July 20, 2014 6:14pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Sleepy Hollow' Gang Previews Season 2, Talk Ichabod/Abbie's 'Unconditional Friendship'
Sleepy Hollow is "batshit crazy," and it's staying that way for season two. With an underlying theme of war, it's hard not to.
From the start Fox's breakout freshman drama has churned out an impressive number of stories in a condensed period of time — something that has become a staple for Sleepy Hollow. For the show's stars and creative team, they've embraced it.
"There really is no shark to jump, because in the pilot, we kicked the shark in the teeth," actor Tom Mison told reporters during the Fox drama's Television Critics Association press tour session Sunday.
The way the co-creators justified it, as long as viewers invested on an emotional level with the characters, "the more we were allowed to play with the ridiculous, the absurd," co-creator/executive producer Len Wiseman said.
Naturally the conversation veered into the "beating heart" of the show, the undefinable relationship and partnership between Ichabod Crane (Mison) and Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie). "Their relationship is at the core of everything we do," executive producer/showrunner Mark Goffman said.
Wiseman theorized that the duo worked because they were in dire need for each other, even though they may not be aware of it. "Abbie and Crane need each other very desperately, and it's one of those things that got us excited about the pilot. This idea that, as a man out of time, he needs her for guidance, and she has been so alone her whole life … They have a unique connection from the start … The level of intimacy has to be played for what it honestly is, which is how much they need each other," he said.
Joked Mison: "And running around woods in the middle of the night chasing after monsters is profoundly erotic, and so sometimes I have to throw her a saucy look. Hashtag Ichabbie."
Executive producer Heather Kadin maintained that the Abbie-Ichabod pair was approached "as an unconditional friendship" and continues to "follow the same path" — it just so happens that it's male-female. As an outsider looking in, new series regular John Noble described the duo's dynamic as "natural and truthful," which audiences picked up on. Added Goffman: "It's [also] hard to have relationships in the middle of the apocalypse." "It's a mood killer," Mison jumped in.
Even so, Abbie and Ichabod's trajectory was compared to Mulder and Scully's long courtship on The X-Files, and Wiseman emphasized again that the two Sleepy Hollow protagonists won't be going down that road — at least not yet. "In The X-Files, there's so much more there before you even get to the 'are they or aren't they?'. [Abbie and Ichabod] have a respect for each other. We're really not playing their relationship on the romantic side," Wiseman insisted. It's when other characters orbit around them that hints of jealousy often creep in. Goffman hinted that there will be big secrets in season two about Ichabod and his wife, Katrina, "that neither of them are possibly prepared for."
Season two, expanded to 18 episodes, will see several new villains, including the introduction of succubus, Piped Piper (not to be confused by the fictional company on HBO's Silicon Valley) and a windigo.
New characters include Benjamin Franklin ("We might see Benjamin Franklin's franklin," Mison joked), played by Timothy Busfield, and the "no-nonsense" Sheriff Leena Reyes, played by House of Cards' Sakina Jaffrey, who has intimate ties to Abbie and her sister Jenny.
On a lighter note, producers promised there will be new wardrobe for Ichabod — last seen trapped in a pine box (producers hint he won't escape as quickly as viewers may think) — in the new season. There will also be episodes where Abbie goes to a polling place and where Ichabod attempts to learn how to drive, a premise that mirrored Mison's current real-life experiences. (That scene will be shown during Sleepy Hollow's Comic-Con panel on Friday, July 25, in Room 6BCF.)
Those memorable Ichabod asides about modern-day technology and society? Don't expect them to go away any time soon. "The more the better," Wiseman said.
Sleepy Hollow premieres Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. on Fox.