Ranking the top 5 moments from “Ash vs Evil Dead” season 3 episode 1 season premiere: “Evil…we’re coming for you!”

Happy Monday TV fans!  After watching Starz’s Ash vs Evil Dead season 3 episode 1 season premiere last night, I think it’s important to stick to what you’re good at.  In Ash’s case, this means fighting the good fight against evil while keeping a good sense of humor about it all.  In case you have never watched Ash vs Evil Dead before, you should immediately watch the films: Evil Dead 1 & 2 followed by Army of Darkness.  Actually, you can even skip Evil Dead if in a rush and go straight to Army of Darkness for some campy horror fun with outrageous laugh out loud moments.  Seriously, Bruce Campbell is a genius.  Many years later, Ash is back with his chain-saw arm and is pretty much the only thing standing in the way of “The Book of Dead.”  Now that you are all caught up, please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the season 3 premiere yet.  In last night’s episode, “Family,” Ash is living well in his hometown, Elk Grove, slashing high prices left and right with his new business venture.  He gets an unexpected surprise, however; when he learns that he has a daughter named…wait what was it?  Don’t worry Ash, you’ll get the hang of fatherhood soon enough.  Meanwhile, Ruby is back and is unleashing some sort of hell, Kelly is rocking some serious leather, and Pablo’s not out of the woods just yet when the words of the dead resurface on his body.  My top 5 moments from Ash vs Evil Dead season 3 episode 1 are:

5

Ashy Slashy’s.

In the beginning of the episode, it seems that Elk Grove has finally settled down and put evil in its rear view mirror.  What’s next for Ash?  I guess the only thing that makes sense is for him to open up a “hardware store/sex toy emporium” named “Ashy Slashy’s.”  I mean he is slashing high prices with his legendary chainsaw arm which really gives it the dramatic effect that proves he means business.  Plus, he’s getting to work with Pablo again and enjoying some well deserved margaritas along the way.  Unfortunately for Ash, “The Book of Dead” has resurfaced and is coming for Elk Grove.

4

Ruby is back.

Ruby, played by the absolutely gorgeous, Lucy Lawless is back and sporting some fierce platinum blonde hair.  Every time it seems like she may be dead for good, she resurfaces, causing trouble wherever she goes.  While we see her chanting from the “Book of the Dead” and getting ready to give birth to something we can only assume is pure evil, where does she stand with Ash and the gang?  Is Ruby out for revenge or is she scheming something new?  We’ll have to stay tuned to find out, but it’s great to have one of our fan-favorites back for season 3.

3

Kelly shows up with a new friend.

As the episode went on, a mysterious guy dressed in leather seemed to be hanging around Elk Grove quite a lot, keeping a close eye on Ash and Pablo.  Later, when Ash and the gang are under attack by a deadite, he shows up with Kelly to help fight the good fight.  We learn that his name is Dalton and he is a “Knight of Sumeria,” which according to Kelly means he is a big fan, but it seems like we have a lot to learn about him.  Either way, it looks like he’s on the side of good for now.

2

Ash has a wife…and a daughter.

When a woman claims to be Ash’s wife, he reminds her that he “never forgets a rack but faces are a little fuzzy.”  Seems like a valid point, until his wife snaps him back to reality reminding him about a drunken night long ago where he met “Candy Bar,” otherwise known as Candace Barr.  While the memories come rushing back, Ash insists that he can’t have a daughter because he was using his “lucky rubber.”   Ash’s daughter, Brandy Barr is in high school and is literally about to be attacked by forces of evil.  As Brandy and her friend, Rachel quickly realize that the Cougar school mascot has moved way past creepy into something full on terrifying, it’s up to Ash and his former wife, Candace to step in and save the day.

1

“Sorry jailbait my dance card is a little full.”

When Brandy’s friend, Rachel gets possessed by a deadite, she puts on quite the musical performance, even bringing out an old favorite, “Ashy Slashy.”  Ash is not distracted by this in the slightest however, knocking her out with a trombone and telling her to “blow.”  Unfortunately for Ash’s former wife, Candace, she gets decapitated with a cymbal to the horror of her daughter.  After the deadite taunts Ash about destroying him and his seed, he puts her in her place and cleverly uses a harp as an interesting choice of weapon.  After all, his dance card is full.  This now leaves Ash to pick up the pieces and help his daughter; Sandy…wait was it…Mandy?  I’m sure Ash will learn that her name is Brandy in time, but it’s good to have some fresh faces join the cast to add for some more campy horror fun.  Either way, the family is back together again and they’re coming for evil…right after Ash smokes a jay.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and comments on Ash vs Evil Dead below.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Ranking the top 5 spin-off television series of all time: Can a spin-off surpass an original?

Is it possible for a spin-off series to surpass the original?  Perhaps not in most cases, but that doesn’t mean that the spin-off can’t branch out into something entertaining and epic on its own.  Creating a spin-off series is always a gamble.  You are relying on the fans from the original series to follow the show and create a fan base with its own separate identity as well.  While many spin-off series have failed to capture this difficult standard, there have been some that are so memorable that you almost forget that there was an original series that started it all.  This really got me thinking about my own favorite spin-off series and why they stand out above the rest.  My top 5 favorite spin-off television series of all time are:

5

The Originals.  This show is a spin-off series of the CW’s successful hit, The Vampire Diaries.  Klaus Mikaelson and his family of original vampires are introduced as dangerous and worthy villains, but their history is so rich and intriguing, not leaving The Vampire Diaries much room to explore it among its own plot.  The Originals is set in New Orleans and fans were pleased to see the Mikaelson family as the center of it all, while introducing new characters as well with just as much complexity.  The Originals does not shy away from its roots and all fans know where it started, however; it takes a darker and more historical approach to vampires, allowing viewers to see the full picture of how everything started.  After years of watching both series, I came to ultimately prefer The Originals because it was fresher and explored darker elements.  Klaus, who was previously shown as a ruthless killer with no remorse, now shows a glimmer of a soul and reveals to us how he became so broken in the midst of family and romantic betrayals.

4

Melrose Place.  This show is a spin-off series of one of my all time favorites, Beverly Hills, 90210.  90210 was such a success and targeted a teenage audience who craved a drama with more depth and complication than your average soap opera.  Some fans don’t remember that the very entertaining Melrose Place was actually a spin-off of 90210.  Jake is introduced as an old friend of Dylan’s and has a fleeting romantic moment with Kelly, only to decide to ride his motorcycle off to a new town to discover a life of his own.  The opening episodes of Melrose Place even feature Kelly coming to find him to see why he had broken their relationship off, strategically hooking in viewers from 90210.  While a lot of the love triangles, betrayals, and outrageous plots seem familiar to 90210, Melrose Place did a good job of capturing an old generation of viewers as well, breaking out of the mold of a high school drama and paving the way for many more shows to come.

3

Angel.   A spin-off of the hit TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon recognized that Buffy and Angel’s story was over…or at least put on pause, leaving fans wondering where Angel would go after Buffy graduated and went off to college.  Lucky for us, Angel was not done with his destiny just yet, traveling to LA with fan-favorite, Cordelia, to help innocents along the way and even start his own business while doing so, taking on one evil lawyer at a time.  In Buffy, Angel’s back story is briefly explored, but his own show allows us to truly see and understand every aspect of his origin.  Also, Angel was not able to shine as much in Buffy since he was obviously not the center of the show.  Angel’s personality and potential were often stifled in Buffy because the focus was on more of the romantic relationship between them, rather than who Angel truly was or meant to be.  This spin-off series did have a strong following and it was lined up right after Buffy on the same night of airings, but Angel did have its own identity and voice, proving that a supporting character could become a principal hero after all.

2

Better Call Saul A spin-off of the hit series, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is a prequel to the beloved series, focusing primarily on our favorite scheming lawyer, Saul Goodman.  This spin-off is one of the most successful ones I have watched and I adore both series.  What’s so great about the show is that it introduces important elements and characters that fans recognize from Breaking Bad, giving us a chance to further dive into how everything started in Breaking Bad.  However, this does not outshine the incredible acting by Bob Odenkirk who does an excellent job at truly embracing his character.  While fans are pleased with his wit and schemes along the way, we begin to fully learn about his past life and what lead him to the decisions he made later in Breaking Bad.  Saul demonstrates his work ethic and how much he wanted to be a lawyer and prove to his brother and girlfriend that he is capable of being a good man.  This becomes difficult to maintain later on, but it is clear that Saul’s character is deeper and more complex than anyone could have imagined on Breaking Bad, creating something unique and separate from the series it came from.

1

Xena:  Warrior Princess.  Who could forget the fabulous and beautiful Xena, played by the brilliant and gorgeous, Lucy Lawless?  While fans remember that it is a spin-off of Hercules, this series surpasses it in my opinion.  Xena paved the way for strong female leads such as Buffy, proving that a female warrior can be just as dangerous as any man.  Xena fights warriors and gods along the way, refusing to back down.  Her iconic battle cry is still memorable along with her heart-warming and controversial friendship with her side-kick, Gabrielle.  While Xena did air directly after Hercules in the lineup, fans became more excited and hooked by Xena.  I did watch both shows and have to admit that once Xena came on, all bets were off.  While the show was darker and more violent than Hercules, it was the character of Xena that drew me in.  She wasn’t just a hero; she was jaded, and searching for forgiveness.  She masked her vulnerability and weakness behind her sword, but the humanity in her provided viewers with a true connection to her character.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your thoughts and comments below along with some of your favorite spin-off television series of all time.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

Ranking the top 5 television series based on movies: “If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

So I’ve noticed that more and more remakes and adaptations from film are making their way to the smaller screen, which got me thinking about some of my favorites and how they compare to the originals.  While some television series go in a completely different direction, others attempt to be closer to the original but sometimes fail to capture the same allure, leaving fans disappointed or searching for more.  To me, what makes a television series truly stand out is if it takes on its own life and branches out into a new world of characters and stories.  Whether it is considered a prequel or another chapter, the series has to capture the interest of the viewer who tuned in and keep it.  Sounds like a difficult task especially when you add in an original film that the series is based on.  Some of the shows below do an excellent job of staying true to the original and respecting where the series comes from in terms of history and context.  At the same time, they are able to continue on with the story or shift into a new one without skipping a beat, keeping the original fans happy and bringing in new ones at the same time.  My top 5 television series based on movies are:

5) Teen Wolf.  Based upon the 1985 film of the same name starring Michael J. Fox, the series was created in 2011 on MTV.  Already this was a risky move, as the audience MTV was targeting might not have necessarily seen the original movie, although I hope so.  While the movie has a cheesy humor-like quality, the series follows the same premise of a teenage-boy realizing that he is transforming into a werewolf, only it embraces more of a horror genre approach.  Both characters are named Scott, only with different last names and have to deal with the consequences of being bitten by a werewolf while dealing with everyday teenage drama.  While the series is based on the movie, it really becomes something completely new and different, advancing the plot into something darker with touches of romance and terror, delving much deeper into the story.

4) Hannibal.  Based upon the films, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, the series is a psychological thriller that dives into the relationship between FBI agent, Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter who will later become his nemesis.  While the television series had a lot to live up to from the books and films it was based upon, it proves to be a contender with excellent performances and a detailed plot, which keeps the viewer active and involved.  As a result, the audience becomes hooked and drawn to every horrible reveal.  While the films attempt to stay true to the books and showcase a simpler approach, the series is not afraid to break into new developments and jump head first into the darkness and insanity that is at the core of these characters.

3) Ash vs Evil Dead.  Based upon the franchise films, The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness, the series once again stars the very funny and brilliant Bruce Campbell as Ash or “Ashy Slashy” as fans know him by.  What is so great about this series is it is a true continuation of the films.  Bruce Campbell is once again the star bringing fans back to the originals.  Bruce Campbell has a true talent for bringing the campy horror-like genre a life of its own and I would have been disappointed if anyone had been casted in his place.  Once again, Bruce and his chainsaw arm need to fight the forces of evil and he recruits some new and fun characters to help along the way.  Lucy Lawless also joins the cast who did work with Bruce previously on Xena and fits in perfectly.  The series stays true to the campy-horror genre while keeping the comedy going strong.

2) Bates Motel.  Based upon the classic film, Psycho, the prequel follows the life of Norman Bates as a teenager and also introduces his mother, Norma Bates.  The acting in the series is so real and powerful, as each actor reveals to the audience vulnerability blended with insanity, hypnotizing us into wanting to watch more and more.  What’s truly impressive about the series is that the viewer becomes attached and fully invested into both Norman and Norma.  As Norman is losing control, you do feel bad for him and see that there are moments of goodness that do truly exist in him.  His unusual attachment to his mother seems harmless at first, but grows into something more and more dangerous, however.  The series does an excellent job of allowing viewers to see the man behind the monster and to understand that although darkness wins in the end, there is a grey area that exists, making it not so easy to merely write Norman off as a killer without a conscience.

1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Based upon the film of the same name, this television series is at the top of my list because it takes a superficial campy premise and turns it into something epic and memorable.  In the film, Buffy is very superficial and materialistic which creates some laughs and fun along the way, but there is nothing substantial about her character that makes her stand out.  When Joss Whedon decided to turn his movie into a television series, Buffy had now become a character that teenage girls could truly look up to.  She is a strong female who makes some bad decisions along the way, but this shows that she is human and she has to sacrifice a lot in order to save the world, growing up fast as a result.  The humor remains but is more subtle and witty in the series, embracing more of a romantic and darker idea about the world of vampires and truly recognizing that this is a lot of pressure to put on one teenage girl to fight them all and repeatedly save the world.  The series has the perfect blend of drama, action, comedy, and horror with terrific acting and entertaining villains along the way.  It has truly surpassed the film, but it’s fun to take a look back at the movie from time to time.

 

I hope you enjoyed the list.  Feel free to post your comments below on your favorite television series based on films.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl