UPDATE: #AbbieMillsDeservesBetter and So Do We

The very first issue of SH Magazine.
What's wrong with this picture?
As you all know, TBGC stopped writing about Sleepy Hollow because the showrunners decided it was a good idea to completely sideline Abbie at the altar of Crane Family Drama. They also pushed aside Jenny for dudebro Nick Hawley (or Dime Store Indiana Jones as Tumblr likes to call him), and made Frank Irving a complete non-entity for the entire first half of the season. Now it seems he’s turned into Dead-and-then-Not-So-Dead Evil!Frank Irving. Sigh.

I saved all my ranting for behind-the-scenes emails with Ankh, but I wasn’t happy. I saw this train coming down the tracks starting at around the halfway mark of season one, but to see it play out in real time was disheartening and rage-inducing. I noped out before it could get any worse, but alas,  it has indeed gotten worse. How you ask?

On the season finale of Sleepy Hollow, during Black History Month no less, Abbie is time traveling back to the 18th century and will be mistaken for a runaway slave. She’s going to be imprisoned in a colonial jail cell (because sure…that’s all that happened to runaway slaves back then), until the kind-hearted, understanding Ichabod--who doesn't remember who she is--“earns her freedom."  WTF?!  It's like really, really bad fanfiction come to life.  Happy Black History Month everybody!

Y’all, I can’t even.  

I was flabbergasted when I first read this last night, and I remain flabbergasted as I write this today. I can’t believe after all the complaints and criticism they faced from both fans and critics alike this season—not to mention the plummeting ratings—that they’d think this was a good idea. Fox had to step in this season to right the ship, and these last few episodes were supposed to incorporate those changes.

Listen, the season one writers might have been able to pull this off with the sensitivity it deserves, but even that’s not given. It’s a hard enough task for good writers to manage, but this new bunch of (way less diverse) writers? Hell and no. Judging by what we’ve seen from them this season, they haven’t proven they’re capable to handle such weighty material with any finesse or delicacy. As a runaway slave, Abbie would be subject to all sorts of terrible things happening to her: ape, beatings, death. Is that going to be explored? Is the abject terror and uncertainty that she’d be feeling by being put into such a situation going to be touched upon at all? Or is there going to be a bunch of hand-waving and a quick, neat resolution that ignores the horror and sheer brutality of slavery?  I think we all know the answer to that.

I’m sure they thought they were doing a clever parallel to the pilot episode when Ichabod was the one in jail thinking that Abbie was an emancipated slave, but…no. They should’ve left it alone. Because even if it turns out to be the best hour of television in history, why does she have to be thought of as a slave at all? Why can’t she be a free black woman? Why the slave narrative? To show that Ichabod was one of the good white people? To put Abbie in her place? What is the purpose here? Seems to me that that only reason to go back to the 1700s is to make Katrina the central plot point. Again. So both in the past and the present, Katrina has been placed above Abbie this season. In the present, she’s been pushed forward by the writers as the de-facto lead, and in the past, she’s literally being positioned above her as a human being.  Wow.

Nicole Beharie is the lead actress of this show. She’s a Julliard trained thespian who is one of the main reasons the show was such a big hit last season, and she doesn’t deserve this. We also deserve better as an audience. Especially after fighting for her character so hard with the #AbbieMillsDeservesBetter Twitter campaign that was the catalyst for bringing Abbie’s plight to the forefront.

I'm hurt, I'm angry, and I’m tired. Every season, I get excited by the very few new shows that we get that feature black female leads or prominent black female characters. I always foolishly think to myself "this show will be the one that won't sideline, or underutilize, or marginalize them."  And every season like clockwork, I’m disappointed. It starts out good enough, and then inevitably, bullshit happens. Joss Carter was marginalized and then killed off. Iris West has been erased from promos and has been getting minimal screentime on a show she’s supposed to be the female lead on (which is why I haven't written any BGNO for her lately). Michonne has yet to find love or even an inkling of it in the zombie apocalypse although everyone else on the show seems to be doing just fine on that front. Abbie has been sidelined all season and is now being reduced to a slave role on her own show. And I don’t care if it’s just for one minute. It’s a minute too long. It shouldn’t be.

Hollywood keeps pulling this bait and switch crap and while they do want our eyeballs, they can’t seem to muster up enough decency to treat us or the characters that look like us with the respect they deserve. The good thing is that people are tweeting at the writers, the network, and the producers expressing their outrage and frustration. Someone is listening if this exchange is any indication:



There's no excuse anymore.  Scandal has been on the air for four seasons and despite what some people may or may not feel about the show right now, it’s still a ratings powerhouse. And now we have Being Mary Jane, How to Get Away With Murder and the monster hit that is Empire, and it’s more than clear that black women have and can carry a hit show. They have no excuse as to why they’re continuing to marginalize, underuse, and humiliate their POC characters. They’re either ignorantly floating around in their protective bubbles of white privilege and just can’t see it or they just don’t care. Probably both. Either way, I’m sick of it and something needs to change. Fast.

UPDATE 2/4/15:

A. Baiers has tweeted this out about the synopsis for the season finale. 

UPDATE 2/6/15:

Supposedly, FOX has been getting copies of the synopsis deleted on Tumblr citing copyright laws (this comes from the blog I'd linked to), so I've taken it down here just in case. I don't know what's going on behind-the-scenes at FOX, but whatever it is, it's coming across as disorganized and unprofessional. None of this makes me feel any better about the finale.


  1. Stuff like this is why I stopped watching Sleepy Hollow.

  2. My rage was epic after hearing about this fuckery on Tumblr, but I'm not even surprised. bait and switch exactly and black women can't get any respect on shows that they were the absolute draw for. Who the fuck was Tom Mison before he got to share screen time with Nicole??? As ususal they try to push a basic boring white woman onto us, and always set up double leads with black women and white men if the white man has a partner somewhere, or like on scandal the black woman is the side piece. i am so fucking done with Sleepy Hollow it is not even funny!

    1. " Who the f--- was Tom Mison before he got to share screen time with Nicole..?Good point. I had no idea who Tom was until SH. I admit I didn't always know who Nicole was until I seen "42". Otherwise, I had no idea who Tom Mison was.

      I hate saying shows are great ( if they are) with Black female leads because of stuff like this. I mean, TV execs will tell you how " diverse " a show in and will feature an impressive Black female lead and ill last like that foe a season and soon as the show appears to do well, they'll slide a White female lead( as they did with SH) and let it be HER show.

      I was thinking about Empire. Presently, I'm digging that show but a friend of mine and me was talking about the longevity of the show. Strangely, she thinks that the show won't last but it's not for the reason that you may think. We both thought that when you you have shows as hot like Empire and at one point Sleepy Hollow..someway..somehow. the TV execs will find a way cool the heat down.

      Empire have more Black leads than SH or let's say Scandal and that may worry White TV execs who may want to see more Whites watching these shows or who don't want to see too many Black lead shows to do well and they may find a way to destroying their show like putting Black leads away or take out a powerful Black lead and put in an mediocre one.. just anyway to destroy a good show.

  3. At this rate, FOX may as well cancel this show and judging by the ratings about SH, it have sent down each time.

    This reminds me of what happened with Twisted..it starts of great ..then it runs into a slight roadblock..then it get worse, then the TV execs reminds us not to worry because the show would get " better" and the next thing you know it get canned. It wouldn't surprise me that the same thing will happen with SH. May as well call it The Life Of Katrina because that it who the show is focused on. As already said, all of the Black characters have been put on the backburner..

    Not that any possible cancellations of SH would be a surprise to me,but I've learned a lesson from any TV exec who say that things we're going to improve after people rightfully complain about a failing show that was initially promising..when they talk with that kind of sly " optimism", nine times ten it's going to get canned. I could be wrong but I think it's the TV execs cowardly way of saying that a show will not return.

    1. Aaaarrrgh!!! I have been trying to forget my disappointment with what happened to Twisted!!! How do you mess up a great premise such as that with a multiracial cast and deliberately destroy such blazing chemistry between the 2 POC leads???!! oh yeah...try and shove a basic white girl in between them.... always got to have the white girl the romantic focus of the show and if you can have a black woman being dumped for her- even better!

      The TV execs and writers are trying to have their cake and eat it. All the mayo shows aren't doing as well as they used to so they are trying to seem as if they are listening to black and brown folks gripes about representation to get their numbers up and buzz, and then try and steer the shows back to all white numbers and play on the same misogynoiristic tropes we've seen before whilst doing so. This keeps on happening again and again, they know what they are doing. But white supremacy will forego success and money in order to maintain the all white status quo. they know POC led shows and diverse casts work but they keep fucking up the formula. We know why!

  4. I was right to stop watching halfway through season one. Saw the train coming. *rubs temples*

    I'm hurt, I'm angry, and I’m tired. Every season, I get excited by the very few new shows that we get that feature black female leads or prominent black female characters. I always foolishly think to myself "this show will be the one that won't sideline, or underutilize, or marginalize them." And every season like clockwork, I’m disappointed.

    This is why I don't watch much TV anymore. Sick and tired of the vanilla casting and the Lures. Or when a sistah does get a lead, it's because she's a sideline hoe (or in the case of AK, used to be). I'm tired. So tired. Iris gave me a glimmer of hope, but I knew it wasn't going to last. It never does. It never will. Ankh has said no more about Prez Constance Payton. She's been busy, but I'm sure part of her silence on SoA has to do with Constance not getting the screen time or development she deserves.

    Sorry, Cin. Glad you took this for the team, but still...ugh!

  5. Ohh, guys, you might want to see this season's finale. I honestly didn't think they'd go where they did with things, but it's well worth it. Would love to know what you guys think if you do!

  6. Sleepy Hollow was renewed for season 3

    1. Who'd they sleep with to pull that off?

    2. Good Question. Why beat a dead horse?

    3. Apparently they went in a different direction with the finale that wooed a lot of fans.


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