to the castle and, half-heartedly hidden behind two large banners, you can clearly see modern handrails on the stairway of a 15th century royal castle.

Say what you will about the sons of York, but at least they believed in making England handicap accessible.

When people think of “bad TV,” shows like Survivor or Desperate Housewives come to mind. But I’d argue that most of the crap on TV isn’t bad; it’s horribly mediocre. Mediocrity is the worst. It doesn’t inspire; it doesn’t amuse. It just bores.

You will rarely, if ever, see a sitcom on this blog.  I could watch 100 episodes of The Big Bang Theory and guess the ending of every one of them. The same cannot be said for a bad show like CW’s Beauty and the Beast. I never know what’s going to happen on that train wreck. Hell, neither do the writers. It excites me week after week. It always surprises.

Chuck Lorre is the modern master of mediocrity. His shows neither offend nor challenge. No one “doesn’t get” Two and a Half Men. People watch shows like his not because they are good or bad, but because they’re eating a Doritos Locos taco and it’s on.

(Note: People who think the average American has no standards when it comes to television are wrong. If you need an example, wait and see what happens to Fox’s new show Dads.)

If aliens one day find Comcast suddenly streaming to their mothership, I hope they don’t watch The Voice first. They’ll probably have to destroy us, having seen evidence of our pathetic fame-mongering and desperate desire for approval. But I wouldn’t mind if they saw an episode of something like The Vampire Diaries.

At worst, they think we’re a bunch of incredibly beautiful but emotionally unbalanced creatures. But at best they realize that in spite of a deadly vampire/werewolf invasion, humans can still put on a pretty great 1950s-themed school dance. And that’s got to count for something.

Previewing ABC’s fall lineup: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

While I was watching the trailer for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, I noticed “TOP 10 BEST CAT VIDEOS OF ALL TIME” in the queue.

‘Man, I wonder what they are,’ I thought. ‘I bet I’ve seen all of them. Wow, it’s got over three million views. It must be really cute. Oh great, the male love interest just said: ‘When you really love someone, you don’t need proof.’ Preteen girls are going to put that on photosets and think it’s profound… I hope Maru made the list of best cat videos. Jesus, how long till this horrible trailer is over?!’

Anticipation is the wrong word for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. It’s more like trepidation. They couldn’t even make the three-minute spot interesting. It’s not that hard. The trailer for The Phantom Menace fooled us into thinking it would be a worthy addition to the franchise, for god’s sake.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland — a silly name that I’m sure fans are already abbreviating to OUTW, which sounds like a  lesbian special interest magazine — stars an older, milquetoast version of Alice. She’s got Bella syndrome: She’s not that pretty, not that interesting and not that dynamic. But she’s a blank slate for hormonal teenage girls to project themselves onto. That’s fine, but it sure isn’t good.

Bland Alice and the sexy genie she finds in a bottle (uh … not canon) adventure together in the world’s cheapest CGI landscape. It’s as if the hookah-smoking caterpillar upgraded to harder stuff, put on some house music and gave an animation software program a 14-day free trial. The floating islands in the sky look great, Caterpillar. Really makes you feel like you’re in a video game in 1998.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Maru came in fifth in the 10 best cat videos of all time. Which, if you ask me, is a load of crap.

ANTICIPATION RATING:

1/2 star out of 5 — If Alice goes through with the lobotomy, it’s going to be difficult to discern a difference in her speech or behavior.

ODDS IT GETS CANCELED:

OFF — Not only does it look awful, it’s in the ABC deathslot: Thursdays at 8 pm. But the fanfiction will live on forever.

Previewing TV’s fall lineup: The Schedule

I use the summer TV drought to catch up on old shows. Good ones. Like Deadwood. And Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Right now I’m on day two of a marathon binge of American Horror Story and I can’t make eye contact with myself in the bathroom mirror because OH GOD I’M SO AFRAID.

But fall TV is just around the corner! Here’s a peek at the joy and pain that awaits me over the course of the next few months:

Monday

9/16 — Sleepy Hollow

10/7 — Beauty and the Beast

Prediction: Post-viewing catatonic state

Tuesday

10/8 — The Originals

Prediction: This almost doesn’t count as bad TV. Everyone knows the real star of The Vampire Diaries is Klaus. A whole show about him is going to be awesome and probably a respite for my brain after the stupid of Monday night.

Wednesday

10/9 — The Tomorrow People

Prediction: I’ll last two Wednesdays before deciding that reruns of the fourth season of Top Model are better than this unimaginative drudgery.

Thursday

10/3 — The Vampire Diaries

10/10 — Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

10/17 — Reign

Prediction: Face-melting awesomeness. CAN’T WAIT.

Friday

10/25 — Dracula

Prediction: I’ll try not to think about how I’m spending Friday nights alone watching Dracula while I spend my Friday night alone watching Dracula.