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Bloodbath and Beyond

10/28/2015

“Ash vs. Evil Dead”Ash vs Evil Dead
Saturday, Oct. 31 (Starz)
Series Debut: Attention S-Mart shoppers: Ash (Bruce Campbell), and his Boomstick and chainsaw, are back! After three decades of doing little besides lying low, growing a beer belly and pretending the dead never rose — even though re-killing said dead and saving the world is the only thing he’s ever been good at — Ash reluctantly springs (OK, creaks) back into action when the Deadites re-emerge. This time, he’s backed up by adoring sidekick Pablo (Ray Santiago), indifferent runaway Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and a familiar face from the universe of producer/director Sam Raimi: Lucy Lawless. You could think of the 10 half-hour “Ash vs. Evil Dead” episodes as a couple of new back-to-back movies with advanced bloodbath techniques, or you could stop thinking altogether and just enjoy the thrill-ride.

“The Returned”
Saturday, Oct. 31 (Sundance)
Season Premiere: ‘Merica tried like hell to replicate it (ABC’s “Resurrection” and A&E’s “The Returned,” now both canceled), but only France’s “The Returned” strikes the right balance of dread and pathos — and with subtitles, no less. The story of a small mountain community experiencing an influx of thought-to-be-dead former residents, who themselves don’t recall any passage of time or, you know, death, could have been treated as straight-up horror, but “The Returned” also embraces its sadness and personal drama and wraps it all up in gorgeous cinematography with a chilling soundtrack. The uninitiated should begin with Season 1 (Netflix it); the rest of you should note that this is the rare occasion that I recommend anything French besides fries, toast and Serge Gainsbourg.

“The Librarians”
Sunday, Nov. 1 (TNT)
Season Premiere: It should have been a homerun, but the 2014 debut season of “The Librarians” turned out to be more of an air ball (am I doing these sports analogies right?). The creative team behind the original Indiana Jones-with-a-supernatural-twist Librarian movies and the TNT series “Leverage” somehow fumbled (I know that one works) the series after a promising pilot that established a new magical artifact-hunting team (Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Lindy Booth and John Kim) with some veteran backup (O.G. Librarian Noah Wyle). Season 2 looks to be more of the same action-adventure fluff with a distinct “family-friendly” vibe, which is probably what’s throwing me off: gotta remember that not everything has to be “American Horror Story”-level dark. I’m working on it.

“Après Ski”
Monday, Nov. 2 (Bravo)
Series Debut: Lest you think the Colorful Idiots With Posh Jobs reality show well had run dry at Bravo, here’s “Après Ski”: “Canadian hospitality mogul Joey Gibbons has recruited a dream team of dynamic staff members to orchestrate unforgettable experiences — from backcountry heli-skiing and steamy hot springs spa treatments to fine dining in the gondola, no request is too outrageous,” says Bravo. “But when the chairlifts go up and the shotskis go down, the sexy staffers will bump heads and break hearts.” That’s right: more entitled pretty people alternately screaming at and screwing each other. This is why there will never be a behind-the-scenes reality series about TV critics — as the lone good-looking one, I can’t carry a show on my own. CV

Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast, and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.

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