By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Time travel + spooky mystery = zesty TV fantasy.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show is ostensibly on the side of law and order, but the goings-on are so sensationalized and fantastic that sometimes it's hard to tell.
Positive Role Models
The cast boasts extensive racial and ethnic diversity, with people of color in lead roles. Main character Abbie Mills is hardworking and loyal.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of violence and implied violence: shootings, beheadings, deaths of characters we've gotten to know. There is some blood but low gore, plus plenty of disturbing images such as frequent sights of a headless body. A menacing, dark tone runs throughout as characters are stalked and often killed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Expect flirting and romance.
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Occasional language like: "Get in the damned car."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sleepy Hollow is a fast-paced, scary crime-and-fantasy series that uses the classic Washington Irving tale as a jumping-off point. The plot involves a time-traveling headless horseman who kills others by stalking and beheading them, so expect to see lots of shots of headless necks, heads flying through the air, axes being swung menacingly, etc. There is also scary imagery: The headless horseman riding through the moonlight, dark woods, lightning. The show is much too scary for young kids, even though they may be fascinated by its fantastic premise and appealing lead actors. Teens and mature tweens should be able to handle the level of violence and intensity, and may enjoy the show for its sci-fi/mystery twists and turns.
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Based on 3 parent reviews
If you like to be spooked out a little bit this is kind of fun
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Don't let the title fool you
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What's the Story?
In a twist on the classic creepy legend, SLEEPY HOLLOW recasts Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) as a time-traveling soldier who dies on a battlefield in the midst of slaying the creepy headless horseman, and wakes up in modern-day Sleepy Hollow, population 144,000. Everyone Crane knew and loved, including his enchanting wife Katrina, who had secrets of her own, is now dead. But the horseman, not so much -- he's accompanied Crane to modern times and is stalking the residents of Sleepy Hollow and trying to obtain a mysterious talisman for nefarious purposes. Now Crane teams up with police detective Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) to catch the horseman and solve the mystery gripping the terrified town of Sleepy Hollow.
Is It Any Good?
Time travel, the undead, and a National Treasure-style mystery all rolled into one? Sign us up for this guilty pleasure, which has a cool premise: What if the faceless (literally, in this case) killer stalking a town is a supernatural being who can only be stopped with a combination of Law & Order-style police work and supernatural intervention?
Not only that, but near-unknown lead Tom Mison as Crane is both cute of face and pleasant of manner; Nicole Beharie as the crimefighter he teams up with is charmingly tart and intrepid. And all the mysterious goings on, which involve a lot of flashbacks in period dress, will make teens and adults alike swoon.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the original Washington Irving story Sleepy Hollow. How is this adaptation different? How is it the same? Why would the showrunners have changed the original legend?
Can you think of any other shows on the air that have a fantasy premise like the one on Sleepy Hollow? What about shows like Once Upon a Time or Teen Wolf? How are these shows like or different from Sleepy Hollow?
Sleepy Hollow brings in a time-traveling aspect not present in the original story. Why would time travel be attractive as a plot point on a fantasy show?
- Premiere date: September 16, 2013
- Cast: Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones, Tom Mison
- Network: Fox
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: January 1, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate