There's a moment when you're watching the pilot for Ash vs. Evil Dead (airing as a Starz original series) when you accept that it just isn't going to capture the majesty of the classic Evil Dead 2. How could it? There was a charm in that rawness and grit that could only come from a low-budget horror effort – plus, it was 30 goddamn years ago. Thankfully, this return to Ash's screwed-up world isn't simply fan service. This is what happens when a cult franchise gets old and somehow still (magically) has legs. Ask any horror fan: Evil Dead is Star Wars for gorehounds. On that premise alone, this show is wildly successful in delivering the goods.
The plot? Who cares. But if you really need something to whet your appetite: Ash Williams, now old and living in a trailer park, realizes that he has once again summoned the forces of evil to our world and must strap on his trusty chainsaw arm one more time. It's not about the pathos; it's about the personality.
Franchise creator Sam Raimi fills the first episode to the brim with charm, trademark wit and blood by the gallons. Evil Dead diehards will devour it, and newcomers to the franchise may even be inspired to explore the old films for the first time. That's probably the most amazing thing about the show – it proves that there's still a ton of life left in the dead. Hail to the king, baby.