Monday, October 31, 2016

TV Review: Ash Vs Evil Dead Season 1 (2015)

Ash Vs Evil Dead Season 1 (2015) produced by Craig DiGregorio

Ashley Williams (Bruce Campbell) is still living the same life. He works at a local department store barely getting by. He lives in a trailer where he keeps the Necronomicon locked up...most of the time. Unfortunately one night he's smoking weed with a cute blonde who is into poetry. He decides to read some Kandarian poetry from the Necronomicon, which releases evil on earth yet again. This time, Ash is helped by Pablo, a fellow store employee, and Kelly, Pablo's upstairs neighbor whom he helped get a job at the store. They have an encounter with evil in the store which sets them off on the mission to destroy the Necronomicon. Meanwhile, a cop has a run in with the unnatural evil summoned by the book, which puts her on a collision course with Ash and the gang. The cop is joined by Ruby (Lucy Lawless), a woman also in pursuit of Ash though her motivations are suspect.

The set up seems a little complicated but the pilot episode was directed by the director of the first three Evil Dead movies, Sam Raimi. He has a good grasp on the material and knows the style backward and forward, so he does a fine job both establishing new characters and showing what level Ash has sunk to. His treatment of women is at an all-time low, using his missing hand as an excuse to get some pity-sex from a woman at a bar. That particular scene made Ash a little too unlikeable in my book, especially as it is played for comedy.

The rest of the series is a slow journey through various set-pieces to get Ash and company back to the original cabin where they can get rid of the book. Unfortunately, many episodes were too similar--a little story advancement, a big battle with some Deadite demons, lots of blood and guts all around. The comedy appeal of getting soaked in blood (which admittedly is a staple of the Evil Dead movies) gets very thin after a couple of episodes. Having a larger variety of kills is also less appealing and interesting as the series goes on.

The last three episodes get better as they return to the cabin where everything started. The blend of familiar elements with new twists works better there. The sort of demon fighting they do is more plausible in a remote forest rather than in "modern day" locations where much of the story takes place. The story doesn't really end which is a bit frustrating. They were clearly hoping for a second season, which is broadcasting right now. I'm not impressed enough to seek it out...maybe when it comes out next year on DVD I'll have forgotten my disappointment with this series and rent the next set of discs from the library.

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