Last November, FOX announced that "Sleepy Hollow," which had been under-performing in terms of ratings, would move to Friday nights at 8pm, when it returned after the holidays, with all-new episodes on Feb. 5.
This was the 3rd time the network shifted the show’s air date and time. In its first season, it was a Monday night series, airing after "Gotham;" and this current season, it was initially moved to Thursday nights, competing directly with "Shonda Rhimes Night" on ABC ("Scandal" specifically). And finally, starting in February of 2016, it headed to Friday nights at 8pm.
And as I’ve said before on this blog, Friday nights are often where TV shows are sent to die. So I figured that, with the move, it was very likely that this would be the last season for "Sleepy Hollow" – unfortunately for the show’s creators, actors, and fans.
But maybe it’s not so unfortunate anymore for one of the series’ stars – Nicole Beharie – who is leaving the show.
“’Sleepy Hollow’ has been an incredible experience in every way. I loved playing Abbie. It’s been such a gift to have taken this wild ride… Alas, Abbie Mills has done all she was meant to do," Beharie said in a released statement. "I’m excited about what the show has in store for us next. I’m rooting for my co-stars and crew… they have been my inspiration, my teachers, family, my friends, over the last few seasons. I want to thank the fantastic producers, writers, and directors who have worked tirelessly to bring this show to life. I want to thank Fox for their faith and support. But, most of all, Sleepyheads for all of your love – what an honor. I will never be the same. Stay tuned.”
Stay tuned indeed. Of course we’re all wondering what’s next for her, and anxious to find out.
Meanwhile, producers of "Sleepy Hollow" issued a statement of their own: “We feel we provided a wonderfully poignant conclusion for Abbie and showed some of the best moments between the Witnesses that we’ve seen on-screen. We thank Nicole Beharie for bringing Abbie and ‘Sleepy Hollow’ to life. We are currently discussing Season 4, and should the series be picked up for another season, we have some exciting scenarios and new avenues we want to explore.”
I must admit that I haven’t kept up with the series since its first season. But what I did read (SPOILERS!!!!), and what fans of the series will know is that (SPOILERS!!!!) Beharie’s character (SPOILERS!!!!) was killed in the most recent episode. The producers described it as a “tragic death” adding that it was a “bold move” for the series.
Indeed. She’s the lead, right? You don’t kill off one of your leads and expect the show to continue. Then again, from all I’ve heard and read from diehard fans of the series, her character had been essentially pushed to the background as her white male lead co-star’s story became even more central to the series’ overall plot, as secondary (white) characters were introduced that amplified his story and, in effect, seemed to quiet hers. And many stopped watching soon after they felt that this was the case. Hence (in part), ratings that continuously declined as she was the reason why many watched the series in the first place. The writing may have also had something to do with it – especially during the second season, as I’ve been told.
You’ll recall last year when another of the show’s co-stars, Orlando Jones, left the series at the end of season 2. At the time it was announced, no reasons were given for his exit, but it came after original series showrunner, Mark Goffman, left his position before the announcement of its season 3 renewal (he was replaced by Clifton Campbell).
Several months after leaving the series, Jones addressed his exit during a video-taped Q&A session with fans who submitted questions via Twitter.
“What led to me leaving was, they changed the show. There is no headless horseman,” Jones says in the video. “When we started on ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ there was a headless horseman, and he had a shotgun. You know how awesome that was?”
He also talked about the demon Moloch, adding that without key villains, “I don’t know who [Captain] Frank Irving [the character he played on the show] would be fighting against,” Jones said.
He did say that the series creators are “awesome guys," but ultimately, it wasn’t necessarily his decision to leave: "They kinda asked me to leave, so I don’t know why they are acting like I ran off and left," he added as he laughed.
I shared my surprise when Fox announced in March of last year that it had renewed the series for a third season, given the sharp drop in ratings the series suffered from season 1 to season 2. For example, its season 1 premiere drew over 10 million viewers, while its season 2 premiere episode drew half of that number, at just over 5 million viewers – a 50% drop. And season 2 ratings only got worse as it progressed, leading to its season finale at the end of February of 2015, which drew just over 4 million viewers during its time slot.
It was a let-down of a season 2 for fans, if my Twitter feed was any indication, with many decrying what they felt was a downgrading of the character played by Beharie, as she effectively became a supporting character in her own series. I watched the first half of the first season, but, despite what I felt were a really promising first 3 episodes, the series quickly lost its appeal to me, and with so much else competing for my attention, I moved on. But I think it was a wonderful opportunity that the show’s producers screwed up. I recall being hooked after the very first episode, and shared my excitement for what I hoped would come, on this blog.
I wish Nicole Beharie well. She’s an actress I’d like to believe still has a lot of great work ahead of her, if given the opportunities. Her IMDB page doesn’t list any upcoming projects, film or TV. So let’s hope that changes soon.