Well last night was the night, the wait was finally over, twenty three years after the release of “Army of Darkness” we were given the first episode of the sequel television series “Ash vs. Evil Dead”! It seemed like an eternity and to be quite honest I was never fully convinced we’d ever see Bruce Campbell return as his iconic character Ash Williams. I’m a huge fan of the original trilogy, this was a bit like seeing Harrison Ford return as Indiana Jones back in 2008-it kinda gave me the chills. Yeah Ash is that legendary to me and countless others. So after a rip roaring near perfect trailer for the show the question must be asked was it indeed worth the wait?!
The answer is a solid you betcha! The first episode was awesome and it was truly an incredible moment really seeing Bruce return to his legendary role. He didn’t miss a beat and I’ve gotta say Sam Raimi did quite a nice job directing the pilot episode. We even got a longer run time as well clocking in at around 40 minutes or so. This first episode “El Jefe” didn’t have one dull moment and did a excellent job of giving a bit of Ash’s history once again with the Book of the Dead, while oddly not mentioning any of the events from ‘Army of Darkness’. This is only due to the fact they don’t have the rights to that movie as it stands, and can’t make mention to it in the show because of legal issues. But still that’s fine, us fans all know it clearly happened and the version of Ash we’re getting here is a direct continuation of the Ash we all fell in love with in Army of Darkness.
We notice he no longer works at “S-mart” and instead a similar place called “Value Stop” but after 23 years it’s totally plausible that he made a serious career move(in reality another problem with legal issues from AoD). What made this all even better though is now we really get to know just who the hell he really is. He’s not just simply some smart ass with a chainsaw hand, we get to see what a normal night in the life of Ash is really like. We get to see where he lives (surprisingly similar to My Name is Bruce), where he hangs out, his work life and just how much the guy likes to party down. This tv series idea was the perfect way to really humanize Ash and I’m pumped to see how this all plays out for him and his new companions.
The episode wasted no time with any B.S. and really jumped head first in the blood, guts and comedy galore. We get a nice introduction to several interesting supporting characters and subplots as well, all so far played pretty straight and serious. We also got some scares, most delivered with real fright behind them. We’ve got a pretty seriously freaky world with our bumbling anti-hero smack dab in the middle of the mayhem. Well done. As far as action and gore go the first episode gloriously delivers that classic frantic 80’s Raimi style. Bruce is definitely giving it his all and it’s clear he knows it’s finally his time to shine in the spotlight again! So we’ve got a neat, simple plot that’s turning into one hell of a road trip adventure. Perfect. I can’t wait to see the next episode!
The special effects were also pretty fucking awesome, we got a ton of blood and some really excellent make up for the new Deadites that appeared. Much of it really did feel like an extension of the original movies. However I was bit surprised to see the amount of CG used on the show. My only real gripe with it was the shoddy digital effects used. The doll scene in particular had some downright horrible CG and we got more digital blood and gore than I would ever want near anything Evil Dead related. I just knew Raimi wouldn’t be able to resist.
Give me puppet or some stop motion animation instead any day of the week. I only say this because it detracts a bit from the tone of the original and honestly if you’re going to CG some shit in 2015 it better look good. But alas, in the end though it delivered on all cylinders and then some proving the charm of Bruce Campbell just cant be contended with. Here’s a series that I’m gonna find a way to see every week, it was a bit of a dream come true. Nice work Mr. Raimi I honestly didn’t think you had it in you….