I missed the first episode of Sleepy Hollow last week, but I managed to catch it last night and I have to say I’m unimpressed.
Of course it’s not for the reason you might think: the show is reasonably entertaining. High production values with special effects and makeup add a nice touch, and the acting isn’t awful. Sure the writing is formulaic and there’s way too much exposition, but what do you expect?
No, my problem is with the setting and how the village of Sleepy Hollow is depicted. Yes I can hear you rolling your eyes now at my inner sperglord, but if you’re going to set your god damned television show in a real world town you need to put some verisimilitude in there.
Listen: I’m a New Yorker. I’ve been to Sleepy Hollow, back when it was just known as North Tarrytown (the town voted to change their name to Sleepy Hollow in 1996 to attract more tourism), so I’ve got a vested interest in these schmucks actually getting things right.
Unfortunately, they did not.
First of all, there’s a “Welcome to Sleepy Hollow” sign featured in the pilot that records the population of 144,000. Of course, the real Sleepy Hollow is only home to 9,967 people according to the 2010 census – that’s one hell of a population explosion in just a few years. The hits keep on coming, though; much of the action in the show revolves around the police in Sleepy Hollow, namely the local sheriff’s department. This is all well and good except for one tiny detail: there is no Sleepy Hollow Sheriff’s Department.
You see, the state of New York divides its sheriff departments largely by county. The only sheriff department for Sleepy Hollow would be the Westchester County Sheriff, which is under the aegis of the county’s Department of Public Safety. Now don’t get me wrong: there’s a police presence in Sleepy Hollow, but it’s just a regular old police department. They’ve got less than 30 officers. They do have four crossing guards though!
I swear, Washington Irving is most likely spinning in his grave so fast that he could generate enough electricity to run the town for weeks.