The Wildest Zombie Thriller of the Last 10 Years Is About to Leave Netflix
It might be your last chance to check out this underrated TV show.
When it comes to original shows and movies, Netflix seems to have more misses than hits. (Remember The Man From Toronto? Starring Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson? No?) But the streaming giant is still good for bringing underappreciated stories to a bigger audience. We’ve seen it happen with shows like Cobra Kai and Manifest, which found new life on Netflix. In 2021, another underrated TV series found its way to the service, but unfortunately, instead of getting a new season, this one is about to leave.
The show is Ash vs Evil Dead, a sequel to the Sam Raimi horror trilogy starring Ash himself (Bruce Campbell). On April 28, all three seasons of the zombie horror comedy will depart Netflix. Here’s why you need to watch while you still can.
Picking up 30 years after Army of Darkness left off, the Starz original series finds Ash down on his luck and working at Value Stop, the same supermarket chain where we left him three decades earlier. Ash isn’t even the manager, but the stock boy. He lives in a trailer, spends most of his free time hitting on women at the bar, and seems more interested in hanging out with his millennial coworkers than making anything of his life. Then again, it’s probably tough to care about climbing the corporate ladder after you spent your 20s fighting zombies and time-traveling.
Unfortunately for Ash and his new friends, it doesn’t take long for the franchise’s infamous Deadites to return. It turns out Ash got stoned, dug the Necronomicon out of his trunk, and started reading it for fun, which was enough to activate the curse and unleash the zombie-esque evil upon the Earth all over again.
Created by Sam Raimi, along with his brother Ivan and Tom Spezialy, Ash vs Evil Dead pretty much delivers everything you could want from an Evil Dead sequel series. Bruce Campbell is firing on all cylinders with a mix of physical comedy and a swaggering bravado that hasn’t faded in the slightest. But what’s more impressive is that the rest of the cast is able to keep up. Especially notable is Lucy Lawless, who’s introduced as an ally before becoming a truly terrifying villain.
The show also carries on Raimi’s tradition of gory and gross horror. Pretty much every episode gets its own bloody moment, and the Season 2 scene where Ash’s head gets stuck inside a Deadite’s butthole is a clear standout. (For something a bit less gross, check out the Season 3 sequence where Ash uses a harp to slice a zombie’s face into cold cuts.)
But beyond all the guts and blood and zombie fetuses, Ash vs Evil Dead’s boldest move is to turn its title character from a two-dimensional hero into an actual human being. In the movies, Ash is always too busy shooting Deadites and making quips to show his humanity, but while the show still has plenty of that, the television format gives Raimi and Campbell an opportunity to really explore their protagonist through his relationships with his friends and family, including his teenage daughter.
Ash vs Evil Dead ran for three seasons, with its April 29, 2018 finale tossing its hero into a post-apocalypse future. And while there’s been some speculation the show could continue, nothing is certain.
“We’re considering continuing the TV show in an animated series,” Campbell told Inverse in a 2022 interview, adding that it would pick up where Season 3 left off. “Here’s the deal: It’s Ash’s legacy time now. He’s not just a guy who lives in a crappy trailer. His destiny is to defeat evil in the past, present, and future. He’s done it in the past. He did it in the present. Now he’s off to do it in the future, and you can solidify his legacy.”
Whether we ever get more of Ash vs Evil Dead remains to be seen, but it probably won’t be as a Netflix original. And considering that Starz is owned by Lionsgate, which has been trying to sell off its studios for a while now, the future of the entire endeavor seems perilous.
But who knows where the franchise might wind up? In a few years, some other streaming service could be gearing up to reboot Ash vs Evil Dead. But until that happens, there are three seasons to enjoy right now — before it’s too late.