Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why I miss Sleepy Hollow and what I want from Season 2

You guys, seriously, thirteen episodes isn't enough when the majority of other shows are twice that and are still on. I mean, I love the format, and I firmly believe that keeping the number of eps per season short is a lot of what makes this show a chunk of concentrated awesome...but I miss it so much now. And the fall is really far away.

In the order of whatever I remember first, I miss:

  • The interplay between the characters--old-fashioned vs modern, English vs American, skeptic vs believer, boss vs underling, secrets vs trust, navigating a really weird new reality while living in the normal world you have to protect.
  • The chemistry between Abby and Crane, totally regardless of where it goes (though I do want them to make out, like, all the time).
  • The well-handled melodrama--it's epic in the real sense of the word, affecting everything and everyone, and it's totally nutbars, but it's also anchored with real, relatable emotions to honest, likable characters.
  • The breakneck pace that shatters usual expectations of how shows run--there were numerous times through the season where I thought "well, this'll be, like, a third-season arc" and instead it's the next episode or two, letting us get to the meat of the stories as well as letting us get past the expectations and into new ground.
  • The diversity of the cast and how it closer shows how the real world looks even though the setting of the show is pretty dang far from reality as we know it.
  • The gleeful sense of play--with history, religion, mythology, culture, time, backstory, basically everything, it's all up for grabs.
  • How there's not really any other shows like it on TV*, and therefore it's an oasis of differentness on the networks**.
  • It has such rich storylines! Everyone has something that you can really get your teeth into, and all of it weaves artfully back into the main storyline so that everything matters, and the fact that they're all here because of a prophesy actually seem accurate and not just convenient and incidental.
  • How it swings effortlessly between really sad and really funny, without either making the show depressing or stupid.
  • The uncertainty--which is weird, because usually not knowing what's going on annoys me, but in this show, anything could go any way, and even when it goes in a predictable way, they do it with flare and energy so that it feel new. 
  • The way you can sometimes see the influences--there's Supernatural, but there's also a feel of X-Files sometimes, a little of Fringe, a little Indiana Jones or National Treasure or, like, every show on History Channel about Templars and Masons and secret knowledge and conspiracies ever--but how it takes those influences and makes them its own so that it feels like a logical next show to watch, not like a rip off.
Last season was a string of good episodes, with a high proportion of very good and a low proportion of what-the-hell-was-that, and that, of course, is what I most want from Season 2, regardless of anything else. I want the quality and the pace to continue no matter what they do with these suddenly beloved characters. 

That said, I'm a writer, and I love playing with story, so here's what I want to see from everyone when they come back:

Icky really needs some time to process everything. Toward the end of the season, he was starting to crack a little, and if he doesn't get some downtime to journal it out or discover modern psychotherapy, I fear for his sanity.

I want him to question everything--his wife's motives, General Washington's involvement, the loyalties of everyone he knew back then and everyone he's met since waking up. Because he was put on this path, and someone along the way has to know more than they're saying.

I also hope he never fully adapts to the modern world, but does continue to find things he likes in it--like Jared in Pretender finding all his snacks.

I hope she saves herself. I mean, I hope Ichabod keeps his promise and finds a way back to Purgatory to get her back, but by then she's already gotten herself out of the Safe House and figured out the rules of how the otherworld works, and gotten herself to where she can meet him. It would be cool if, along the way, she also finds out some truths about herself, her place in the prophesy, how to work against it, the Great Plan, etc, too.

I really want to see more of her Tomb Raider life--I want to know just how deep her relationship with Corbin was, I want to see her pulling in favors from her contacts, and maybe a few of them becoming regular characters to help with the cause, and I want to see her and Abs working as a team. I have a theory that she's supposed to be a protector for the Witnesses, a sacred warrior or something, and it would be so cool if I was right about that.

Also, I really want her to punch Ichabod for leaving her sister, and maybe to get into it with Katrina, because that would be awesome.

They keep coming back to their joint and weird past, and I really want it to have meant something. Their dad left early--so maybe he was seduced by evil, or he was a member of a shady secret society that may or may not be a help to them, or he was trying to protect his girls from something supernatural he was involved in, or he was doing what one or the both of them are doing now. Something. Their mother went mad and died, but she also made sure they both know the Bible backwards and forward, and she encouraged other esoteric knowledges in them--so maybe she knew what they were and the fear and stress is what drove her crazy, or maybe she was a prophet that no one listened to and it led things to where they are now, or maybe she was something they missed doing / saving / learning from in their shared past.

He took the fall for his daughter, and I don't want Maddie to go to jail or anything, but Frank can't stay in jail. A segment of the internet seems to think he'll be the next new Horseman, and that would break my heart but could be a really good story. Even better, personally, is I'd like to see him almost become the Horseman, and then halt it himself because he likes Team Good and doesn't want to kill them--and then redeems himself without dying and brings useful knowledge back to them so that he can act in all of this, instead of constantly having to react.

I want to see her being the powerful badass everyone says she is, and if she does it in some other way than knocking heads together, that'd he super-awesome, too. I want to see her take responsibility for the fact that literally all of this is because of her--her choice to save Ichabod, her abandonment of her son, etc etc--and I want it to be because of something greater than her being unable to deal. I really want it to be something that's not immediately good or bad, because real morality isn't just good or bad. I wrote more about her already on my writing blog before I started this one, and I still want most of what I said there.

I just am really sick of her being passive-- sent to Purgatory for hundreds of years to haunt her own house, used as a pawn to control the Horseman and then given to him like a ragdoll, sent on the run when she fell out with her coven. She needs to stand her ground somewhere, define herself as a character in a show full of defined characters.

MACY and her mom:
Macy now knows there's all sorts of crazy in the world, and she's sort of bonded with Jenny, so I want to see more of that. Maybe she gets Jenny to help her break her dad out of prison because her mom is in shock or denial and won't help. Or maybe she goes looking herself for some magical thing that can help and gets in trouble--or, conversely, doesn't get in trouble and does save the day so that everyone has to accept her as part of the team. 

I hope Cynthia either gets on board or leaves of her own accord--because if she's killed to get to Frank, that's the easy way out. It'd be awesome if she joined up and she and Macy were super-cool mother-daughter evil-fighters. I haven't decided yet if I want her and Frank to make up; I like him so much better with Jenny, but there must be a reason he married Cynthia to begin with, and she seems smart and competent so far.

I really want his story to be one about redemption. He's evil because of how he started out, but now he knows them and he knows they're good people, and I want Ichabod especially to fight through the pain and the fear and win him over to she side of good. They need a real, solid victory once in a while, and why not this one? Plus, having a son who's old enough to be your father is automatically interesting, interaction-wise.

He's already sort of a ghost in Abbie's head, but what if he's actually a ghost, still doing his work after death? He's still super mysterious, but what if he's connected to the Covens, what if they gave him the ability to come back as a spirit, or he stole it from them, or it's a curse, and what if in Season 1 he just didn't have the power yet to be visible to everyone? And I really want him to have safehouses, allies, hidden weapons, secret knowledge, lockboxes of artifacts, all over the town and the area, set up because he knew a lot more than he was sharing. He'd be the perfect one to serve as an usher to get everyone to where they needed to be to combat the end of the world, so it'd be cool if he knew that's what he was doing--and if he complicated it himself by getting emotionally involved.

They've got to start noticing that things are going weird and it's focused on their co-worker and her weird new partner and the new boss they hardly know. Lets see them joining up, or actively fighting against, or also being in the Covens.

It's still blurry about which is which--is Katrina really in a good coven, or was she a good person in a bad coven? Is there really a good side and a bad side when it comes to the witches? Who else is associated with them, and who is part of them? Is there a modern witch who could help them with all that, who would have 200 years more knowledge than Katrina, even if not her power?

  • How long until the Masons come looking for their dudes, and who will they blame for it?
  • How long before we meet actual Knights Templar?
  • If the Hessians are the ground force, what are their officers like? Are there other people there before we get to the demons calling the orders?
  • If these Horsemen are being built from flawed humans, where is the power coming from? Are there actual eternal forces of evil lurking behind the Veil, also waiting to come through? And if they do manage to properly defeat one, will they just build another out of some other flawed and angry human to replace him?
I'm sure there's more I could go on about, but this is getting long and losing focus--these last bits are multi-season stories, probs--so I'll leave it at that. But I will ask this: What do you want to see in Season 2 (or later)?

*The closest would be early seasons of Supernatural, which has a lot in common on bare facts--two people with secret knowledge against the apocalypse and all--but has a different dynamic. Also, SH seems to have learned from SPN, and skipped the lead up, just dived right into the moral stuff that took SPN longer to get to. Or Buffy, though it's more like a segment of Buffy--the part with Willow and Tara and Giles and magic, mostly.
**And I watch A LOT of TV between old fandoms still on, new fandoms emerging, Live Blogging, and the habits I developed when I was reviewing everything under the sun.
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