As a Sleepy Hollow fan who doesn’t watch Bones, I was unreasonably agitated during my appointed hour this week.
Crossovers have a laundry list of boxes to check. They have to re-introduce characters, assimilate the worlds so it makes sense, and utilize the short time the characters have to play off each other. Due to that, crossovers fail easily and become boring and dumb really quickly, and the fans of one thing who are unfamiliar with the other thing feel like they’re wasting time.
I’m not frothing at the mouth, but I’m unable to make sense of this week’s Sleepy Hollow because Bones was there and I don’t know how well it really worked.
What agitates me the most about the Sleepy Hollow half of the crossover, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” was that we didn’t see the Bones team truly engage. Getting trapped in the tomb was the only time Abbie and Ichabod and Dr. Brennan and Agent Booth shared valuable, exciting screentime. By the time Crane encountered the big bad of the week, General Howe, Team Bones were back at their HQ. Booth and Abbie are in the FBI — why didn’t they team up?
Is this how singular DC TV fans watch the Arrow and The Flash crossovers? It was easy to get into both shows because The Flash started in Arrow, and they come from comic books where crossovers aren’t special as they are just standard procedure. But Sleepy Hollow was never near Bones’ universe. I actually consulted a friend, a Bones fan, and he told me a character said last season they would go home “and watch Sleepy Hollow,” so this crossover is fucking with its own fans.
The one cross over I can’t shut up about has been Constantine and Arrow. Disregarding my personal bias, I can already say “Haunted” is partially successful because Constantine, an exorcist, is going to perform an exorcism. Because it’s what he does, he’ll just do it around new friends.
Crossovers are flawed in concept but they have one job: Make the visiting characters a part of the show, not standbys. Everything else like poor character introductions and unbelievable world-building are excusable if they successfully involve both parties doing what they do best. I don’t expect Dr. Brennan to fight zombie redcoats, but Agent Booth helping out Crane and Abbie would have made me, totally clueless about Bones, root for him. Instead, I felt nothing.