ASH VS EVIL DEAD Season One
Bruce Campbell vs fan expectations
released 19 september 2016 | 18 | dVd Showrunner Craig diGregorio Cast bruce Campbell, dana delorenzo, lucy lawless, Jill marie Jones
It’s taken over two decades of campaigning (and required suffering through an Ash-free reboot), but Evil Dead maniacs finally had their patience rewarded this year, as a fourth outing for reluctant hero Ash Williams finally hit our screens – bringing Bruce Campbell back to the franchise where he belongs, to update the character that made him a big-chinned icon.
Okay, so those screens were in living rooms and not cinemas, but the (possessed) spirit was essentially the same, and surely the extended TV format would serve the series better than a 90-minute film, right? Right? Well, yes and no.
Let’s start with the good stuff. An older (but not wiser) Ash digs out the Necronomicon, Book of the Dead, to impress a girl. Accidentally resurrecting his old enemies, the demonic Deadites, he hits the road to put right what he got very, very wrong. It’s a fun high concept, and one that works almost entirely on the strength of Campbell’s performance.
Miraculously, the television Ash doesn’t just feel like a consistent character, but an actual person, who’s not only existed in the 24 years off-screen, but has lived while we haven’t been looking. He’s supported by two charming new sidekicks – Pablo Bolivar (Ray Santiago) and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo) – whose affection for/tolerance of Ash brings out the best in the character.
Ash is established in a perfect pilot, then sent back to a very familiar location in an astonishing three-part finale. If those episodes had been chainsawed apart and stitched together, we would have had the movie fans have campaigned for since Army Of Darkness hit VHS.
Sadly, the episodes between the pilot and finale are more disappointing than finding your girlfriend’s decapitated head is still talking to you. Despite each episode having a measly 25-minute runtime, there’s a lot of padding and repetition across the season’s ten instalments, with one extended dream sequence being the nadir of the franchise as a whole. The practical effects are also a letdown, somehow looking far cheaper in digital than they ever did on 35mm.
Still, AvED does enough to make us eagerly anticipate the incoming second season. If that fixes the problems while building on the successes, we’ll start campaigning for season three right away.
Extras Impressively, there are cast and crew commentaries on all ten episodes – eight of them featuring Bruce Campbell. “Ash: Inside The World” (16 minutes) strings together short behind-thescenes pieces (previously available online) on every episode. “How To Kill A Deadite” (two minutes) sees Campbell discuss… well, have a guess. Finally, there’s a short “Best Of Ash” montage. Sam Ashurst
In the finale, look for a Freddy Kruegeresque welding glove hanging on a wall – a nod to a similar moment in Evil Dead II.
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