Sleepy Hollow takes the well-known legendary Washington Irving story of a headless horseman and transports the characters to present day to create a fish out of water premise that mixes fantasy, humor, and end of world impending doom.

The timid Ichabod Crane is smartly transformed from a nervous schoolteacher into an English revolutionary war soldier fighting on the side of the American rebels.

The headless horseman in this update is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse foretold in The Bible’s Book of Revelation. It’s on the battlefield that Ichabod first faces the infamous horseman and beheads him after being mortally wounded himself. Of course, this being a fantasy, Ichabod and the horseman are bound together by blood and a magical spell cast by Ichabod’s beloved wife Katrina, a witch.

Before you can say decapitation, Ichabod wakes up in a cave in modern day Sleepy Hollow to face the horseman and a proliferation of Starbucks coffee shops, women in trousers and excessive taxes. In one of the funniest lines so far Ichabod is outraged by the “10 percent levy on baked goods,” those goods being donut holes. Continue reading »

Human cloning is a fascinating idea. Probably only identical siblings can even come close to knowing what it would feel like to have carbon copies of yourself walking around. That’s the premise of the BBC America series Orphan Black.

Tatiana Maslany is Sarah a troubled, punk, single mom who discovers that she is a clone. Rescued from an orphanage, she and her foster brother Felix (Jordan Gavaris), a cheeky out and proud fountain of witty one-liners are raised by Mrs. S (Maria Doyle kennedy) who leaves England with the two in search of a better life for them. The show gets off to a quick start in the opening scene with Sarah’s fateful encounter on a train platform with Beth, a well-dressed woman who looks exactly like her and turns out to be a police detective.

She soon discovers there are more versions of herself out there and that someone wants them eliminated after she takes on the identity of one of the dead clones. Sarah’s plan is to stick around long enough to get a large amount of cash that’s due her dearly departed double and leave town with her daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler) and Felix. Surprise—the plot thickens, complications ensue and she’s sucked into the clone conspiracy mystery while trying to survive. Continue reading »

You have to be willing to completely suspend disbelief in order to enjoy The Following. Otherwise, don’t watch the show because from the very beginning there are plot holes so big they could form new galaxies. Once you start watching though you won’t be able to stop. The Following is as addictive as it is unbelievable.

The show centers on convicted serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and the ex-FBI agent who put him away Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon.) Hardy, who wears a pacemaker as a result of his near deadly encounter with Carroll, has written a book about his experience and descended into the life of a lonely alcoholic. He’s roused from his self-destructive spiral when he’s called back into service after Carroll escapes from prison.

The first couple of episodes, which set up Carroll’s use of Edgar Allen Poe’s writings in his crimes, are the weakest. The agents act astounded when they hear the phrase “The eyes are the window to the soul” as if this observation, which has become a cliché were a novel idea. This is heavy-handed, paint by numbers Poe symbolism that a middle school student could easily decipher.   Continue reading »

End of Watch follows two street cops Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) as they patrol the gang infested neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. The film uses the now familiar device of showing the action through the lens of a camera. At first this overused gimmick is distracting but as Brian and Mike go about their day, the camera settles down and the technique delivers a voyeuristic quality and a sense of urgency to the unfolding action.

The camaraderie between Brian and Mike is the heart of the film. The relationship between the two feels lived in and authentic from the start. You believe these two guys are cops and best friends. Peña and Gyllenhaal both give natural and organic performances. They both are at times funny, charming, vulnerable and tough. There’s an unpretentious, stripped down quality to the dialogue and story that makes it feel real and immediate. Continue reading »

LouieLouie presents a fully defined world-view that feels totally real and relatable. The show has a matter of fact honesty that is stripped of any showiness or self-aware hipness and that may be its strongest point and the reason for its appeal. If you’re looking for a comedy loaded with witty banter and pop culture references, keep on clicking because you won’t find it on Louie.

What you will find instead is a character based show rooted in the experiences of an everyday guy who isn’t part of the cool, attractive crowd but one of the masses who just happens to be a comedian. Louie is a divorced dad of 42 with two young daughters trying to do his best as a father and a human being while suffering indignities big and small and occasionally messing up as we all do.

While Louie does present a three dimensional flawed individual who is socially awkward and often bewildered by those around him including his own daughters it also gives audiences one of the most nuanced and raw portraits of an adult male on television. As the season goes on, Louie emerges as a man with a clear set of principles rooted in a common sense and fair-minded broad view that the world doesn’t owe anyone anything. Continue reading »

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