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.