3/10 In honor of the recent release of “Evil Dead Rise” and reviewing shows that tie in to films currently in theaters, I thought I would take a look at all three seasons of the Starz show, “Ash vs Evil Dead” to see how the film franchise translated to the small screen. While I overall enjoy the franchise (although I’m not a fan of “Evil Dead II”), I found this iteration into TV form to be a huge misstep and blunder for the series while simultaneously being surprised that it lasted a full three seasons. Before I explain why this series totally fails its audience and the “Evil Dead” fan base, I will give credit where credit is due. Besides the 40 minute pilot episode, each episode ranges from about 25 to 30 minutes, making the pacing fantastic and ensuring that a full season can be binge watched in a day. Since episodes are shorter, they pack a lot of blood, gore and action into each episode so the plot constantly moves forward and there is never enough time to slow down and force in any unnecessary filler. The practical effects and make-up work is also overall well done, although that leads to a negative aspect which I will touch upon later. Bruce Campbell as Ashley Williams AKA Ash doesn’t miss a beat, despite not having played the role in 23 years (1992’s “Army of Darkness” being the last time before this 2015 debut season). You can tell the actors are all having fun as they constantly get splattered by blood, guts, ooze, etc. every episode. The show also pays homage to Sam Raimi’s original trilogy with some of the locations, dialogue and camera shots. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end and the rest of the show feels more like you are reading from the Necronomicon. Original trilogy director Raimi directed the pilot episode (that was the only episode he directed in the entire 30 episode run of the series) and despite Raimi’s talents and skills as a director, the pilot doesn’t start the show off on a strong note. In past films, unsuspecting characters or even audio recordings being played read from the Necronomicon (the evil book which unleashes demons), which awakened evil spirits and caused all sorts of problems for everyone around. Since Ash has known for 30 years what kind of trouble can occur from reading from the book, I found it completely unbelievable that he would be the one to read from the book and summon demons, kicking off the entire season. The fact that he doesn’t have it in some lock box in a bank, buried deep underground or tied bricks to it and threw it into the middle of the ocean was dumb enough but to have the book just chilling in his trailer and then read from it was a stretch too far. The show tries to excuse this by saying he was stoned and trying to impress a woman but I didn’t buy it for a second and from a screenwriting stand point, it was just incredibly lazy. If the book was just openly sitting in his trailer, they at least could have had some stranger who knew nothing about the book and the consequences from reading from it stumble in and read from the book but to have Ash read it was the dumbest idea Raimi and his co-writers could have had to kick the show off. Additionally, a problem that hit not just the pilot but every single episode was some of the worst special effects work I’ve seen in modern television. If you are going to green light a visual effects heavy show, you might want to make sure you allot enough money in the budget to make the special effects look better than visuals from 1990s films. The special effects seriously reminded me of the graphics from PC cut scenes from video games from the early 2000s. It is hard to believe anything going on when the visuals are so amateurish and lacking. Since the practical effects worked so much better, they should have kept everything practical and tried to get by with as little special effects as possible. The acting from several of the supporting characters felt cheesy and characters make some of the dumbest decisions possible. One moment near the end of the season has our two supporting characters Pablo Simon Bolivar (Ray Santiago) and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo) wasting all of their ammunition by shooting some dead humans when the demon they need to shoot is right behind the two bodies. I understand firing one or two shots off before realizing you aren’t hitting your intended target but to continuously throw away all of your ammunition to accomplish nothing was just ridiculous. The people behind the show also don’t understand how assault rifles/M-16s work as when Kelly fires one, not only does it go off like a machine gun but the first time she fires it, the kick from the weapon throws her back 10 feet, which is not how any of this works. A lot of the comedic moments fall flat (although to be fair there are a few solid one liners, mainly from Ash) and when it comes to anyone outside of our main three characters, their inevitable endings become completely predictable. While there is mild fun to be had, this is just a flat out dumb show that won’t appeal to anyone outside of “Evil Dead” fans and even “Evil Dead” fans like me couldn’t see past the stupid characters, cringe moments, horrific visual effects, predictability, etc. While completionists like me make sure they watch anything and everything related to a film, show or franchise, no matter how good or bad, most people won’t have the patience to stomach how dumb this show is and what a missed opportunity Raimi and company have here. Unless Starz allowed for a bigger budget for visuals for the next two seasons and better writing, I fear that the quality will remain low going forward.

#AshAndGrab / #StarringLucyBraless / #ComingToNecronomiComicCon / #TrailerTrashyVisualEffects / #HackAndAsh / #BruceAlmighty2

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