In a move that defies reason, Fox has renewed Sleepy Hollow for a fourth and very different season. It’s hard for Sleepyheads to rejoice when they know that Nicole Beharie will not be returning to play Abbie Mills opposite of Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane.
The question of whether a show can survive without the female lead is still unknown. Castle was planning to return without Castle’s partner against crime and wife, Detective Kate Beckett. Word was that Nathan Fillion had agreed to return and they were planning a tragic death for Stana Katic’s character, Kate. Her departure was supposed to be a money saving move for the network that would allow the show to go on for another season. Tamala Jones was also leaving the show for the upcoming ninth season. However, whether it was the fan outcry or a moment of good sense, ABC cancelled Castle. It’s sad to see it go, but hopefully it will end with the main relationship intact.
Not so Sleepy Hollow. Abbie Mills died last season. Joe Corbin, played by Zach Appelman, was also killed off at the end of last season. Only four regulars are slated to return next season: Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane, Lyndie Greenwood as Abbie Mills’ sister Jenny, and newcomers Lance Gross as Daniel Reynolds, and Jessica Camacho as FBI agent Sophie Foster. Since Jenny was Abbie’s sister, Daniel Reynolds was Abbie’s possible love interest and boss, and Sophie Foster was Abbie’s coworker, it’s hard to see how they will fit into the new season. Sleepy Hollow has made radical changes every season. The first season was fresh and different. The second season became bogged down in family drama. By the third season Crane’s wife and son were destroyed. The third season became a monster of the week show with Pandora being the hostess for the monsters. Major characters were lost each season: Captain Irving, Katrina and Henry Parrish. John Cho’s Andy Brooks disappeared as mysteriously and thoroughly as Richie Cunningham’s older brother did on Happy Days.
The fourth season seems to be shaping up to be a twistery version of The X-Files.
Lyndie Greenwood was a guest on the couch on the Talking Dead right after Sleepy Hollow’s finale. When asked what she thought about Nicole Beharie’s departure, she replied that she didn’t know how they were going to do it without her.
The fourth season will answer two questions: how many times can a show reinvent itself without losing all of its viewers? And how important is the distaff side of a working and possibly romantic partnership? I doubt, however, that there’s an answer for why a show with a missing lead and low ratings was renewed.
Fox will reveal its full lineup and 2016-2017 schedule on Monday, May 16.