Just after Halloween I reviewed the first episode of Ash Vs Evil Dead. And then…nothing. That’s mostly because I hadn’t watched any episodes since. It’s pretty par for the course for me to be behind on any shows I am currently watching. Don’t even ask how far behind I am on The Flash…or Breaking Bad…or Sopranos.
But last night I had some time to kill and did get up to date on our second favorite show about killing the undead. See my general thoughts about how this show is doing after the jump. Somewhat spoilery, but mostly an overall view, and not episode specific.
As per my review, I enjoyed the first episode. And I’m still enjoying the show at the four episode mark. It’s still early in the shows run, but with only ten episodes currently planned, we are almost at the halfway mark. It’s not as good as the movies, but is exactly what you would expect from a franchise attempting to stretch a generally hour and a half idea into 300 minutes. With some concept of the “demon of the week” and Ash’s sidekicks, and a handful of other characters used to stretch the story.
The show is very true to the movies though. I can see a setup like this trying to distance itself from the movies, or ignore them for their own continuity as much as possible, but the show is a natural extension. It makes constant references to the movie events and routinely shows clips of “Ash’s past.” One thing that they do continue to ignore is Army of Darkness. Which is understandable in the context of the show, but as a huge AoD fan it stands out. Now, they never go out of their way to say the events of that movie never happened, they just never mention it.
The last episode in particular also introduced two plot points that are directly tied to the movies…besides the whole book of the dead thing of course. When they are revealed it is hard not to smile and go “Nice, I like what they did there.”
Ash continues to be Ash. Can you ever complain about Bruce Campbell? He is a God among men. He plays the role to perfection and the writing staff are well aware of his style and how to play to his strengths and physicality for fighting Deadites and slapstick comedy.
Being on the Starz network with it’s TVMA rating, they pretty much have free reign to do whatever they want. The violence level is high (but probably no different than a common episode of The Walking Dead). The biggest thing I’ve noticed is the amount of cursing, which seems to go up with every episode. The number of F-bombs is definitely on the rise. The premiere episode had some sexual content, but otherwise there has been no nudity.
My only real complaint with the show, and it is minor, continues to be the effects. I know times have changed, but for a film series that relied solely on practical effects, there is a lot of CGI effects in the show. Which probably wouldn’t matter as much if they didn’t tend to be average or slightly below. Making CGI look “real” is still a challenge in many regards and takes a lot of money, something I’m sure the show only has so much of. The effects are not terrible, but are pretty obvious. And really stand out when you think “they could have pulled that off without CGI”. Sometimes it just seems “lazy”.
Outside of that, it is a fun show. I can see some people turning on it as “not being as good/the same as the movies”, but I think if you like the films, you will like the show. And with a 30 minute run time per episode (and it is a true 30 minutes, not a 22 minutes plus commercials) it is easy to sit down and quickly watch. I find the runtime helps with pacing immensely too as a more common 48/60 minute runtime might be too much for this.
I’m not sure how much appeal it will have to non-Evil Dead fans, but it is worth giving a shot in either case.