'Sleepy Hollow' is fall TV's improbably great new series

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Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 12:00 am

If you watch the pilot episode of the new Fox series “Sleepy Hollow,” the question that pops into your head might well be: “What's scarier? The Headless Horseman with a broad-axe? Or the Headless Horseman with a machine gun?"

Those two implements of death provide a handy metaphor for this latest incarnation of Irving's oft-told tale. The first episode is laid out in broad, cutting strokes, and the backstory details come rapid-fire at the viewer at a pace so breathless as to obscure how preposterous it all is. Not that this is a bad thing. To the contrary, the premiere of “Sleepy Hollow” might well be the most exciting, hypnotic hour of series television I have seen since “24” got the, um, axe.

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