Third-episode verdict: Ash Vs Evil Dead (US: Starz)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 2

In the US: Saturdays, 9pm EST, Starz
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Whatever else can be said about Starz’s Ash Vs Evil Dead, there’ll always be the fact that every week, it gives us Bruce Campbell, doing what he does best – fighting the Evil Dead. But the show has more than that. It has comedy. It has horror.

The precise ratio of comedy to horror varies with every episode. Most of the time, Ash Vs Evil Dead is quite funny but filled with a lot of gore, typically involving Bruce Campbell using his chainsaw-for-a-hand to chop off a head, disembowel something, etc. Watching Campbell do this, as his idiotic Ash character does something even more idiotic each week, is a joy to behold.

What it wasn’t until this week, though, was scary. Gory, yes. Scary no. But all credit to the show, as episode three gave us a demon rather than a zombie/Deadite, and was actually very creepy. It was less funny, but as I said, the ratio tends to vary.

What the show hasn’t yet worked out is how to make us give a toss about Campbell’s young helpers. Or the FBI agent chasing after them. And while it does have the obvious asset of Lucy Lawless in the cast, she only gets to show up for about a minute each episode – something that results from the fact each episode is only half an hour long, so there’s not much room for development or anything that properly services the main plot.

So Ash Vs Evil Dead‘s biggest asset is also its biggest problem: Bruce Campbell. It’s his show and there’s not much else that’s interesting about it. It’s fine as comedy-horror goes, and far more enjoyable compared to any other horror show on TV right now, but that comedy-horror only really works when Bruce is around.

I’ll certainly carry on watching it, because Bruce is Gold. But I can’t help but feel the show is coasting a little, getting by on Bruce when it could be doing a lot more. Maybe we’ll get that in time, once Lucy Lawless shows up in earnest to show the kids how it’s done. Then it might be dead good. See what I did there?

Barrometer rating: 2
TMINE’s prediction: Not as great as it could and should have been, but still top comedy-horror, and Starz has already renewed it for a second season.