So Sleepy Hollow is the west coast’s Sunnydale. There is a female lead. So far so yay. Also it is a familiar supernatural tale of how a well read university educated British dude is the Watcher and he how is constantly shocked by the bizarre goings on of young modern Americans, while looking after two Slayers. He quotes a lot of books and finds the beverages difficult.
One Slayer is literally and figuratively the Good Cop, and the other, her real sister, the Psycho Criminal. And they are all fighting the ‘big bad’ demons who are sometimes called Moloch. So far there is no Scooby Gang, but I’m sure there will be. They already have cool places to hang out, like all those chthonic munitions tunnels and such, which do contain witches bones, but no vampires.
Furthermore the leads, like all Archetypal Heroes must pass through certain tribulations and tests to ensure they are fit for their quests. If you like, they face their inner demons as demons made manifest. It’s all very Joseph Campbell and/or Jung but with more fire power.
So we can see how Joss Whedon, in part, drew upon American Gothic literature for his mythos and turned the tropes upside down, and now how TV is drawing on his story to rewrite classic American Gothic. Hakuna matata – it’s the cycle of life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it. It’s not what I expected, but I’ll go with it for now.
The lesson is not the impoverished state of contemporary Hollywood. No. It’s that no story is a new story. Your precious manuscript of your big Idea? What of it? Publishers have seen a dozen the same. The trick is to not get hung up on the notion of original. Writers just have to take what’s out there and push it and pull it in different directions while simultaneously attempting to cater to and disrupt audience/reader expectations. All the while without stealing or violating copyright or IP. Furthermore, writers keep going back to similar ideas and the old myths because, creatively there are all sorts of places you can take them without them becoming too off-putting for readers/viewers.
Here endeth the lesson of Sleepy Dale and every story like it.