After years of fan clamoring, followed by teases from Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, Ash Williams finally returned in 2015 to kick some Deadite ass, thanks to Starz. The 10-episode first season Ash vs Evil Dead saw Campbell reunite with original The Evil Dead filmmakers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert to unleash the Necronomicon once again.
The first season of Ash vs Evil Dead was an over-the-top and satisfying re-introduction to one-handed Ash Williams and his “normal” life since viewers last we saw him. Campbell doesn’t miss a beat walking back into the character’s bloody boots and seems to be loving being back.
The ten episodes have a bit of ups and downs, and often struggle to find their footing, but when it works, it’s pure gory bliss – and when it doesn’t, they’re still short half-hour episodes. Ash vs Evil Dead also introduces some new monsters that are stunningly designed and executed, that rival any creatures on the big or small screen for originality and creep factor.
But the show isn’t all Ash fighting Deadite monsters: Ash vs Evil Dead sees some new warriors join the Deadite fight with Ray Santiago as Pablo, the plucky sidekick that idolizes Ash, and Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly, a fiery gal whose flame only gets bigger as her hatred of the Deadites grows throughout the episodes.
Lastly, and most amazing, Lucy Lawless enters the fray as the mysterious Ruby, with connections to the Necronomicon and her sights aimed at Ash. There’s not nearly as much Ruby as you’ll probably want in the ten episodes, but it looks like Season 2 will remedy that issue – and we can’t wait!
The Blu-Ray comes equipped with one of the most solid sets of special features around for a television release. In something of a rarity these days, Ash vs Evil Dead‘s best extras are the audio commentary on all ten episodes, featuring the cast and crew. The season premiere El Jeffe has life-long friends Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell being absolutely hilarious, while providing some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits for Evil Dead fans and insight into Ash vs Evil Dead.
While that commentary is worthy of buying this set by itself, the rest of the episodes feature commentary from their co-stars Santiago, DeLorenzo, Jill Marie Jones, and Lucy Lawless. It’s really refreshing to see this level of involvement from the cast for this release and makes this set feel special.
In addition to those features, Ash vs Evil Dead‘s Blu-ray has a 16-minute featurette titled Inside the World of Ash vs Evil Dead that gives exactly what you’d expect: a behind the scenes look at the show. But the feature is actually really fun and an entertaining look back at the entire season and features segments from the cast and crew.
The last two features are not as extensive, but still provide some big laughs. How to Kill a Deadite is a hilarious compilation of clips from the series with Campbell narrating the best ways to destroy those evil bastards. Best of Ash is another short feature that combines clips of the best one-liners and Campbell-esque moments as Ash.
The biggest point that I can take off from this release is the lack of a Digital HD download for the season. How they could provide a feature like audio commentary, something that every fan asks for on releases but rarely gets, and not provide an UltraViolet or a similar option to watch on-the-go is an absurd notion.
Ash vs Evil Dead‘s first season is scary, goofy, hilarious and an easily consumable 10-episode binge watch with the half-hour episode running time. The Blu-ray also has some unique and wildly entertaining special features that should definitely have fans consider adding it to their collection – or just offers anyone who hasn’t watched the show an opportunity to binge before Season 2 in October.
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The first season is a gory blast and an extremely easy binge-watch - highlighted by Campbell easily stepping back into his prosthetic chainsaw hand as Ash Williams. Not only is the show a funny and action-packed ride, but the special features are just as entertaining - the best being a commentary with Raimi, Campbell and Tapert.