You know, I never would have expected that I’d be so conflicted about the continuation of Ash’s journey. I don’t know what it is, honestly. If this had been announced five years ago I feel like I would have been on board, no questions asked. So, I guess that I might be actually getting older and maturing… Yeah, it’s as terrible as it sounds.
It would seem that production and promotion for the new Starz original series, Ash vs Evil Dead, is starting to ramp up. Over the past few days the original team of Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert have been doing phone interviews while on location in New Zealand, and they’ve been fairly candid; mostly focusing on where Ash is at in this new iteration, and the state of the “universe.”
Apparently, this new series is going to be taking place in “slightly altered universe,” according to Sam Raimi. It’s more of a direct sequel to Evil Dead 2, and is going to sidestep Army of Darkness by just not bringing it up, I guess. It feels like a weird over complication and unnecessary. Why not just make this series a straight forward continuation of what came before? I really hope there is some significant reason for this approach, and that it’s not just it doesn’t end up being a “just because” type of situation. It’s really the only part of the interview coverage that really stood out to me.
Yeah, it’s going to be super gory because it’s on a premium cable channel, but blood and guts doesn’t necessitate quality storytelling. In fact, it can take away from telling a good story, when viscera is the production focus rather than quality acting or cinematography. It’s really going to depend on who’s acting as the show runner on this thing to facilitate a good balance of both. Hey, I like heads getting blown up as much as the next gore hound, but I’d like those exploding heads to feel purposeful, ya know?
From the interview, I also picked up on the fact that they haven’t really planned all that far ahead in the series. I thought that was kind of strange, considering that the idea for continuing the Ash’s story has been kicking around for almost thirty years. Rob Tapert literally said: “… because we haven’t really discussed episodes 9 and 10 so much,” when asked if there would be time travel(Which makes the whole kind of ignoring Army of Darkness thing even more unnecessary.). That statement slightly perturbs me. I know that that’s pretty standard for most television, things are being written and figured out all throughout production, but shouldn’t this be more of an event thing, and how could they not have, at the very least, a loose idea of where things are going, even if just through the first season.
Honestly, I wish this thing was more of a mini series type thing; One clear and concise story, with a proper beginning, middle and end. Sure, leave open the possibility of more adventures, but tell a good long form story. I have a bad feeling that the majority of the first season is going to be “problem of the week” style episodes, which is all well and good for stuff like Smallville, or The Flash to be more prescient, but even that show has grown to be more serialized. I want one big story, not a bunch of little ones. More like Hannibal, which finds a really terrific balance between serialized and episodic stories. The world is so acclimated to serialized television at this point, if it’s too episodic and can’t find a good balance I can imagine people having a hard time getting into it.Having said all that,I could be totally wrong, and I hope I am. I’m just going off of the trio’s previous television work, and the muddled information about this project. I don’t know, I guess I just figured they would have a set plan and structure for this thing after 30 years of thinking about it. Yeah, I know they’ve done other things, but I’m sure it’s at least been in the back of their heads.
I really love Sam Raimi. He’s a completely sincere showman, and anytime I’ve ever heard him speak, he’s always humble, gracious, sincere, and funny. He puts off a real “every-man” vibe. Okay, now that the niceties are out of the way… He’s a great story teller with incredibly unique and idiosyncratic sensibilities. And that’s the thing, if he’s not pulling all the strings it usually turns out to be shit. Pretty much everything he’s produced, from television to movies, and didn’t write and direct usually turns out terrible. Now, I know it was said that he would be “heavily involved” with the entire series after he directs the pilot, the only episode he’s actually directing, but curiously it was Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell that spoke for him. He didn’t actually say much about it past the practical effects and writing. It definitely concerns me. Raimi type concepts, with no Raimi? No thanks.
Well, you’re probably thinking “But, Bro, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert will be there, Bro. It’s gonna be fine, Bro!” First off, stop calling me “Bro,” it’s annoying. Secondly, have you seen any of their stuff independent from Sam Raimi? Specifically stuff that is written and directed by Bruce Campbell? It’s all either completely terrible(My Name Is Bruce), or intensely mediocre(Man with the Screaming Brain). Those were “Raimi-esque” projects, but they didn’t have his chops to execute them(Oh man, I would love to see a Raimi directed My Name Is Bruce). To be fair, they aren’t so bad that youcan’t enjoy them, but they aren’t “good,” in my opinion, obviously. Also, back in the early nineties they were all involved with the tv shows Hercules and Xena, which aren’t without their charms, but come on, you know they don’t hold up and were never really that good in the first place.
Bleh. I just don’t know….
I really hope this thing turns out well. I have my concerns, but I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be wrong again. Most of my potential problems are completely based off of “this just isn’t how I would have imagined it” type of thinking, which isn’t super fair. I know that. This is a series that I have a lot of nostalgic desires for, and my struggle is going to be accepting that this is a completely new thing, and it should be allowed to be. It isn’t going to be able to recapture the magic of the original films, and ultimately that’s okay. Sure, homages will be paid, but it’s not going to be the same, because it’s not supposed to be. Things seem a little shaky on the production front, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed, hoping that whatever they come up with will be at least fun. Souls will be swallowed, heads will be decapitated, all of the expected staples will be present… I just hope they have a story worth telling somewhere in the midst of all of it.