For a show that has only been on the air for four weeks—the fifth episode airs tonight—Sleepy Hollow's fan base is loud. That's, at least, what you would assume from the decibel level during the show's New York Comic Con panel Sunday.
As the increasingly vocal audience made themselves heard, it became more evident where fan obsession is taking root in this zany show that deals with apocalypse, witches, and the Revolutionary War. For some, it seems to be the dreaminess of lead Tom Mison. For others it's the central relationship between Mison's Ichabod Crane and Nicole Beharie's Lt. Abbie Mills. For others it's the references to demons and freemasonry. The panel proved that the first real success of the fall season—which was already granted a second season, and has an insane DVR lift in ratings—is having a real impact on fans.
The cast, alongside creators and executive producers, entered the panel to rock-star caliber squeals, which would continue sporadically throughout the event. For instance, the audiences cut executive producer Heather Kadin off when she mentioned that Mison "is a very strapping, good-looking British man" in the context of a discussion on casting. As the crowd cheered for Mison's strapping-ness, Orlando Jones (who plays Captain Frank Irving) squealed in turn. It should be said that Jones got his own share of catcalls, too, and an audience question even specifically asked him how he was "enjoying the fandom." When the cheers died down for Mison, Kadin continued that director/creator Len Wiseman really came up with the visual for Ichabod. "I made him," Wiseman quipped. "Thank you," someone from the audience called out. Mison, for what it's worth, knows how to work the audience, at one point saying that "flouncing tart in me just wants to ham it up" when discussing how he plays the humor in Ichabod's interactions with modern day technologies. The audience tittered.
But perhaps the best indication of what kind of hold the show is taking on fans came when the panel turned to a discussion of the fan "shipping" of Ichabod and Abbie, or rather "Ichabbie." When Mison said the connection between his and Beharie's characters was "platonic," the audience booed. "I’ve seen some of these pictures online as well by the way, y’all," Beharie cut in. "Not cool." This prompted Jones to add: "Fan art rocks! Who ships Ichabbie?" to rich crowd approval. (Yes, head to deviantART and see the sexy situations the characters find themselves in.) The importance of shipping to the fan base was confirmed further when the next question came from someone who began, "So if you’ve been paying attention at all to the Tumblr phenomenon of Sleepy Hollow, Icabbie is a huge deal."
The final two questions, though, confirmed that the fandom wasn't all about the shipping. "I’m a Freemason, and me and my Masonic brothers have been absolutely dorking out," one fan began as he asked the question as to whether there would be more Freemason culture. Another asked a complicated demonology question.
Asked earlier on in the panel to sum up where the "great fandom" comes from, Beharie put it as such: "Dare I say, it's kind of what America is right now. It's like a mix of everything. You have the romance, you have the action, you have sci-fi/fantasy, you have all these different cultures coming together, and for some reason it’s so wrong that it’s right."