Show: Ash vs. The Evil Dead.
Episode: Premiere, “El Jefe”.
Created by: Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell.
Running Time: 41 min.
This is a television spin off of The Evil Dead franchise (the original movies not the remake) set 30 years after the events of the original film in which Ash, now a fading in his glory womanizer, accidentally reads from the Necronomicon, yet again unleashing evil into the world which in turn draws in a new cast of characters.
This show inspires mixed feelings in terms of whether it is good or not, as it has its strengths and weaknesses.
As far as this show’s strengths are concerned, it would have to be in the cinematography and action scenes.
The Camera work in this was rather faithful to techniques utilized in the original films, particularly the use of rapid point of view shot on part of the evil force, never actually revealing the actual face of the evil except for the twisted features of a possessed person or object. Keeping this rapid fire point of view was a smart move on the show’s makers, adding an extra layer of credibility and homage as a continuation of the original Evil Dead movie franchise without having to completely relying on the premise, occasional evil giggles, and Bruce Campbell as its bridge to the source material.
The action scenes are the promiscuously gory zaniness like the kind found in the original franchise, a delightful and creepy blood fest you can’t help being riveted by. There is nothing subtle about the antagonist leading up to these confrontations (at least not much), both in the franchise and here which is as it should be when combined with the campy nature of the story.
The weaker points of this episode however lie primarily in most of the characters and some of the plot, which can’t be completely overlooked despite the good stuff.
Bruce Campbell does a good job of reprising his role as Ash, and depicting a 30 years later version of the character, poking fun at his character’s own age and declined grandeur with a sense of preserved bravado you would expect from the character within the franchise at this point in his life, so no problems with him as the lead in this episode. The problems lie within pretty much every other character. It’s hard to gauge who these characters are exactly except as one dimensional tropes that you hope will be fleshed out in further episodes, particularly the character Amanda Fischer (Jill Marie Jones), the state trooper who had one of the best action scenes in the episode. Certainly she has this bit of mystery about her, but the whole “killed my partner” (even if she was the one who was forced to do it) trope got old, was resurrected, then buried again in the garden of eye-rolling script writing clichés and without anything much else to cling to as a personal characteristic, this character comes off somewhat uninteresting despite her mystery and her good action scene.
The plot, while filled with some great action and some hit or miss jokes depending on your tastes, wasn’t exactly full bodied in terms of explanation, and the pacing was so rushed that there was little time to breath and appreciate or give a chance for a bit of character and story development. Great visuals and action is alright of course, but this isn’t a movie where that works within the limited time of a movie setting, but a television show needs more than just good visuals and actions and the occasional good joke, it needs to flesh out the characters and world around them while in concert with what it’s showing. Still, this is the premiere after all, other episodes will come along that will hopefully balance out the slight issues with character and story development.
Overall, a good start to what I’m sure is going to be a fun series that’s a nice continuation homage to the original cinematic material with Bruce doing a good reprisal of his titular role. As long as the issues surrounding the characters and the pacing of the plot are worked out, then we may have a winner in the works that can be enjoyed by old and new fans alike.
*Ash vs. The Evil Dead Trailer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unnLg1TPCYM