FOX has announced that supernatural underdog Sleepy Hollow will not be returning for a fifth season.
This news does not come as a complete surprise. The show spent its third and fourth seasons on the bubble, struggling with only modest viewership, as well as, fans would argue, a loss of creative direction. When Abbie, played by Nicole Beharie, was killed off in the Season 3 finale, many wondered if the show could survive without its female lead. The eventual move to Friday nights seemed to seal its fate.
For a unique drama with so much potential, it’s a shame Sleepy Hollow didn’t get the treatment it deserved. At its inception in 2013, the show was a breakout hit that nobody expected, blending the supernatural and the historical in ways that shouldn’t have worked yet somehow did. It was quirky, it was creative, and it was helmed by the entirely competent Tom Mison, whose Ichabod Crane remained the show’s highlight even as it galloped steadily towards its demise.
Sleepy Hollow ultimately became weighed down by its overly convoluted mythology, quickly losing the charm that had so colored its premier season. What was once fun and slightly odd became confusing and impossible to follow. In Season 4 the show had the opportunity to reinvent itself, to go back to what had made the show such a success in the first place (and to make up for Beharie’s shocking exit). Instead, it continued to struggle with finding its footing—or rather, rediscovering its footing—and not even Crane’s endlessly delightful bemusement at the features of the modern world could save it.
That being said, could we at least get a web series or something just featuring Mison’s Crane going through day to day life, without the monsters, demons, or impending apocalypses? Because I would watch that for hours.