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 Comparing Orci/Kurtzman to JJAbrams: Sleepy Hollow & Almost Human

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Elliot
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PostSubject: Comparing Orci/Kurtzman to JJAbrams: Sleepy Hollow & Almost Human   Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:24 am

Before we get to going over episodes of 'Sleepy Hollow', which I want to do, I've been trying to find a way to approach the post-'Fringe' thing of these two shows.  I immediately liked 'Sleepy Hollow' better, and have been working on why.  

It should be easy to like 'Almost Human', it's got the sci-fi thing and the fish out of water thing, and the odd-pair thing, and procedural, all of which I like.  And 'Sleepy Hollow' should be too silly, too fantasy/cheesy-witchery for me.

But here's the thing: 'Sleepy Hollow' leaves room for natural behavior, space for acting beats to get to you, and refuses to take itself too seriously.  It also relies a whole lot more on acting than on blowing things up or sfx-fights.  Characters do more than get shot or beat up.

It's also scarier in its scary scenes than 'Almost Human' is.  That surprised me tonight, comparing them back to back; must be the lighter, more lyrical touch with the camera, and the more reserved hand with violence.  

Watching 'Almost Human' is like being smacked in the head with a paperback crime novel for an hour while someone shouts at you, with brief obligatory Nice Hero sequences for the human lead, and (surprise!) Nicer-Human sequences for Dorian.

One thing I do approve of in having Dorian be black instead of white--when I thought he was only being used as Magic Negro I was worried----but in having him show essential humanity and the Nice (white human) Hero be slow to accept that, points out some of the shame in the way US entertainment has treated blacks; the audience here is rooting for Dorian to be accepted as equal and not as less than human.

'Sleepy Hollow' doesn't reach for that kind of Lesson, but it doesn't have to have such big things to justify its storyline, though some of the fans seem pretty backward about the idea of romance for Abbie and Ichabod.

If the two shows are the get of 'Fringe', I think I can see that the sweeter-natured parts of 'Fringe', the more human and funny, less angry, though perhaps eerie and even frightening, parts come from Orci/Kurtzman, and the techno-wizbang, green-neon, fast-cut, over-edited, over-flashy parts were JJ's.

I half like, and half wince, at the repeating of 'Fringe' lines and themes in 'Sleepy Hollow'...tonight's ad for next week, for example, "how far would a father go.." and there's John Noble.... that's all too tacky for words, for me.  We don't need a big neon sign pointing out what came before, this story can stand on its own, and I think it will be better when it does.

I'm also a bit put off at the need for the sister, and the dead witch-wife, and Irving's family, all as dysfunctional as possible.  I had perhaps mistakenly put that stuff in 'Fringe' down to mostly Wyman and Pinkner, but maybe it's not.. or maybe O/K think it's the done thing.

I adore the lighting, and the filming, and the breathing space given by showing the countryside, and building exteriors. And I love the comedic bits of Ichabod coming to terms with modernity, crankily.  And I love that Abbie tells him to shape up when he gets all worked up.

Tonight's episode (a rerun of 'Blood Moon') had some great cinematic moments, especially when Sydilla (sp?) eased her spirit self down into her bones, and when her body shook and took form in a shower of blood red crystals.  That was beautiful and alarming at the same time.  

Can 'Sleepy Hollow' keep up its story into, and past, season two?  For now, I hope so, I am enjoying it immensely, and want to get to know Ichabod and Abbie more, and to see the clever ways K/O work American history into the occult and conspiracy themes.  I await the Marquis de Lafayette (for whom my great-grandfather was named, incidentally!) for example.

I do hope they avoid the PROPHECY thing that boxed in 'Buffy' and pretty much derailed 'Fringe'.. and that they drop the whole magic baby thing before it starts. That ruined X-Files for me..and anyone who reads me here knows how I feel about superheroes vs humans.

One funny thing: they keep referring to Crane as a time traveller, when in fact he's resurrected from the dead.  But they are juggling so many paranormalities, it's not surprising some get mixed.

For now, 'Almost Human' is a chore to watch, and 'Sleepy Hollow' is a joy.

What do you think?

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