Like a lot of people out there I had serious reservations about the very idea of this show. There was no way this cult classic could possibly be done “right.”
You know what I mean by that, right?
I mean the language would be toned down from where it needed to be. The gore and special effects would be too. They would be so different from the movies or wouldn’t look consistent that it wouldn’t really be Evil Dead. The style wouldn’t feel the same, the writing and visuals and all of that would be wrong.
Sure it would have Bruce Campbell, it would have to, and for that reason alone I would give it a chance. And what’s that you say? Sam Raimi is involved? Yeah I’ll watch the first episode.
But there’s no way they were going to do it right. No way it was going to gel with the rest of the story. Ultimately that’s what was holding me back. The big sticking point was the story. I mean what the hell would Ash be doing now?
Lucky for me, and you, and all the other fans out there, I was totally wrong about all of it.
First off, thanks to the people at Starz, the show creators have free reign to do what they want with the language, gore, and all the things we thought would be toned down. In a very smart move they must have looked at everything they thought would make the show NOT work, made a list and said, let’s not do that.
Good on you Starz!
Bruce Campbell! I mean Bruce Friggin Campbell! That alone is enough to make me watch pretty much anything. And in his latest adventure, he looks great and plays Ash brilliantly as always. There are tons of jokes about his age and his dentures and this and that but oddly he doesn’t look as old as all that on the show.
When you look at Ash objectively he’s kind of an ass. He’s a loud mouth immature jerk who would run away and let somebody else deal with the shit than actually do it himself. Yet, somehow he’s also the suffering hero. It’s a great dichotomy in the character that a lot people, myself included, love. Tons of us guys, and some ladies too, picture ourselves as some sort of swaggering hero type, Captain Kirk, Superman, James Bond, or as Zena, Buffy, or Captain Janeway. We’d love to be that huge but deep down we know in our heart of hearts we’re more like the typical workaday jerks as everyone else and would probably rather let someone else deal with whatever tragedy is happening in the world. That’s Ash. He’s a jerk, but somewhere inside he’s still got that bravura-fueled hero we all want to be.
So what has Ash been up to all these years? Not much really. I mean what did you expect? He’s not killing it in business, he’s not settled with a happy little family, he’s not a teacher or soldier or cop or killer. He’s just Ash. Working a regular job, no initiative to move up or advance or get something better for himself. He just keeps on doing the same old things and playing the same old songs.
Which is a major theme of the show that’s reflected in the old school music Ash listens to and the way he lives his life. Ash has never moved on. The one thing that made him special was his ability to kick Deadite ass and take some. His one great adventure was his fight against the Necronomicon. Once that was done, what else was he ever going to do? It traumatized him to the extent that he never moved on or got over it.
That does kind of detract from how we see Ash at the end of Army of Darkness. I thought we had an Ash at that time who was over his demons, (literally and figuratively.) He had stepped up to do the right thing, stayed to help people when he could have run. He was confident, capable and a fully realized person. Or apparently not.
Quit killing all the cool characters! Ok, so it’s not so bad that good shows kill off great characters. It’s ballsy and keeps the audience on their toes. Look at the INSANE levels of tension created on the Walking Dead whenever a character we love gets in trouble. If Daryl were to die millions of people’s head’s would explode. So when we meet all these cool characters on AvED it’s hard to get too broken up about them getting the ax, or chainsaw, because we haven’t known them long enough to care. Which is a shame because there are some awesome people on there.
The premise of the show is that one night Ash got stoned and started reading from the Necronomicon allowing the dead to start coming after him again. Although I don’t put it past him to do something stupid like that, it just seems a little too light. NOTHING has happened in all the years since we last saw him at all? Then one night he gets stoned and pulls out the book to read to some random hookup he met? I just had a hard time buying that bit. Ash is dumbass, but he’s not THAT dumb. Not after everything he’s been through.
I still can’t decide if the length of each episode, under half and hour, is a good thing or not. On one hand the short little wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am pace of each episode makes them super easy to devour. But I can’t help feeling that the short length is just distracting me from a lack of writing or material. It kind of feels like if each episode were a full forty five or fifty minutes they might not hold up quite as well. They would either end up stretching shots, fluffing episodes with unnecessary subplots or details we don’t need. Or, who knows, maybe they would develop the characters more fully and take us deeper than ever into the world.
I’m leaning towards the brevity being good. After all the first movie was barely and hour and a half (85 minutes) so the show is already longer than all the movies combined.
Bottom line, it’s not a perfect show but it’s absolutely worth watching. If you’re a diehard fan of the originals you’ll love it, and if you just like a quick hit of some ballsy horror comedy, you can’t go wrong.