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Featured TV on DVD Review: Ash vs The Evil Dead: Season 1

August 22nd, 2016

Ash vs The Evil Dead: Season 1 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
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Ash vs The Evil Dead: Season 1

Bruce Campbell returns to Evil Dead, this time in the TV show, Ash vs The Evil Dead. Turning a movie into a TV show, especially a cult classic from 30 years ago, seems like a risky prospect. Does it pay off? Will fans of the show want to pick it up?

The Show

It’s been 30 years since the events of... Evil Dead II ... I think? I’m a little confused on the time lines here. Ash is working at ValueShop and living in a trailer park. His co-worker, Pablo Simon Bolivar, looks up to Ash for reasons that are not explained. The store just hired a new cashier, Kelly Maxwell. Pablo has a crush on her, but Ash hits on her. She does shoot him down, which shows she has good taste. Not every woman Ash meets has such high standards. One woman he hooked up with said that she loved poetry and Ash only had one book, the Necronomicon, and the pair read from it. ... Ash is not smart.

As a result of this, the Deadites return and come after Ash and he responds by running away. He doesn’t get far before Pablo and Kelly convince him to try and fix the problem he created. They also join him on his quest. They are not the only one on the trail. The woman he was with was also cursed. As a result, two cops are called to investigate the house. Amanda Fisher and her partner encounter a Deadite and her partner is killed... and then turns into a Deadite himself and Amanda has to kill him. Of course she can’t tell IA that her partner became a Deadite and that’s why she killed him, so she’s put on leave while they investigate. She does some investigating of her own and that puts her on Ash’s track. We meet one other person tracking down Ash, Ruby Knowby. She has knowledge of the Book of the Dead and when she encounters a Deadite, is it clear they hate Ruby almost as much as they hate Ash. Soon Ruby and Amanda meet up and the pair begin tracking Ash together.

We are barely into the show, and I’ve skipped most of the details, but we’re already hitting unacceptable spoilers.

Before I give my opinion of the show, you need to know that it has an intentional B-Movie style and if you are not interested in this aesthetic, then you should probably stay away. Then again, if you are not a fan of intentional B-Movies, you likely didn’t watch the original franchise. If you love the franchise, then this show is a must see. It has perfect B-Movie sensibilities and great special effects.

There are some negatives... Ash is a douche-canoe for the first few episodes. In the movies, Ash is more of a charming braggart, but in the first couple of episodes, he’s an incompetent moron and that makes it hard to cheer for him in the first few episodes. It isn’t until he accepts the mission he’s on that his character becomes compelling. This does mean the end could be a step backwards. It depends on where the writers take the series in season two. I really hope the character doesn’t regress. Also, I really disliked the death of a certain character that I can’t name for fear of spoilers. I think season two will be weaker as the result of that. Those are really the only two faults I have with the series.

There are plenty of strengths, including a great cast. It should come as no surprise that Bruce Campbell is great in this show. Ash is the character he was born to play. However, the supporting cast is just as strong from Lucy Lawless, who has history with Sam Raimi and I’m really glad she’s in this show. Jill Marie Jones had great chemistry with Bruce Campbell. Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo were the only two members of the main cast who I didn’t know before the show began. They were great; in fact, Dana DeLorenzo earned a nomination from Fandango for her performance in this show.

Ash vs The Evil Dead: Season 1

The Extras

Before I get to the extras, I was sent an Ash vs The Evil Dead Whine Stopper, which you can see in the above picture. Unfortunately it doesn’t work, because no matter how many times I poke my parents’ cat, it won’t stop whining. ... Oh, wine stopper. ... That makes so much more sense. I really need a whine stopper. I’m petting sitting for my parents and my parents’ cat makes a sound like you are stepping on its tail whenever it wants anything: food, treats, petting, someone to claw.

Extras begin with audio commentary tracks on all ten episodes, mostly with the actors. Disc two also has a 16-minute making of featurette that looks at each of the ten episodes individually. Since they go over all ten episodes in just 16 minutes, they can’t be really in-depth, but the overall featurette is still good. There is a two-and-a-half minute featurette on How to Kill a Deadite. Finally, there is a two-minute montage of Ash one-liners and other moments. If the two-disc set only had featurettes, I would be disappointed. However, ten audio commentary tracks pushes this from a good deal to a Pick of the Week contender.

The Verdict

Ash vs The Evil Dead is a great follow-up to the movies with a great cast and fun B-movie fundamentals. The Season One DVD or Blu-ray are loaded with extras and it is easily worth picking up.

Filed under: Video Review, Evil Dead, Bruce Campbell, Jill Marie Jones, Lucy Lawless, Sam Raimi, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo