Ash vs Evil Dead

  • Based on characters created by Sam Raimi
  • Developed by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and Tom Spezialy
  • October 31, 2015 to April 29, 2018
  • Starz

Main Cast

  • Ash Williams-Bruce Campbell
  • Pablo Simon Bolivar-Ray Santiago
  • Kelly Maxwell-Dana DeLorenzo
  • Amanda Fisher (Season 1)-Jill Marie Jones
  • Ruby Knowby/Rebecca Prevett-Lucy Lawless
  • Linda Bates-Emery (Season 2)-Michelle Hurd
  • Chet Kaminski (Season 2)-Ted Raimi
  • Lacey Emery (Season 2)-Pepi Sonuga
  • Brandy Barr Williams (Season 3)-Arielle Carver-O’Neill
  • Dalton (Season 3)-Lindsay Farris

Recurring Cast

  • Heather (Season 1)-Samara Weaving
  • El Brujo (Seasons 1, 3)-Hemky Madera
  • Brock Williams (Seasons 2 to 3)-Lee Majors
  • Sheriff Thomas Emery (Season 2)-Stephen Lovatt
  • Baal (Season 2)-Joel Tobeck
  • Zoë (Season 3)-Emilia Burns
  • Natalie (Season 3)-Samantha Young

Special Guest Stars

  • Linda (Season 1)-Rebekkah Farrell
  • Cheryl Williams (Season 2)-Ellen Sandweiss (returning to the part)
  • Professor Raymond Knowby (Season 2)-Nicholas Hope
  • Henrietta Knowby (Season 2)-Alison Quigan (normal form)/Ted Raimi (Deadite form)
  • Orderly-Kelvin Taylor
  • Stanley Gibson (Season 3)-Jeffrey Thomas

Having spent thirty years avoiding maturity and general responsibility, Ash Williams finds himself once again facing the Deadites as the Kandarian Demons threaten to wipe out humanity.

Some shows go on for far too long. Some shows are gone far too soon. This is the latter. Ash vs Evil Dead is quite possibly the closest to perfect if not a perfect translation of concept from screen to television. Many have gotten very close such as M*A*S*H or Stargate SG1, but none been so on the nose as this. I’m not referencing what was done in the first film, but what was done in Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn as well as Army of Darkness.

It was funny and scary. It had brains enough to be dumb yet funny when it was dumb. Very rarely does that happen in entertainment by accident or even on purpose. That stroke of luck is most likely due to all the important players from the films being involved in this project. That’s the first and most important thing. From Sam Raimi to the legendary Bruce Campbell everybody that helped to make the Evil Dead films memorable showed up to participate.

And the writing was absolutely identical to what you find in the films. There were scares and there was also the dark humor mixed in. There was as much dread as there was humor. Comedy and macabre blended seamlessly much like before.

Ash Williams returned as Ash Williams. I put it like that, because the character trajectory that had started with Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn was maintained here. Ash is an idiot that somehow manages to survive despite how stupid he is. He stumbles around and manages a level of success that perhaps should not be. He is the guy you want fighting next to you but maybe not hanging out with your daughter. He’s an asshole and a jerk but he’s a likable asshole and an endearing jerk. Under anyone else the character would wear thin fast.

There is something oddly dashing and heroic about Campbell as Ash. He combines old school hero with comedy to make somebody that is believably victorious yet you are confounded by just how he achieves success. He is equal parts hero and moron.

Since Army of Darkness Ash (do I REALLY need to tell you it’s the one and only Bruce Campbell?) has been working at various Value Stops (I guess S-Mart folded) and living in a trailer while acting as the defacto caretaker of the Sumerian Naturom Demonto/Necronomicon Ex-Mortis/Book of the Dead who after using it to impress a girl apparently unleashes the latest round of Deadites.

Joining Ash is Value Stop coworker and generally loyal sidekick Pablo (Ray Santiago). Pablo worships Ash and sees him as a hero going insofar as to refer to Ash as “El Jefe”. Pablo buys into what Ash is selling quicker than most as he was raised by his shaman uncle who told stories that sound a great deal like the Kandarian Demons.

There is also Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) who works with both Ash and Pablo and whom Pablo has a not-so-secret crush on. She finds herself dragged into things when she is orphaned. She is more of the voice of reason than anyone else in the trio of the “Ghostbeaters” but is as impulsive as any of them.

Lucy Lawless, Michelle Hurd, Ted Raimi, Samara Weaving, and Lee Majors show up in extended roles of varying importance. My favorite addition to the cast was most certainly Lee Majors as Ash Williams’ father Brock. Bruce Campbell was perfect casting as Ashley Joanna “Ash” Williams, and I don’t think anyone else other than Lee Majors could have effectively played Ash Williams’s father. There is just something so ideal about having him in the part. I can’t quite put my finger on it though.

If you are of a certain age you remember Lee Majors not only as Colonel Steve Austin in The Six Million Dollar Man but also as Colt Seavers in The Fall Guy. Somehow those two make his casting here my absolute favorite. The character of Brock was as much of a womanizer as Ash was though somehow the brains didn’t make it to his son.

Introducing new characters and expanding upon previously established concepts is definitely tricky and can be downright dangerous from a narrative perspective. It is necessary when going from film to television but if you’re not careful you do things that make absolutely no sense based on what came before even if you look at it in a different way. Yet the expansions of the lore we get in this series make sense. The reframing of Ash’s newest struggle against the Deadites works and dare I say makes more sense than it did before.

There were in-jokes and nods to other material. The acting was serious but not to the point of making this a drama or taking itself too seriously. This was horror with comedy and not a comedy with elements of horror. You were shocked and you got a good laugh. The silly and the serious balanced nicely.

What is particularly enjoyed about the show is that it did not feel like it was one adventure after another, but rather there was an impression like an end could come to everything that was going on. The possibility of an out had been teased before in the films but given the way they were structured it didn’t make sense. Given the introductions of elements in the show, you could actually see possibly Ash or someone else one day ending the Deadite threat.

That was quite possibly because each season had its own particular arc and wrapped up the story enough that you could feel satisfied but left a few things dangling that there was somewhere to go in the next set of episodes. Season 3 at the end teased something originally intended for the end of Army of Darkness that never came to be.

The aesthetic in the show matched perfectly with the films. Both visually and narratively it matched up which is another reason this is a perfect translation of concept from screen to television. The budget didn’t feel like it was cut, and the advances in technology did not make things look different.

My viewing was on physical media, and I found it incredibly bingeable. Each episode was packed with so much and never a dull moment. It was entertaining from start to finish. One element lead into another in a seamless flow. It is quite addictive.

Ash vs Evil Dead lasted three seasons. Those are three seasons too few as this was something not only perfectly translated, but unlike anything else that was on television at the time or even now. I’m not sure if it’s streaming anywhere still but I know you can go out and buy physical copies of each season. However you view it you must view it because it is must see television.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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