Ever since Army of Darkness in 1992, fans of the Sam Raimi film series have been clamoring for a fourth film. Who wouldn’t want to see more adventures of Ash Williams and his boom stick? With each passing year, however, it seemed more and more unlikely that anything would come together for the film to happen.
Then, as if out of the blue, the Starz cable channel announced that it was launching a TV series entitled Ash vs Evil Dead that would continue the story set some 30 years later. Already renewed for a second season that premieres this October, the first season is now out on DVD and Blu-ray, and if you haven’t yet jumped in the Delta with Ash and his crew, now is the perfect time.
The events of the series pick up with Ash – still seamlessly played by the iconic Bruce Campbell – who is still working as a stock boy in a discount store while heading out in the evenings in his man-girdle to find women. During one of these evening excursions he starts to have visions of the Deadites returning, and it dawns on him that one night in a drug-induced haze he had once again read from the Necronomicon.
In other words, Ash is still an idiot. But that’s part of his charm.
This time around Ash isn’t on his own. He’s joined by fellow stock boy Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Pablo’s friend Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) as he tries to find a way to reverse the spell he accidentally recited. They are being pursued by police officer, Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) and the mysterious Ruby Knowby (Lucy Lawless), who are after Ash for unique reasons.
Fans of the films will enjoy the series as it has many little throwbacks to the films including a recreation of the house where everything began all those years ago, to much smaller little easter eggs littered throughout. To anyone who hasn’t seen the films, enough is explained that you can easily follow what is happening, but it never seems over the top to the point of hitting you over the head with the knowledge you need.
The first season does have a few points where it feels a tad dragged out to get to the 10 episode order. The overarching story works, and we’re definitely left in an interesting spot at the end, but the road getting there does hit a few speed bumps in the middle where you may find yourself saying, “Alright, we get it, lets get back to the main plot.”
The Blu-ray set we reviewed featured audio commentaries on every episode from a mixture of people involved with the series such as Bruce Campbell, creator Sam Raimi, co-executive producer Ivan Raimi and producer Rob Tapert. The commentaries are fun and interesting and provide lots of background information on the series.
Beyond the commentaries, however, the special features are sparse. There is one feature about the various effects in each episode – with an especially amusing moment involving DeLorenzo and just how much fake blood is in her boot – and two very short features entitled “How to Kill a Deadite” and “Best of Ash.”
Overall, it is an enjoyable 10 episodes, and something you could find yourself watching multiple times due to the commentaries. If you’re a fan of the films, this is an automatic purchase with zero hesitation. If you’re just looking for a fun watch without any knowledge of the films, you won’t be disappointed.