Photo illustration by Katie Rosso/Staff Photographer

Talk TV to Me: ‘Bones’ gets ‘Sleepy’

That crossover nobody asked for turned out to be successful and entertaining.

By Gabriela Velasquez | Nov. 11, 2015

Tags: Talk TV to Me


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“Bones,” currently in its 11th season, is grounded in science and reality, dealing with themes of scientific ethics, faith and of course, disgustingly decaying corpses. Centering around forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, a no-nonsense, seemingly detached atheist woman whose only religion is science and her partner, FBI Agent Seeley Booth, a skilled investigator with a strong gut instinct. The two slowly fall in love over the course of the series and eventually get married and start a family.

“Sleepy Hollow” is a younger show currently in its third season. In it, Captain Ichabod Crane, while serving under George Washington during the American Revolution in 1781, is seemingly killed by the legendary Headless Horseman and wakes up three hundred years later in the small town of Sleepy Hollow. There, he discovers that he and Lieutenant Abbie Mills, a woman on the police force tasked with investigating some of the mysterious happenings around Sleepy Hollow, are linked by fate. The are the two “witnesses” that are to stop the coming of the apocalypse brought on by the forces of Hell.

So naturally, when Fox announced a crossover event, people were very confused.

At first glance, one would imagine a “Sleepy Hollow”/”Bones” crossover would be chaos. One show is a crime procedural, the other is a fantasy thriller. It simply doesn’t make sense.

That is, until you watch it.

“Bones” and “Sleepy Hollow” both have the potential to be extremely dark, as does any series dealing with murder or demonic activity. However, they have a significant amount of levity, mostly through character exploration. “Sleepy Hollow” has established a strong, playful relationship between its two mains, leading to several fun scenes featuring Ichabod Crane trying karaoke or trying to figure out why we place candles on birthday cakes. Booth and Brennan, after a seemingly endless slow-burn romance, tied the knot and started a family, and their banter is as fun as ever.

There are several ways of orchestrating crossovers. “Sleepy Hollow” and “Bones” did it right. Admittedly, they are two very different shows. Their writers knew it. Therefore, they chose to tackle these differences in a surprising way.

They changed nothing.

“Sleepy Hollow” is still a paranormal mystery, just with two FBI employees joining the team. “Bones” is still a crime procedural, it simply added Crane and Abbie to the mix. The shows treat the new characters like guest stars, simply inserting them into the shows we recognize without trying to change what they know works. Additionally, both crossovers didn’t halt the progress of each show’s respective seasons. “Sleepy Hollow’s” half, in particular, included significant progress in the story arc of the season.

Abbie and Ichabod are brought seamlessly into the world of “Bones” when one of Booth and Brennan’s cases is tied to witchcraft, something now-FBI Agent Abbie and Ichabod know a lot about. They believe the mysterious body in the case might be tied to the Headless Horseman. Thus begins their joint investigation, which continues into “Sleepy Hollow” in the next hour. Perhaps the best thing about the crossover was the interaction between the show’s two casts. Hodgins (T.J. Thyne), upon seeing Ichabod in his revolutionary attire, asks if he is cosplaying, to which the latter indignantly replies: “Do I look as if I have just beamed from the planet Vulcan?”

In many ways, Abbie and Ichabod share a lot in common with Booth and Brennan. Their bonds are built on solid trust and genuine affection. Their on-screen chemistry could power entire cities. The writers didn’t shy away from that; expertly taking two shows that would never be together in theory and powering out two of the most fun episodes of television I have seen in a while.

“Bones” and “Sleepy Hollow” air on Thursdays on Fox at 8/7 central and 9/8 central, respectively.

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