There’s been a large debate going on in the TV realm over the last several years as genre-bending comedies and dramas make their way onto television and into different Emmy categories. Shows with nontraditional formats often have trouble figuring out just where they fall in the TV spectrum. It’s a problem that the creative team over at Ash vs Evil Dead encountered when figuring out whether or not the new series would be a half hour or hour-long program. In a press room at San Diego Comic-Con, we talked to Sam and Ivan Raimi, who revealed why they ultimately opted to go with the half-hour episodes.
We were wondering which way to go; a lot of times the comedies are traditionally half-hours and dramas are traditionally hours. Ours falls somewhere in between. And we never liked to use much of the backstory that often padded some of the later parts of the episode; we like to stick to the a-story, the action and Ash. We thought it would be much more fun and punchy to give the audience a bing-bang-pow with the demons and wrap it up and leave [fans] wanting more at the half-hour mark.
It doesn’t sound like it was an easy decision, but I do really like the idea that we will be getting 10 snappy, half-hour episodes during Season 1 of Ash vs Evil Dead. The series isn’t exactly character-driven, although Bruce Campbell’s Ash is certainly the beloved character at the heart of the franchise. So, by cutting down to a half-hour, the creative team is hoping to deliver a snappy, action-driven series with enough creative one-liners to keep the audience rollicking from start to finish, no extra exposition required. And since Ash is essentially where we last left him at the start of the series—working as the oldest bagboy for a store called Value Stop—it doesn’t seem as if a whole lot of exposition will be needed to catch us up on the last several years or why the Deadites have returned, at all.
Executive Producer Craig Digregorio also spoke out about why he feels the half-hour format is the better fit for Starz’s Ash vs Evil Dead in the press room.
You do have the responsibility to the fanbase but you also have a responsibility to people who are just showing up… [The half-hour format] really lends itself to doing a lot of things that a lot of people would like… I think at the end of the day, we just want to tell a great, fun story with these characters, and hopefully that appeals to everyone.
I’m not sure that blood, gore, and Bruce Campbell in a girdle will exactly appeal to everyone, but the first trailer for Ash vs Evil Dead is certainly a crowd pleaser.
You can catch Ash vs Evil Dead when it premieres on Saturday, October 31 at 9 p.m. ET, only on Starz.