Simply put, Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1 Episode 1 is a lot of fun. Bruce Campbell is very comfortable and commanding as Ash, the iconic role he created in 1981 with Evil Dead and played in two follow-up films, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness.
While he could quite easily do it all on his own, stealing the show outright, this time his supporting cast will be given a chance to do some of the heavy lifting. In the premiere, Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) mostly get caught up in the action enjoying the transformation of Ash from dorky coworker to kickass Deadite killer, but they hold their own under the circumstances!
I'm a huge horror fan, but only of the type that never takes itself too seriously. When crap starts getting too real, and it looks like people are really getting hurt or tortured, the fun gets sucked right out of it. Horror should make you jump a little, and when combined with humor, maybe make you wince a bit here and there just before you burst out laughing.
Ash vs Evil Dead accomplishes all of that and more.
With Sam Raimi and Bruce Cambpell together after all these years, they've done what few have been able – produce a follow up that just might be better than the original. It's only possible because they know each other and their product so well.
Campbell has grown into Ash, bringing with him more believability as the man-child and reluctant hero, and when he makes the switch from the bumbling adult to the Deadite killing machine, the change in character is awesome to behold.
He's also on top of his game when it comes to the quips and the verbal sparring is one of the best parts of Ash vs Evil Dead, but it's not to be outdone by the comical moments, such as when he's going toe-to-toe with a baby doll whose little hand has him by the nostril, then screams how much she hates him.
The only thing I haven't been able to figure out yet is where the cop fits in. It seems she's being targeted, much as Ash once was, especially since the Deadite chick who was with him when he supidly read from the book again told her, "We know who you are." Whoever she is, Lucy Lawless' Ruby (who was seriously lacking in screen time due to scheduling conflicts) seems to know who she is, too.
The entire premiere comes together when Ash decides to leave town, but Pablo and Kelly meet him at his trailer, thwarting any attempt to take the coward's way out. They're not going to stand for that, and as neighbor Vivian the Deadite is tearing the place apart, Pablo screams for Ash to get up off his ass, The Amboy Dukes erupts and Ash leaps into the air and thrusts his stump into his chainsaw.
All is right with the world.
Ash vs Evil Dead has arrived at the perfect time in horror history. Not only is tonight Halloween, but the current landscape is ripe with comedic overtones. It's as if the entire world has been trying to emulate Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness and now the original is back to stake its claim on the small screen.
With more air time than movies could ever allow and a second season on the way, fans of the original films will be overjoyed and the new material offers first time viewers a great starting point. With Ash vs Evil Dead, Starz has given the cool kids a reason to stay in on a Saturday night.
What did you think of the premiere? Are you going to stand by for more? Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1 Episode 2 is even more fun than the introduction, so don't go anywhere!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.