What If Lisa Had All The Power: 2018 Emmys Edition


Hi, everyone!

I meant to do this a lot earlier in the month but with the combination of the 4th of July and some other things I had to attend to, I didn’t get the chance until now.  In just a few hours, the 2018 Emmy nominations will be announced.  Hopefully, it’ll be a good morning for Twin Peaks!

Anyway, here’s who and what I would nominate in the major Emmy categories if I had all the power.  Please notice that I just said major categories.  There’s like hundreds of different Emmy categories, the majority of which aren’t ever awarded during the prime time awards show.  As much as I’d love to post every single category, it’s late and I’m not sure that you really care who I think should win Outstanding Art Direction For An Informational Program, 30 Minutes Or Shorter.

Anyway, here are my picks.  Obviously, I’ve only nominated films and TV shows that I actually watched during the 2017-2018 season.  For the most part, I also limited myself to the shows and performers that have actually been submitted for Emmy consideration.  You can see a full list of all the submissions here.

Anyway, here are my nominees.  (Winners are in bold.)

Programming

Best Comedy Series

Atlanta,

Barry,

Brooklyn Nine-Nine,

The End of the Fucking World,

GLOW,

New Girl,

Silicon Valley,

Young Sheldon

Best Drama Series

The Americans,

Game of Thrones,

The Crown

Legion,

Ozark,

Stranger Things,

Trust,

Westworld

Outstanding Limited Series

The Alienist,

American Vandal,

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,

Genius: Picasso,

Howard’s End,

Picnic at Hanging Rock,

The Terror,

Twin Peaks: The Return

Outstanding Television Movie

(I cheated with this category.  Jesus Christ Superstar was submitted in the category of Outstanding Variety Special.  I felt it belonged here and since it’s my list, I went with it.)

Cocaine Godmother,

I Am Elizabeth Smart,

Jesus Christ Superstar,

Psych: The Movie,

Sharknado 5,

The Tale,

USS Calllister (Black Mirror)

When Love Kills: The Falacia Blakely Story

Outstanding Reality Competition Program

The Amazing Race,

The Bachelorette,

Big Brother: Celebrity Edition,

Dancing With The Stars,

Hell’s Kitchen,

Project Runway,

Survivor,

World of Dance

 

Performers

Best Actor (Comedy)

Bruce Campbell in Ash Vs. Evil Dead

Donald Glover in Atlanta

Bill Hader in Barry

Pete Holmes in Crashing

Alex Lawther in The End of the Fucking World

Andy Samberg in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best Actor (Drama)

Jason Bateman in Ozark

Tom Ellis in Lucifer

James Franco in The Deuce

Ed Harris in Westworld

Donald Sutherland in Trust

Jeffrey Wright in Westworld

Best Actor (Limited Series)

Antonio Banderas in Genius: Picasso

Daniel Bruhl in The Alienist

Darren Criss in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Tyler Kitsch in Waco

Kyle MacLachlan in Twin Peaks: The Return

Jimmy Tatro in American Vandal

Best Actor (Movie)

Matthew Broderick in A Christmas Story Live!

Dule Hill in Psych: The Movie

John Legend in Jesus Christ Superstar

Al Pacino in Paterno

Jesse Plemons in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

James Roday in Psych: The Movie

Best Actress (Comedy)

Jessica Barden in The End Of The Fucking World

Melissa Barrera in Vida

Alison Brie in GLOW

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl

Justina Machado in One Day At A Time

Ella Purnell in Sweetbitter

Best Actress (Drama)

Claire Danes in Homeland

Claire Foy in The Crown

Rose McIver in iZombie

Krysten Ritter in Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Keri Russell in The Americans

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld

Best Actress (Limited Series)

Hayley Atwell in Howard’s End

Natalie Dormer in Picnic at Hanging Rock

Jennifer Ferrin Mosiac

Anna Friel in The Girlfriend Experience

Sarah Gadon in Alias Grace

Louisa Krause in The Girlfriend Experience

Best Actress (Movie)

Alana Boden in I Am Elizabeth Smart

Laura Dern in The Tale

Parisa Fitz-Henley in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance

Kelly MacDonald in The Child In Time (Masterpiece Theater)

Maya Rudolph in A Christmas Story Live!

Catherine Zeta-Jones in Cocaine Godmother

Best Supporting Actor (Comedy)

Andre Braugher in Brooklyn Nine Nine

Brian Tyree Henry in Atlanta

Marc Maron in GLOW

Stephen Root in Barry

Henry Winkler in Barry

Zach Woods in Silicon Valley

Best Supporting Actor (Drama)

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones

Noah Emmerich in The Americans

Brendan Fraser in Trust

James Marsden in Westworld

Zahn McClarnon in Westworld

Matt Smith in The Crown

Best Supporting Actor (Limited Series)

Tyler Alvarez in American Vandal

Miguel Ferrer in Twin Peaks: The Return

Robert Forster in Twin Peaks: The Return

Michael Horse in Twin Peaks: The Return

David Lynch in Twin Peaks: The Return

Finn Wittrock in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Best Supporting Actor (Movie)

Corbin Bernsen in Psych: The Movie

Brandon Victor Dixon in Jesus Christ Superstar

Aldis Hodge in Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Jason Ritter in The Tale

Jimmi Simpson in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Skeet Ulrich in I Am Elizabeth Smart

Best Supporting Actress (Comedy)

Stephanie Beartriz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Suzanne Cryer in Silicon Valley

Sarah Goldberg in Barry

Rita Moreno in One Day At A Time

Zoe Perry in Young Sheldon

Hannah Simone in New Girl

Best Supporting Actress (Drama)

Summer Bishil in The Magicians

Lena Headey in Game of Thrones

Margo Martindale in The Americans

Thandie Newton in Westworld

Aubrey Plaza in Legion

Tessa Thompson in Westworld

Best Supporting Actress (Limited Series)

Penelope Cruz in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Laura Dern in Twin Peaks: The Return

Dakota Fanning in The Alienist

Judith Light in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Julia Ormond in Howards End

Naomi Watts in Twin Peaks: The Return

Best Supporting Actress (Movie)

Sara Bareilles in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert

Ellen Burstyn in The Tale

Michaela Coel in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Anna Gasteyer in A Christmas Story Live!

Anjelica Huston in The Watcher In The Woods

Letitia Wright in Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Best Guest Actor (Comedy)

Bill Burr in Crashing

Josh Hamilton in Sweetbitter

Lee Majors in Ash vs. Evil Dead

Wallace Shawn in Young Sheldon

Danny Trejo in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Gerald Webb in Barry

Best Guest Actor (Drama)

Michael C. Hall in The Crown

C. Thomas Howell in Marvel’s The Punisher

Matthew Modine in Stranger Things

Denis O’Hare in American Masters

Jimmi Simpson in Westworld

Jonathan Tucker in Westworld

Best Guest Actress (Comedy)

Gail Bean in Atlanta

Rashida Jones in Portlandia

Nasim Pedrad in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Sheridan Piece in One Day At A Time

Elizabeth Perkins in GLOW

Wrenn Schmidt in Sweetbitter

Best Guest Actress (Drama)

Jodi Balfour in The Crown

Donatella Finocchiaro in Trust

Marlee Matlin in The Magicians

Lily Rabe in Legion 

Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones

Mageina Tovah in The Magicians

2015 In Review: 16 Good Things I Saw On Television


Last night, as I was trying to write up my annual list of the good things that I saw on TV during the previous year, I realized that I was struggling a bit to come up with enough entries to justify doing a list.  The more I thought about it, the more apparent it became that I watched a lot less TV than usual last year.

(Though I did manage to watch a lot of Lifetime movies…)

Furthermore, when I do think about what I saw on television last year, a lot of my memories deal with being annoyed.  I find myself fixating on those terrible Liberty Mutual Insurance Commercials and that stupid advertisement where they wouldn’t stop saying, “The Tobin Stance…” and especially that Taco Bell commercial with those horrible hipsters, Mary and Dominic, talking about how much they love breakfast tacos.

BLEH!

But, that said, there were still a few things worth praising!  (Hope is never totally lost…)  And here they are in no particular order:

1) South Park Had One Of Its Greatest Seasons Ever!

Seriously, 2015 saw South Park have one of its greatest seasons ever.  Trey and Matt took on the excesses of PC Culture and ended up providing one of the most important and incisive critiques of 21st Century America ever.  At a time when political and cultural criticism is growing increasingly dreary and predictable, South Park delivered a much-needed jolt to the system and reminded of us why satire and humor are so important in the first place.  Perhaps the best part of this season was watching dreary PC-obsessed critics desperately trying to figure out how to praise this season without acknowledging that they were the ones being satirized.

2) UnReal

One of the best shows on television premiered on the Lifetime network.  UnReal took us behind the scenes of a Bachelor-type series and provided the ultimate take down of reality television.  I love reality TV but I loved UnReal even more.

Enjoy Jacksonville, Ash.

3) Ash vs. Evil Dead

Save us, Groovy Bruce!

4) Agent Carter

Agent Carter didn’t get as much attention as it deserved during its 8-episode short season.  I loved the show’s retro look, I loved the way it satirized 40s style sexism, I loved the dashing Dominic Cooper as Iron Man’s father, and most of all, I loved Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter!  The overrated Supergirl has been getting a lot of attention as an empowering comic book show but honestly, Agent Carter did it first, did it with style and wit, and did it a 100 times better.

5) Show Me A Hero

At times, this HBO miniseries was a bit too heavy-handed for my taste.  But overall, it was a fascinating look at municipal politics and racism up north.  (Yes, there are racists up north, as much as people refuse to admit it.)  Plus, Oscar Isaac gave a great performance as an initially idealistic politician who is literally destroyed by his attempt to do the right thing.

6) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

HBO pretty much fell apart this year (The Brink?  Ballers?) but, fortunately, Netflix was there to offer up some of the best original programming of the year.  Kimmy Schmidt is brilliantly hilarious and gives Elle Kemper a role that is finally worthy of her talents.

Jessica Jones

7) Jessica Jones

Again, who needs Supergirl when you’ve got Jessica Jones?

8) Glenn lived on The Walking Dead!

Actually, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  To be honest, having Glenn survive that zombie attack totally goes against everything that The Walking Dead previously stood for.  After all, this was the show where anyone could die.  It didn’t matter if you were likable or popular or if the sight of you being ripped into pieces would traumatize the viewers.  Under the previously established rules of the show, Glenn should have died.  And yet, he didn’t.  And I can’t complain because, seriously — was anyone really ready to see Glenn die?  That said, if Glenn somehow escapes certain death a second time, it’ll be a problem.

Degrassi_Season_13_title_card

9) Degrassi Was Picked Up By Netflix!

Oh my God, I was so upset when I heard that my beloved Degrassi would no longer be airing on TeenNick.  I’ve always said that the day when there were no more episodes of Degrassi would be the day that I would finally have to admit to being an adult.  Fortunately, Netflix picked up Degrassi so I got to put off adulthood for at least another year.

10) More Old People TV Networks

I’m a history nerd so I love all of these TV networks that only show reruns of old people TV shows.  I may never get to personally experience what it was like to be alive in the 1970s but I can a rerun on an Old People TV Network and get a taste.  And happily, it seems like there’s a new Old People TV network every day!  Seriously, I’m getting quite an education.

shock

11) Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci on TCM

Last year, they showed both Shock and The House By The Cemetery on TCM!  Finally, Bava and Fulci are getting the respect they deserve.  Now, if only TCM would show a Jean Rollin film…

12) Speaking of TCM…

Actually, I just love TCM in general.  It’s without a doubt the greatest thing in the world!

13) Debate Counter-Programming

Seriously, I am so happy that there is always something else for me to watch while everyone else in the world is watching a Presidential debate.  My main fear is that, in the future, all of the networks will decide to simultaneously air the debates (like they occasionally do with charity fund raisers) and there will be no escape from the droning emptiness of it all.

(Seriously, I could imagine them doing it.  “These debates are damn important…”  Whatever.)

14) One of my tweets appeared on TV!

Seriously that was pretty neat, even if I did turn out to be 100% incorrect in my prediction.

B-e7UMLIUAA9a7V

15) I trashed The Leisure Class and sent at least one troll into a rage spiral!

Seriously, never underestimate how much some people love the unlovable!  My oddly controversial review of the Project Greenlight film really rubbed some people the wrong way.  That some people felt so strongly about it is both alarming and amusing.

16) Dancing Sharks at The Super Bowl!

That was in 2015, wasn’t it?

Dance, Shark, dance!

Dance, Shark, dance!

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at 2015 with my ten favorite non-fiction books of the year!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2015:

  1. Valerie Troutman’s 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw in 2015
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2015
  3. 2015 In Review: The Best of SyFy
  4. 2015 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  5. 2015 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films of 2015
  6. 2015 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Songs of 2015

 

Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead 1.5 “The Host”


Ash-vs-Evil-Dead-105

Just forty minutes ago, I was in the process of deciding what I was going to wear to a Christmas party tomorrow night when I suddenly realized that I had yet to write up a review of the latest episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead.

AGCK!

Seriously, I was shocked and ashamed of myself.  It’s not just the fact that I take some earned pride in being consistent as far as my reviews are concerned.  There was also the fact that The Host was one of the best episodes of Ash vs. Evil Dead so far.

It’s also one of the most important because The Host is perhaps the first episode not to solely focus on Ash and Bruce Campbell.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Bruce Campbell and I imagine you do as well.  Bruce will always be the main reason that we watch Ash Vs. Evil Dead.  But, at the same time, Ash is not the only character on the show.  There’s also Kelly and Pablo.  While Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago have both had some strong moments, both Kelly and especially Pablo have largely existed in Ash’s shadow, with Kelly briefly capturing the spotlight during the 2nd episode.  With The Host, Pablo finally got his chance to shine.

And really, when I rewatched The Host, it was hard not to feel that the show itself was specifically acknowledging that Pablo and Kelly needed an opportunity to establish their own identities outside of just being Ash’s sidekicks.  This episode, after all, opened up with Ash bound and gagged (which, as we all know, is probably the only way to keep Ash from talking).  For fifteen minutes, Ash was incapacitated and Kelly and Pablo finally got their moment.

And both Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago made the most of it.  The highlight of this episode was definitely watching the very earnest Pablo interact with the possessed Kelly.  There was actually something rather touching about the way Pablo nervously interacted with the suddenly aggressive Kelly.  I was half-convinced that Kelly would be able to talk him into sucking on the barrel of that shotgun, just because Pablo seemed to be so genuinely upset about saying no to her.  For the first time in this series, Pablo was something more than just Ash’s sidekick.  During The Host, he finally emerged as an individual with a personality all of his own.

trickery-ash-vs-evil-dead

And it’s actually a pretty appealing personality.  Pablo may not be any smarter than Ash but he’s still a lot less destructive.  Assuming that he can ever get over his blind hero worship, Pablo could actually be a very good influence on Ash.  You need Ash to save the world from the Deadites but you also need Pablo to save the world from Ash.

Speaking of Ash, he did eventually get untied.  With the help of Pablo and Pablo’s uncle, he finally managed to get that demon to leave Kelly’s body.  Of course, the Brujo was killed during the exorcism but that’s to be expected.  With the exception of Pablo and Kelly, anyone who helps Ash ends up getting killed.  That’s just the way it goes.  At least the Brujo died an honorable death in a worth episode.

There are only five episode left of Ash vs. Evil Dead!  Who will Ash end up getting killed next?

aved-5

 

Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead 1.4 “Brujo”


Pablo (Ray Santiago), Ash (Bruce Campbell), and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) in Ash vs. Evil Dead

Pablo (Ray Santiago), Ash (Bruce Campbell), and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) in Ash vs. Evil Dead

With this being a week full of birthdays and holidays, it took me a while to finally get around to watching Brujo, the fourth episode of the Starz original series, Ash vs. Evil Dead. However, I’m happy to say that I just watched it and here are a few thoughts.

Hopefully, these will be coherent thoughts. As I sit here typing this, it’s 4 in the morning and I’m only half awake. But then again, Ash vs. Evil Dead is the perfect show to watch when you’re only half awake. First off, the show itself is wonderfully uncomplicated. The Deadites spend their time chasing Ash. Ash spends his time saying anything that pops into his head. Pablo spends his time idolizing Ash. Kelly spends her time wondering how she got stuck in this mess. Whenever things do get complicated, it’s because Ash has done something stupid. To quote Brujo, when it comes to Ash, “the flame is dim, but it flickers.”

Secondly, Ash vs. Evil Dead is pretty much nonstop mayhem. This episode, for instance, opened with Ash in a car chase and then moved on to Ruby (Lucy Lawless) stomping on the head of a Deadite. In doing so, Ruby saved the life of Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), the state trooper who was previously left handcuffed in harm’s way by Ash. Among other things, this episode revealed that Ruby is the daughter of Professor Knowby and blames Ash for the death of her family in Evil Dead 2. Ruby, it turns out, has also been hauling around Ash’s possessed hand in the back of her car.

Seriously, how could you sleep through that?

The majority of tonight’s episode dealt with Brujo leading Ash on a drug-fueled vision quest. We got to see the inside of Ash’s mind and … oh my God. Seriously, it was everything I was expecting it to be and more. Ash’s mind was revealed to be a cluttered collection of 80s music, 80s porn, 80s television, 80s cars, and nonstop retail employment. It’s a world where every magazine is Playboy, every song has a lengthy guitar solo, and there’s way too much neon.

When, as a part of his vision quest, Ash found himself blind, he heard the voice of Brujo telling him to calm down.

“Stop being a little bitch,” Brujo told him.

“You’re being a bitch, dude!” Ash snapped back.

Oh, Ash – don’t ever change.

During Ash’s quest/trip, he not only found himself in his ideal location – Jacksonville, Florida – but he also suddenly once again had two hands. “Brujo!” Ash exclaimed, staring down at his two hands, “I need two beers!”

While all this was going on, we got a fun scene of Pablo and Kelly making Ash a new prosthetic hand. Up until this point, Pablo and Kelly have both existed in Ash’s shadow but, in these scenes, they both got a chance to establish their own characters and their own chemistry and it was charming to watch.

Unfortunately, we then discovered that Kelly was possessed by Eligos, the frightening demon that Ash made the mistake of summoning during the last episode. If you’ll remember, it originally appeared that Kelly got rid of Eligos by hitting him with The Necronomicon. At the time, I felt that was a bit too simple of a way to banish Eligos and it turns out that I was right. Instead of returning to Hell, Eligos entered Kelly and eventually, he showed up in Ash’s trip. Suddenly, Ash’s idealized dream world of Jacksonville, Florida turned into the nightmarish stockroom of Value Mart and Ash had to do battle with Eligos.

And, to his credit, Ash appeared to have the upper hand on Eligos. However, defeating Eligos in his mind also meant that Ash was strangling Kelly in the real world. Pablo came to the rescue, hitting Ash in the back of his head and apparently knocking him out. As this episode came to a close, Ash was still unconscious, Kelly was still possessed, Fisher and Ruby was still driving around with Ash’s hand in the back seat, and nobody seemed to be doing much about the Deadite invasion…

Hmmm…actually, I guess Ash vs. Evil Dead isn’t quite as simple as I said.   Seriously, things are starting to get downright complicated.

Anyway, as for the episode itself, I liked it but then again, I’ve liked every episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead. I’ve read some complaints that the series has yet to settle on a consistent tone but quite frankly, I think that’s one reason why Ash vs. Evil Dead is so enjoyable. It is joyfully and unapologetically messy and inconsistent. There’s no way you can predict what’s going to happen because literally anything can happen and probably will. The show is completely insane and totally excessive but it’s anchored by Bruce Campbell’s lead performance. In a world where there is no logic, Ash Williams is king.

You don’t watch a show like Ash vs. Evil Dead because it makes sense. You watch because it features Bruce Campbell saying things like, “You’re a bitch, dude.” So far, Ash vs. Evil Dead has totally delivered.

Enjoy Jacksonville, Ash.

Enjoy Jacksonville, Ash.

Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1 Episode 3 “Books From Beyond”


The adventures of Ash Williams, humanity’s only hope, continued last night on Starz.  The third episode of Ash Vs. Evil Dead found Ash going to an occult book store and essentially screwing things up and getting at least one person killed.

That’s not really a big shock.  That’s pretty much what Ash Williams does.  He’s been fighting the Evil Dead for longer than I’ve been alive and he still doesn’t quite seem to know what he’s doing.  I mean, let’s be honest — if Ash would stop reading aloud from that book, the entire world would have been saved a lot of trouble.  Really, we should all hate Ash but how can you hate Bruce Campbell?

It’s undeniably true that for many of us, Ash and Bruce Campbell pretty much are interchangeable.  That’s a bit unfair to Bruce, who seems to be a much more intelligent person than Ash and I also assume that Bruce is probably less likely to indulge in as much casual racism as Ash.  That said, I have a feeling that if I ever meet Groovy Bruce in person, I will be disappointed to discover that he actually has two hands.

And really, Bruce-as-Ash is the main appeal of a show like Ash vs. Evil Dead.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think Dana DeLorenzo is great as Kelly and Ray Santiago has his moments as Pablo.  So does Jill Maries Jones, even if the character of Detective Jones feels a bit underwritten.  Lucy Lawless was in last night’s episode, playing the mysterious Ruby Knowby and I can’t wait until she and Bruce actually get to share some scenes together because I think the Ruby/Ash confrontation is going to be amazing.

But, ultimately, we’re all watching for Bruce-as-Ash.  There’s a reason why Ash gets his name in the title.

As for last night’s episode, Ash took his copy of The Necronomicon to Books from Beyond, so he could get the store’s owner, Lionel Hawkins (Kelson Henderson), to read from it and hopefully find a way to send the Deadites back to Hell.  There was something really endearing about how excited Lionel was to see The Necronomicon and discover that he hadn’t been wasting his life.  Of course, unfortunately, Lionel ended up getting killed but not before he got the best line of the night: “The book is harmless except when wielded by someone very evil or very stupid.”

Ash’s bright idea, of course, was to summon another demon that would presumably then defeat the Deadites.  (Somehow, Ash got it into his head that this was actually Pablo’s idea.)  From the minute the demon showed up and Lionel warned Ash not to break the circle, I knew that Ash was going to break the circle.

As a result of Ash being Ash, Lionel was killed.  Fortunately, Kelly was there to somehow vanquish the demon by hitting it over the head with The Necronomicon.  Also there was Detective Fisher, who was still investigating her partner’s mysterious death.  Ash ended up handcuffing her to a shelf and apparently forgot about her.  Either that or Ash seriously didn’t realize that Lionel would come back as a Deadite and that the handcuffed Fisher would apparently have no way to escape him.

So, will Fisher escape?  Things didn’t look good for her at the end of last night’s episode but I have a feeling Lucy Lawless will show up and save her.

As for Ash — well, as he put it last night: “At heart, I’m an alone wolf.”

You certainly are, Ash.  You certainly are.

Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1 Episode 2 “Bait”


ash-vs-evil-dead-mimi-rogers-2

So, I finally got a chance to watch Bait, the second episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, and you know what?  It will probably never happen because this isn’t exactly a traditional awards-bait show and, if the somber and ultraserious Walking Dead can’t get any Emmy love, I doubt that Ash vs. Evil Dead will ever do any better.  But, seriously, Mimi Rogers totally deserves an Emmy for her performance in Bait.

I’m not sure which category she would win for.  I guess Best Actress in a Comedy Series, though I think it’s a bit too simplistic to say that Ash vs. Evil Dead is just a comedy.  It’s true that Ash vs. Evil Dead is full of funny moments and Bruce Campbell can make me laugh just by narrowing his eyes but, at the same time, there’s some pretty dark stuff going on in this “comedy.”  And the Deadites are genuinely scary!  It’s not just the makeup and the voices.  There’s also the fact that they come to us in the form of the people that we love and, more often than not, they reveal the inner demons of our loved ones.

I mean, think about it.  What if you had to choose between becoming a zombie or becoming a Deadite?  I think I’d rather be a zombie.  After all, a zombie is just a walking body.  You may recognize the body but you know that the soul and the mind are no longer there.  If I became a zombie, you could shoot me in the head without worrying about hurting my feelings.  In fact, I wouldn’t even know that I was a zombie.  And, if someone I loved became a zombie, I’m pretty sure that I could put them down if I had to.  Because, again, a zombie is just a body without a personality.  I mean, zombies can’t even talk!

But Deadites — oh my God!  No way would I want to become one of those.  Deadites still have a personality.  You can’t shut them up.  Up until they start drooling and talking in that evil voice, Deadites can still act like human beings.  That false hint of lingering humanity would make it impossible for me to kill a Deadite.

I guess that’s why we’re lucky to have Ash Williams around.  Ash is infamous for not being particularly smart but, as the Evil Dead franchise continually reminds us, his stupidity is his greatest strength.  Ash doesn’t get caught up in the specifics.  He doesn’t worry about the why.  Instead, he just does what he has to do.  He’s a blue-collar hero, in his way.

As for the 2nd episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, it featured Ash and Pablo saving Kelly from her Deadite mom, played by Mimi Rogers.  It took Ash a while to convince Kelly that her mom was actually a Deadite.  In fact, Kelly didn’t really believe it until her mom stabbed her father in the eye with a fork.

What made this episode especially memorable was that Kelly’s mom was almost as scary when she was normal as when she was a Deadite.  The scene where Ash, Pablo, Kelly, and the parents had an awkward dinner together was full of cringe-worthy moments.  It was obvious that there were problems in the family even before mom killed dad.  Becoming a Deadite allowed Kelly’s mom the chance to express her true feelings towards everyone.

Fortunately, Ash was there with his trusty chainsaw.

And, happily, he’ll be back on Saturday as well!

Which is good because Ash Williams may be our only hope…

ash-promo

Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1 Episode 1 “El Jefe”


ash-vs-evil-dead-header-2

Last night, like all good horror fans, I sat down and I watched the premiere of the new Starz show, Ash vs. Evil Dead!

And it was groovy!

Okay, I’m sorry.  I imagine that I am one of about 100,000 reviewers who started a review of Ash vs. Evil Dead by saying that it was groovy.  That is probably the most obvious thing that I could have possibly said and, as someone who prides herself on being both an original and a contrarian, I should be deeply ashamed.

But I’m not.  Because, seriously — groovy was the perfect description for this show.  Even if it wasn’t the catch phrase of both Ash Williams and Bruce Campbell, it would still be just the right word to use.  After all, when Ash vs. Evil Dead was first announced, I know that a lot of people were worried that the show would somehow fail to live up to the legacy of the Evil Dead.  They were worried that Starz would attempt to unnecessarily update the concept or that they would go The Walking Dead route and come up with a dark drama about a grim-faced Ash Williams trying to survive in a world that has been overrun by Deadites.

Well, after seeing the premiere episode, the world does seem to be in danger of being overrun by Deadites but Ash Williams is anything but grim-faced.  Perhaps he should be, since it’s all kind of his fault.

When the first episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead opened, we discovered that Ash was living in a trailer park and that actually seemed rather appropriate.  We also discovered that Ash is no longer encouraging people to “Shop smart.  Shop S-mart.”  No, instead he’s working at Value Mart.  His co-worker, Pablo (Ray Santiago) looks up to Ash even before Ash tells him about what happened during the first two Evil Dead films.  His other co-worker, Kelly (Donna Delorenzo), is a lot less impressed by Ash but he certainly likes her.

What does Ash spend his time doing?  Well, he likes to go down to the local bar and make up stories about why he has a “rosewood” hand.  And, during the first few minutes of the episode, he keeps seeing people suddenly transformed into Deadites.  Even when he’s at work, he ends up getting attacked by an apparently possessed doll, a scene that allows Bruce Campbell to show off his flair for physical comedy.

Why are the Deadites back?  Simply put, they’re back because Ash fucked up.  That shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone because that’s kind of what Ash does.  (Fortunately, he’s played by Bruce Campbell so we love him anyway.)  In this case, Ash was stoned and he decided to impress a one night stand by reading the Necronomicon Ex Mortis.

(If Ash actually learned from his mistakes, he just wouldn’t be Ash.)

One thing I liked about the first episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead is that it didn’t waste any time getting right to what everyone wanted to see.  It opened with the assumption that, if you were watching, you already knew about the twisted history of Ash and the Deadites.  This episode was directed by Sam Raimi and it was full of everything that you could possibly want — cray camera angles, insane tracking shots, slapstick comedy, and blood.  And I do mean a lot of blood.  Whenever the episode threatened to get too serious, Bruce Campbell popped up with another bit of physical comedy or a strangely inspired line reading.  Whenever things threatened to get too silly, a Deadite would suddenly show up and start screaming.  (The Deadites are always scary, regardless of how much comedy may be going on around them.)  Raimi and Campbell struck a perfect balance between comedy and horror.

I imagine that, for many, the premiere’s big applause scene came when Ash and his chainsaw met in mid-air.  It was a perfect moment and hopefully, the rest of the series will follow the premiere’s lead.

Because if it does, this show is going to be really …. groovy.

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