Ash Vs. Evil Dead appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these Blu-Ray Discs. The episodes depicted the expected solid material.
No significant issues with sharpness developed. Some wider elements seemed a bit soft, but those instances didn’t dominate, so the shows usually provided crisp, distinctive visuals. I saw no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws were a non-factor as well.
In terms of palette, the series opted for a fairly subdued feel, with an amber or teal sense much of the time. Within those choices, the hues looked well-developed. Blacks came across as dense and tight, and low-light shots demonstrated nice clarity. All in all, I thought the series delivered nice visuals.
As for the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Ash, it added a lot of pizzazz to the package. In the forward realm, the shows featured solid stereo music and a good sense of environment. Elements meshed smoothly and moved across the spectrum well.
In addition, the surrounds added plenty of material. The back speakers used music well, and effects also created a fine sense of place. The surrounds didn’t have a ton to do throughout the series, but the mix used them in a satisfying manner.
As for the quality of the audio, it seemed good. Speech always came across as natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues. Music was bright and clean, while effects showed nice reproduction. Those elements came across as lively and dynamic, and low-end response appeared deep and firm. The episodes consistently boasted positive audio.
Audio Commentaries accompany all 10 episodes. We hear from the following participants:
“El Jefe”: creator/executive producer/director Sam Raimi, co-executive producer Ivan Raimi, executive producer Rob Tapert and executive producer/actor Bruce Campbell;
“Bait”: Tapert, Campbell and actors Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago;
“Books From Beyond”: Campbell, DeLorenzo and Santiago;
“Brujo”: Campbell, DeLorenzo and Santiago;
“The Host”: Campbell, DeLorenzo and Santiago;
“The Killer of Killers”: DeLorenzo, Santiago and actor Jill Marie Jones;
“Fire in the Hole”: DeLorenzo, Santiago and Jones;
“Ashes to Ashes”: Campbell, DeLorenzo, Santiago and Jones;
“Bound in Flesh”: Campbell, DeLorenzo, Santiago and actor Lucy Lawless;
“The Dark One”: Campbell, DeLorenzo, Santiago and Lawless.
Across these, we get info about how the movies developed into the series and how it ended up on Starz, story/character areas, cast and performances, stunts, sets and locations, effects and related domains.
Without question, the commentary for “El Jefe” works best. The crew give us a peppy, fun look at various production subjects and turn it into a rollicking, informative take on the series’ debut.
While not quite as good, the chats for episodes two through five also work very well, largely due to Campbell’s comfort with the format. Given the nature of the participants, these commentaries focus on acting most of all, but Campbell broadens horizons well, as he offers a slew of delightful anecdotes.
The chats for shows six through 10 seem less successful, unfortunately. The commentaries lose steam when Campbell fails to appear for episodes six and seven, and even when he returns, the tracks fail to recapture their prior glory. The participants tend to simply react to on-screen events; we still get some decent info, but the discussions lack a lot of substance.
To summarize, the commentaries for the season’s first half are great and well worth your attention. Matters get spottier for the second five tracks, though, so if you skip these, you won’t miss out on a lot. They manage to be moderately enjoyable but they disappoint after the fun of the initial five commentaries.
On Disc Two, we also get three featurettes. Inside the World runs 15 minutes, 59 seconds and includes comments from Sam Raimi, executive producer/showrunner Craig DiGregorio, production designer Nick Bassett and prosthetic technician Mark Knight.
“Inside” looks at story/character areas, various effects, cast and performances, stunts and action, vehicles, sets and locations, and connected topics. DiGregorio does all the heavy lifting here, as he covers a wide variety of show-related subjects. “Inside” rushes through the season‘s 10 episodes in a hurry, but it gives us some good details.
How to Kill a Deadite goes for two minutes, 31 seconds and features Campbell and various convention-attending fans. The short just gives us a promo piece.
Finally, Best of Ash lasts one minute, 27 seconds. It provides a montage of show clips and acts as another advertisement.
Disc One opens with an ad for Power.
With Ash Vs. Evil Dead, the horror franchise returns in a big way. The 10 episodes expand the series’ horizons well and provide a lot of gory entertainment. The Blu-rays deliver very good picture and audio as well as some interesting commentaries. Ash acts as a worthy successor to the earlier movies and makes me eager to see Season