Unmistakable in horror/comedy blend with original series-authenticity, glorious 80’s-funk action, funny slapstick, and the magnetic return of Bruce Campbell’s Ash, despite sometimes-overindulgent penchant for goofiness & subpar CGI. 8.5/10.
Plot Synopsis: Ash is baaaack! Bruce Campbell reprises his “Evil Dead” film role as heroic, chainsaw-handed monster fighter Ash Williams, now an aging lothario who has successfully avoided responsibility, maturity and heinous villains for the past 30 years. Constantly peering over his shoulder, Ash somehow knew that the Evil Dead would return for him. That day arrives when Ash commits an act of carelessness, unleashing a Deadite plague that threatens to destroy mankind. Co-starring in the half-hour series are Lucy Lawless as mysterious Ruby; Ray Santiago as Ash’s loyal sidekick, Pablo Simon Bolivar; and Dana DeLorenzo as moody wild child Kelly Maxwell.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Season 1 – 8/10
Positives: great vintage feel and unmistakable funky tone and horror/comedy blend to Raimi’s original classic ED, Ash is back!!!! amazing decision to bring the iconic Bruce Campbell to reprise his role in a modernized television series that hopefully can deliver the same series thrills and horror with better effects, great slapstick and comedy overall – something the original ED always delivered and what separated it from other horror series, such an authenticity and love-letter to the original series in everything from exact shot homages to story details like, absolutely glorious 80’s funk-soundtrack – one of the best I’ve ever heard in a show that gives it a poetry-in-motion unexplainable 80’s nostalgia feeling unlike any others that along with incredibly-choreographed action sequences and zombie attacks like the Delores premiere ending in El Jefe and Mr. Roper one make the show a resplendent fun spectacle to behold, great decision to have Raimi return and be the patriarch/exec producer and even direct to ensure the series is as authentic to his vision as it could possibly be, great (and diverse) cast members and characterization – Pablo is hilarious and has good chemistry with Ash and Kelly is fine and good serious relief (as well as a shippable maybe-romance with Kelly), creative original episodes like the trippy Brujo drug one, interesting B-plot in the Ruby story seemingly being a double-agent for the ED, gloroious decision to return to the iconic Evil Dead cabin in the woods as one of the best parts of any prequel or later sequel show revisiting what made it such a hit in the first place and referencing original lore and getting the rights to revisit the original in a new way in one of the great horror TV episode runs in Episode 8-10 to end Season 1 with a great and stunning twist in Ruby and amazing season ending finally embracing the horror ending extremely strong and promising an epic season 2 imaginatively going where the series has never gone before: a modern world version wherein the Necromonicon is unleashed and evil reigns free
Negatives: Should’ve had a better horror opening, bad special FX and CGI – looks cartoony and over-the-top with the Evil Dead looking actually worse and less scary than they did 30 years ago and that’s thoroughly disappointing as one of the main reasons this modern series was so hyped, tone occasionally borders on too-goofy and AoD level which, if you’re more looking for horror and loved the modern darker ED, can be frustrating at times and not scary enough forsaking horror for comedy, the cop storyline really annoying – is she serious in not recognizing there’s something bigger going on, has kind of a nonchalant and belittling view to death, nature, and gore in things like using dead bodies as puppets in Ep. 9 which is hard to watch,
Official CLC Score: 8/10
Season 2 – 8.5/10
Summary: Bigger in scale, funnier in slapstick with more skillful horror/comedy blend, and further exploring Ash’s backstory and adding depth to the series. 8.5/10.
Positives: AMAZING season opening feeling higher-budget and with a great and intriguing new setting of Jacksonville (as well as the callable plot point of the ED getting out of control under Ruby’s plan going awry that could set up an intriguing season), further backstory looking into Ash’s past and unalleviated family pre and post-cabin, much better comedy and slapstick this time around as well as better balance of horror and macabre too learning from the first season, great easter eggs and homages to past horror ideas like coraline with the possessed car Delta,
Negatives: Evil-run world post-Ruby’s unleashing should’ve been much farther along and more explored- society looks little different than S1 which kind of wastes the S1 finale and opportunity to innovatively imagine what an Evil Dead-world would’ve looked like, Baal actor not intimidating enough for the character h’s hyped up to be (should’ve been devil-looking, not Dwight Shrute-looking..), cranks up to the gore to near-uncomfortable levels for anyone to watch – seeing things like the skin peeled off someone and attack by a guts-out corpse almost borders into tasteless unnecessary gore a lot of horror has been rightfully criticized for,
Official CLC Score: 8.5/10