Fox Skips a Full-season Pickup for Sleepy Hollow, Renews the Surprise Hit for Season 2

A mix of headless dudes, the Revolutionary War, apocalyptic horsemen, witches, a technologically challenged time-traveling weirdo, and Evil John Cho sounds like a recipe for disaster, but actually, it's a recipe for the surprise hit of fall 2013. The winner of the season's First Show to Get Renewed Derby is Fox's Sleepy Hollow, which the network renewed for Season 2 today.

Fox has gone ahead and renewed Sleepy Hollow for a second season instead of following the typical process, which usually sees new shows angling for a "back-nine" order that ups their Season 1 episode count from 13 to 22. Instead, Sleepy Hollow's first season will almost certainly end after a short run of 13 episodes (Fox could add episodes, but that's unlikely), and will probably return for another 13 episodes or so in Season 2 (the network hasn't yet announced an episode count). 

This is a huge step toward network television adopting shorter, cable-style season orders, and one of the first put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is moves by any of the big networks, which have been talking about changing the model for years. Fox seems more committed to the idea than others, having done something similar with The Following last season (the network ordered a 15-episode first season right off the bat due to star Kevin Bacon's availability) and pushing the idea of limited-run series.

Sleepy Hollow stars Tom Mison as literature's Ichabod Crane and Nicole Beharie as a cop who teams up with him to put an end to some crazy supernatural stuff in upstate New York. Before the season began, I predicted that Sleepy Hollow would be the surprise hit of the season because of its combination of spooks and fun, but even I'm surprised it came out this strong. 


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Oct 11, 2013
well deserved. Such a smart and clever show.
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Oct 11, 2013
I am glad it is getting more episodes regardless, but I am a fan of long 22-episode seasons when it comes to the shows I like.
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Oct 05, 2013
Shorter seasons produce better material on cable so let's hope the same happens on networks.
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Oct 05, 2013
Another thing to look forward to next season. Well done Fox - 1 show I watch of yours, how about premiering Almost Human and making it 2 for 2 ?
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Oct 05, 2013
I really Hope Almost human doesnt suck. That will be really disappointing.

thx 4 thmbs/\
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Oct 04, 2013
Great news! I really like this show, I just hope FOX won't pull a FRINGE and move it to thursdays next season.
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Oct 04, 2013
Well if they already have the story for this season laid out adding more episodes would only screw it up!!! I'm shocked FOX made this decision so quickly. I'm enjoying the show though! !
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Oct 04, 2013
I'm surprised, but I don't really care at this point. I liked the pilot, but not episodes 2 or 3. I will watch a few more at least, but I may drop out before the season is over.

I'm also surprised to see comments in favor of short seasons here. This show has already given us two monster-of-the-week episodes, where the monsters were pretty bad, and the writers didn't even try to make the fight against them make sense. (The first Indian they talked just happened to know everything about the dream demon, and had already prepared by getting scorpions and stuff. (Are there scorpions in the state of New York?) Then they just went into the dream world without any kind of plan about what to do there. And what was the deal with the red door?).

If you liked these episodes, that's fine, but what exactly do you think will be the advantage of having short seasons here? We're only three episodes in, and two of them have already been "filler" material. They're clearly not trying to avoid fillers, and they're clearly not trying to make sense. So I don't see why the writers would need more time. They could easily write a lot more episodes of roughly this quality just by hiring more writers.

I suppose that if they have more time, they can do several more takes of key scenes, to make sure that they get them exactly right. And they can spend more time on editing and sound effects for example. But to do that, they need to increase the budget for each episode, and this doesn't happen automatically just because you decrease the number of episodes.
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Oct 05, 2013
While the monster of the week thing so far isn't wow-worthy, It's a good technique to develop the characters & establish the mythology of the show. Personally, I consider the monsters secondary. Once the show finds its legs, by the start of the next season (if not sooner) I expect it'll transition to a more serialized format like a snowball rolling downhill...with legs. The short season by that time will prevent the story from wandering off on tangents & get right to the point of the plot.

Keep in mind that Fringe followed the same general object-of-the-week format in its 1st season & grew into a much better program in its 2nd year when it established its legs. Right now, I reckon those of us who are SH fans are simply liking the show for our own individual reasons, take the cool with the suck and don't overthink it. We simply enjoy it for what it is.
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Oct 05, 2013
Yeah I never liked the "monster of the week" thing. To me the more character & mythology the better the show. Fringe is a great example, it's one of my all time faves and it became great once it got into the mythology and ditched the "monster of the week" format. Although it could've gone even more serialised then it did. I don't know about Sleepy Hollow yet but I'll keep watching. Especially now that John Noble's joining the cast.

I'm still waiting for another show like Lost to come along and knock my socks off with characters & mythology. Fringe is the only one that came close.
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Oct 05, 2013
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Oct 04, 2013
Great news for the show, great news for genre, and great news for FOX.

I'm wondering if there's any precedent for a freshman series being renewed for a second season commitment after its third episode? It seems unlikely, but it might be something that occurs more now that thirteen-episode series are becoming popular on free-to-air networks.

For some reason this news makes me a little more apprehensive about Almost Human. Since the announcement of the fall line-up I was sure FOX would only end up keeping one of its new genre shows (if any) as its Fringe replacement. With both series having shorter season runs I'm sure it's possible that both could continue on, but for some reason I've got the apprehension audiences won't be as taken with Almost Human after Sleepy Hollow finishes.
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Oct 05, 2013
Yeah, it's gonna be hard to top Fringe! I'm a bit nervous for Almost Human, I really hope it's something great and not just typical "case of the week" tripe.
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Oct 04, 2013
Almost human better have something interesting in it. Not just the same old robo-nonsense of old. I hope its like Deus Ex.
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Oct 04, 2013
great news! enjoying the show in South Africa!
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Oct 04, 2013
Great news! This is what networks need to be doing more.

Knowing two episodes into the series that the show will have at least two seasons to develop, it is easy to commit.
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Oct 04, 2013
Yay!
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Oct 04, 2013
Whoa! That is all.
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Oct 04, 2013
I'd have much preferred a "back nine" order, which lets them then order even more for season 2. If the ratings are great the current approach makes little sense unless they have trouble with actor availability or fear lack of ability to generate decent scripts in time. Unfortunately I tend to have my doubts about the business competence of those in the TV field which seems like a rather dysfunctional industry.
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Oct 03, 2013
I personally would rather them be 13-18 episodes. seems like when a show gets 20+, it just drags on. that's one good thing about British shows, they don't have the large amount of filler that America insists on. if Sleepy Hollow can do a full season and do it right and not just try to fill the episodes then I'm all for more.
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Oct 06, 2013
>that's one good thing about British shows, they don't have the large amount of filler
>that America insists on.

But they all have $5 budgets and either about old ladies in a living room drinking tea or time-traveling telephone booths. :-(

Now, if Britain had beaten FOX to the punch and produced a show about a heroic calvaryman fighting for Queen and country who loses his head to a soldier under the command of a traitor named Washington I'd be more impressed. ;-)
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Oct 07, 2013
hey now.. don't be hatin' on Doctor Who, they might have lower budgets but they're still almost all better than US series that relies on sfx, shock value, and ratings stunts instead of actual stories.
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Oct 08, 2013
I don't think that @alcalde is hating on Dr. Who at all. If anything they're saying its a shame that Dr. Who doesn't have a bigger budget.
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Oct 05, 2013
Can you recommend any good non-filler shows? Genre, mythology & character is my cup of tea but I'll give anything heavy-serials a go. In need of greatness after Fringe & Breaking Bad.
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Oct 03, 2013
Some of the best shows have 13 episodes or less. "Luther" has only 4 episodes per season. So 13 is definitely enough.
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Oct 03, 2013
Significant if you're in favor of shorter seasons; otherwise, not nearly as impressive as the headline on your front page would have us readers believe.

The only difference between this and a back nine order is when the second set of episodes will be shown. At the end of two years, there will be two more episodes than if Sleepy Hollow had run a traditional single season, and that's assuming the show's fans will even still be interested after a nine-month gap. No big deal to me.
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Oct 03, 2013
I am extremely excited about this news!
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Oct 03, 2013
Maybe I'll catch up!
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Oct 03, 2013
we're only 3 episodes in.
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Oct 03, 2013
I haven't watched it yet, but it's good to know it works.
And shorter seasons should be the norm when telling an actual story is the focus (as opposed to "case of the week"-type deals)
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Oct 03, 2013
Sleepy is awesome I don't mind the shorter seasons it allows the writers to concentrate on the major plot arcs, I don't mine a secondary one!!!
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Oct 03, 2013
In the last few years I have learned not to get attached to new shows until they get a full season so looks like it's time to catch up on this show.

Shorter seasons could be a good thing since it cuts down on filler but it all depends on the writers etc not every show will have the same team but we shall see how it plays out.......

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Oct 03, 2013
yes!!!
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Oct 03, 2013
I only checked the show out becuase I grew up not far from Sleepy Hollow NY. I was disappointed to find out that it is not actually filmed in Westchester County, not even in NY, but at least they reference the local towns. That aside, I really enjoyed it. Now all we need is a Sleepy Hollow/Bones/The Following Mega Crossover!
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Oct 04, 2013
It's pretty common though for shows to film in other places. For example, the one that surprised me was Banshee. Set in Pennsylvania Amish country, it's actually filmed in the Carolinas. I really dig the place that stands in as Sugar's bar & looked it up one day
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Oct 08, 2013
It's funny you bring up Banshee. My Fiancé and I just did a Banshee marathon and said the same thing about Sugar's bar, the Forge.
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Oct 03, 2013
Good now they can concentrate on good episodes and developing the back story. I see it moving from monster of the week to the mythology taking over as other shows do.
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Oct 03, 2013
That is kind of reassuring aint it?

You already seen silhouettes of the 4 horsemen looking like the blackriders of doom. You've seen the Hessian wreaking havok on the Hollow. So you can imagine the other three bringing the pain.

Whose the next horseman to ride in from oblivion?
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Oct 03, 2013
The big downside in shorter seasons is the LONG wait in between seasons & more opportunity for crap reality in between. I am enjoying Sleepy Hollow so was quite please to hear season 2 pickup
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Oct 03, 2013
I demand a Sleepy Hollow / Uncle Grandpa crossover. It would totally work; think about it.

"What manner of contrivance is this?"
"Heeeeey, it's Pizza Steeeeeve"
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Oct 03, 2013
On the one hand, I love that 13 episode seasons mean fewer repeats or gaps in the season, they can easily run straight thru with no random 'hiatus' periods breaking up the momentum ... it also cuts down on the filler episodes and allows for more concise story telling.

The only drawback is the the wait time between seasons is that much longer. With many shows the wait from May to September/October was already torturous ... this new trend can easily double or even triple that wait time. And if the season was intense and concise it can make it seem even worse to have to wait till the next season.

Just ask any fan of something like Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones, you get an intense, amazing 10 episodes (give or take, depending on which show) and then there's a NINE month wait till the next season. Personally, I go a little insane when the credits roll on the finale & I realize just how long I have to wait to see what happens next.

All that aside ... I'm absolutely thrilled that Sleepy Hollow will be back in any format. Great decision FOX (wow, I never thought I'd say that without sarcasm... isn't that a sign of the apocalypse? Someone ask Ike, quick!)
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Oct 04, 2013
"I go a little insane when the credits roll on the finale."

Exactly! I get so frustrated when I have to wait right after climactic endings like DA's car crash or the devastation of the Red Wedding.
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Oct 04, 2013
Hell, sometimes it's hard to wait the week between episodes ... nine months is insane!

This is all their fault for making such great, compelling TV. UGH!
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Oct 03, 2013
I never thought I would say this, but Fox made a smart decision!
I'm so happy!!!!!!!djkfbgjsehgrkhjbe
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Oct 03, 2013
Love love love
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Oct 03, 2013
Upstate? Sleepy Hollow is, like, a half hour away from Manhattan.

Glad this is on Hulu, I can check out the first few episodes now.
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Oct 03, 2013
What I think they should do is flush it out to a 16 episode count, with 8 during the fall and the other 8 during the spring. A 13 episode run is great, but if they take Breaking Bad's or Walking Dead's annual model, they could dominate the spotlight. When the Walking Dead first aired, I was frustrated that I had to wait an entire year for it to come back. With House of Cards, although it may be in a different format where all content for that season is thrown all at once, we still have to wait an entire year for the next season to come back as well. Splitting the release of these shows, helps keep retention. Mid-season premieres are good for business because they typically recover some audience loss from the first half's run. And instead of viewers feeling frustrated that they can't get new episodes for a year, they can feel less frustrated because they'd have to wait a 2-3 month intermission.
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Oct 03, 2013
That's awesome. I love this show. And I am also surprised its a hit too. Shows like this tend not to last long. Also glad they keep it at 13 episodes. Stretching it to 22 would be tough & might lose viewers in the long runs.
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Oct 03, 2013
As much as it bums me out not to have the series all season-long, if it makes the storytelling tighter and more interesting, than I'm all for it! It worked really well for Hannibal last Spring. I'm so glad to see riskier concept shows being rewarded.
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Oct 03, 2013
I iz happeh nau.

Annnd I'm glad to hear it's getting 13 eps. I honestly can't stand long seasons. (even with shows I love to geek over) It leaves far too much room for garbage filler episodes & forces the story to keep tight.

Viva la Esteban de la Muerte!!
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Oct 03, 2013
I like the 13-series format. It moves the stories forward with fewer filler episodes.
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Oct 03, 2013
Plus, it tells me they are sticking to the story they had in mind rather than cash in on the ratings.
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Oct 03, 2013
Ha! Cool. Loving this weird-ass series.
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Oct 03, 2013
That's great news but very surprising for Fox. Maybe they realize they have a hit on their hands.
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Oct 03, 2013
I wanted to hate this show but it's actually one of the better shows this season. I'm not exactly clamoring to watch it but if Fox plans on doing 13 episode seasons, I think I'm in.
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Oct 03, 2013
Nice! And good call on keeping it at 13 episodes a season. I'm only seen the premiere so far, but it was a lot of fun and Tom Mison is a strong lead.
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Oct 03, 2013
So glad i was wrong about this one. GO TEAM ICHABOD!! By the way.. the swooshing sound the Headless Horseman's Ax makes in the promos is BAD ASS!!
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Oct 03, 2013
I like it, so... YAY!
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Oct 03, 2013
It doesn't come as a surprise considering the ratings. That being said, I'm a bit surprised as it was so fast! Very exciting news though! Creatively speaking, I'm glad it's a second season instead of a back-9 order, they're sticking with their plan and that will only improve the show, dramas need to have a good structure and back-9 orders can often end up being a bumpy road whereas carefully planning a finite number of episodes helps a lot.
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Oct 03, 2013
Absolutely. I'm enjoying this series a good bit right now, but I find it far more refreshing to think that the show-writers are able to plot and structure their stories within clearly defined episode orders. Hopefully, this model will actually bear fruit. You know, something better than The Following.
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Oct 03, 2013
Completely agree, besides that way we don't have any filler episodes. That being said, literally anything is better than The Following.
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Oct 03, 2013
What do you know - of all networks, Fox is actually going to deliver on shorter seasons! What comes next, a Fox-produced mini series (sorry, a "special event")? Or, God forbid, shows that may be actually good?
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Oct 03, 2013
If by shorter seasons the mean much better quality and production value, then by all means do it. Cable shows are great because they seems to have big budgets, so I would definitely like that for network shows.

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Oct 03, 2013
I think the genre works better with shorter seasons; much like American Horror Story, True Blood and Game of Thrones, 13 episodes ensure Sleepy Hollow to build momentum in a way 22 episodes might not.
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Oct 03, 2013
I realize it is entirely selfish of me, but I want so desperately to have the back nine order on top of the season two reneweal! I'd be thrilled with twenty-two episodes this season and a full twenty-two next season. Nevertheless, I am so beyond thrilled for this news becuase, for reasons I hadn't forseen, this show has become rather addictive for me.
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Oct 03, 2013
It's potentially true, but just because it's called "Season 2" doesn't necessarily mean that it won't air until next fall, or that any possible future 13-episode seasons will only come once a year.
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Oct 03, 2013
same case of selfishness here. However if most series get 13 episodes could be good for the storytelling (except for NCIS and POI)
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Oct 03, 2013
Sleepy Hollow is awesome, and therefore this news is awesome!
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Oct 03, 2013
Damn straight.
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Oct 03, 2013
Read that in Heisenberg voice.
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Oct 03, 2013
I can't wait for the Christmas episode. Imagine how he'll react when those around him don't even know what wassail and figgy pudding are.

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Oct 03, 2013
what's wassail and figgy pudding?
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Oct 03, 2013
You know my only concern with the 13 episode thing? My stepfather already thinks I watch too many shows and this whole policy will perpetuate it (I do think it will increase my DVD purchases though...I have to get Orphan Black back from my co worker)
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Oct 03, 2013
Sleepy Hollow is not a great show : it is a good one , with enough darkness to entertain the adult that I am and enough fantasy to entertain my imagination.
What I like most is that it is easy to follow, quite funny and without annoying teenagers with annoying dating problem.
i'm so glad it got renewed !
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Oct 03, 2013
Annoying teenagers with annoying dating problems is awfully annoying. One cliche that needs to die.
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Oct 03, 2013
that's a pretty good summary - I like the subtle humor and the writing to adults for a change, U R right about the overdose of teen angst on TV
ENUF ALREADY
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Oct 03, 2013
its not fringe , but at least great replacement for this fall

lets hope the same for Almost Human
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