The dueling Ichabods of Sleepy Hollow

In yet another case of simultaneous development, two networks have ordered pilots for a new series called Sleepy Hollow.

As you may recall, Warner Bros. had been considering a Sleepy Hollow pilot for The CW. As soon as the network made the decision to order, however, Fox also ordered a pilot for a different, yet similarly show with the same name. At first Warner Bros. pulled back, unsure of the playing field, but now it has decided to move forward.

Perhaps network bigwigs remember what went down  with Beauty and the Beast when Warners and ABC ordered pilots for their respective networks. While both pilots were ultimately shot, only The CW’s Beauty and the Beast has been ordered up for a series which kicks off this fall.

The original Washington Irving story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, saw Ichabod Crane arrive in a small town to be its new school master. He was cowardly, pedantic, and skeptical, and when everyone warned him to avoid the forest at night, he ignored their backward superstitions and paid the ultimate price.

Interestingly, the two new television adaptations are much closer to the original than Beauty and the Beast.

To be sure, both rely on the ‘Crane as a detective’ interpretation developed for the Johnny Depp/Christina Ricci 1999 film – essentially moving the story into the modern world, while retaining supernatural/superstition elements.

Thus far, the only discernible difference is the official capacity of Crane. In the Fox iteration, Crane is a visitor to Sleepy Hollow who gets drawn into helping the town’s female sheriff to solve a series of supernatural murders. The CW iteration sees Crane as an FBI agent sent to the small town to investigate a series of murders with suspicious circumstances.

It’s hard to pick a favorite between the two concepts, and each network has done positive things with similarly themed shows in the past, so I wouldn’t mind if they both got ordered to series. Still, this is unlikely to happen. Of course, it’s also possible that neither show would make it to air, but I think that would be a shame, as the world is ready for a new Sleepy Hollow.

Both Sleepy Hollow shows are currently in pre-production at their prospective studios.