If you gave a 7th-grader a pan of cupcakes during American History, and he fell asleep during a Law and Order marathon while his siblings watched Charmed upstairs and his parents chatted about the historical intricacies of Anno 1790, and then he wrote down his dream and got a magical wish granted by a TV wizard, you'd have this show.
And it's JJ Abrams, so, yes!
But this beautiful trainwreck doesn't stop there. In fact, it doesn't even start there!
It starts with some actual draws in its stars, Nicole Beharie (Deserves Better Than Michael Fassbender woman, from Shame) and Tom Mison (Has Been Paying His Dues in Poirot Episodes and Supporting Parts in Miniseries So You've Probably Seen Him guy, from the UK). If it looks like she wants to murder him, that's probably about right.
They are both good, which is handy, since they're principally responsible for carrying the premise that Ichabod Crane has been raised from the dead as part of a mystical pact to stop the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, starting with the Headless Horseman and proceeding with what we can all assume is one additional Horseman per season, because Abrams is spectacularly handwavey but he'll make sure that a premise that can barely support an '80s B-comedy has a four-season gimmick. (That comedy would be Oh, Ichabod!, and star David Warner and Geena Davis.)
Joining them are Orlando Jones and John Cho, which is fun! (A friend asked me how Cho was being incorporated into the show; unaware she hadn't seen the trailer and thinking she was messing with me, I said he was either a cop or, in a twist, a stripper pretending he was a cop. His confused face here supports either theory. However, if it really was the second thing it would be the premise of an entire show on USA called Bare-ly Legal, where he's a hardworking single-dad stripper who always gets roped into solving crimes by people who assume he's an officer of the law and has an on-again-off-again relationship with a lady DA, and I would watch it every day of the week.)
Orlando Jones is the police chief! He's tired of all these murders in his tiny town! I bet he's going to be writing someone up about it and reminding everyone a lot about how in Sleepy Hollow they do things by the book. But can he be trusted? As our lead cop voiceovers, "I don't know who to trust," he gives us this face into an empty room:
Hmm, that COULD mean anything! I guess we don't know if we can trust him! It's hard to say.
We'll have to wait and see, I guess.
And of course, as the plot thickens with the clues in George Washington's Bible (you know the one), we'll be skillfully incorporating other speculative elements, elements that totally hold together without sounding like someone in a pitch meeting desperately spinning out his premise! Elements filled with strong women characters!
(Occurs under VO about two covens, "representing good and evil." This show knows it might lose you with its completely nonsense premise! It doesn't want to lose you! It will feed you all the thematic and plot help you need, to make sure you tune in to our buxom witch as she leans forward to enhance her urgencies! Wait, where are you going? Have a Starbucks joke, Ichabod's never seen a Starbucks! He probably gets startled by electric light! The Horseman has machine guns! COME BACK.)
However, the people for whom this show really is a gift? Dedicated reenactors who have spent their lives learning how to shove calico down rifle barrels for no payoff - until today. No more shall your glorious face be confined to fuzzy close-ups in History Channel documentaries, George Washington Man! (Now you get fuzzy close-ups on a network upfront.) May you fight valiantly with your fellow featured extras and explosion-operating crew members!
EAGLES FOR EVERYONE.
It looks like a disaster, and Abrams being involved pretty much seals it. However, I've been looking for an accidental comedy, and I'm pretty sure I've found it. See you then, Sleepy Hollow.
(Screencaps can't really do all that historical recreation justice. If you want the full impact of the Starbucks joke (Ichabod's never seen one!), you can see for yourself here.)