i watched the sleepy hollow pilot and knew i had to make this a thing

anonymous asked:

hello, do you mind me asking what happened with sleepy hollow? I only watched the first season lol

not at all! okay so first off, congratulations on escaping the train wreck early. second, there was a shitload of bs happening behind the scenes, 99% of which we are still in the dark about. the rest is under a cut bc damn.

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The only possible reason I ever fleetingly took an interest in Sleepy Hollow was Abbie Mills. I don’t watch TV shows much at all. Beyond the common increasing trend of, well, abandoning cable and network broadcast TV for internet TV services, I don’t even use much Netflix or whatever. But I took enough note to get the pilot on amazon when it got there, a few years ago while I was in school. With TV decreasing in relevance in many ways, that’s a major victory. Sleepy Hollow managed to get someone who wasn’t previously even a TV consumer to buy and consume its media. For a whole few hours, it had my ear.

And it was thanks to Abbie Mills. It was wholly because of her. Because of what a black woman contributes to a tired old genre riding Buffy and Charmed and Supernatural and we can continue going down the list with items of ever-decreasing quality. Abbie Mills needed to be there for the concept to be interesting to me. A Rip-Van-Winkle story of a man from the Revolutionary War? He’s only co-lead to a black woman cop in a modern setting fighting supernatural forces.

The implications of Abbie being there to inform the way the story could treat Ichabod, awareness of the history of blackness in the USA, gave the concept a rich potential that a white woman in the same place would not. It was a chance to kick calls to tradition in the teeth. (and modern racism loves those, to call back to a time when black people ‘knew their place). It was a chance for this white guy from the past who thought he was doing all the best for people who largely were at the time slaves, to learn to adapt to an emancipated world. It was a chance to take the tropes surrounding white women and purity and curses and corruption and smash it over our knee. The story would literally not be an interesting story without what Nicole Beharie brought to the concept through Abbie. It would never have caught my eye. Much less my money.

And I didn’t watch much beyond the pilot of Sleepy Hollow. Because it was soon extremely clear even early into the first season that while Abbie was supposed to be a lead, the show wasn’t going to ask the questions I hoped it would. It would shove her to the side for Ichabod unraveling mysteries about his dead white wife. It would make her go stand off somewhere while matters of importance progressed, until she and Ichabod had nothing to do with each other in how separate their interests and conflicts were.

And now she’s dead and any iota of interest I ever could have had is gone. TV is struggling. it’s struggling to make worthwhile concepts that catch interest. It’s struggling to retain an audience, or even identify who that audience is. But the simple act of just letting a black woman be the lead was a breath of life into stale urban fantasy tv drama. Just Beharie’s very presence was a reason to approach the concept in new ways and with fresh perspective and self-awareness. And it wasn’t a chance Sleepy Hollow chose to take. At this rate, TV producers have no right to wonder or complain about success or lack of success. Killing off black women, killing off lesbians and bi women characters, it’s killing off opportunities to do anything other than the same-old boring stuff. Which in business land is reliable.

Fox called Abbie’s tragic death “a bold move” but it’s not. It’s the least bold move possible, to kill off a black woman after she’s fulfilled her intended function. It would be one thing if it was Beharie’s stated choice to leave, so they killed her off… but I can’t find any information that indicates that.

Anyway regardless of what Abbie did for “building the mythology” of the series I honestly have to say I am not interested anymore. Because when you have the possibility of real history and real context and real content + meaning and you sacrifice it for… what? Any time someone chooses to move on from a black woman’s relevance like this because she’s used up or can do nothing more for a story they send a message about what they think black women are good for. And it’s the opposite message that I hoped to see when I was compelled enough to buy the pilot in the first place.