You’re probably not watching comedy-horror “Ash vs. Evil Dead” on Starz. It seems somehow beneath you. After all, you’re a successful cable executive with sparse TV watching time you devote to critical and ratings darlings like “The Walking Dead.” That’s horror with a purpose, you say. We get it. Of course, TWD’s Sunday season premiere just featured two beloved characters getting their heads bashed in by a psychopath wielding a barbed wire wrapped baseball bat (It’s World Series time, after all). So you’re conflicted. You tell yourself, “Yes, that fourteenth swing of the bat was probably a bit much—but it was… important somehow.” Keep telling yourself that. Of course, emotionally draining gore isn’t the only kind out there. For those who want a guilt-free bloodbath proudly lacking deep messages about the human condition, try Ash vs Evil Dead. It’s a show devoid of “importance,” whose Rube Goldberg-esque lacerations, mutilations and decapitations feed your unhealthy thirst for blood. This is fast food. It’s bad for you. You eat it anyway. And if you’ve been watching Season 2, which premiered Oct 2, you know producers have amped up the gore considerably. “It wasn’t just gratuitousness for the sake of more gratuitousness,” exec producer Rob Tapert tells CFX. “It was finding a way to do set pieces, which is really the backbone of the Evil Dead franchise, and taking those set pieces to a new level. A visceral level. Something that the audience would respond to like ‘Oh, I’ve never seen that. That’s crazy.’” Such evil genius has some critics pondering whether TV has reached “peak gore,” especially after last week’s shocking TWD episode mentioned above. But this is an arms race, folks. “It takes it to another level,” Ash star Bruce Campbell tells us. With horror becoming so prevalent on TV these days, the truth is that audiences will ultimately decide how much is too much. Until then… Happy Halloween. – Michael Grebb 


“The Bureau,” Monday, SundanceNow Doc Club. Viewers are overloaded with too many great series in this golden age of TV, right? Now AMC Networks’ SVOD service plies on, importing French hit “The Bureau.” Many series’ first eps experience pacing problems as they introduce characters and storylines. The Bureau suffers little from these, jumping quickly into the story of Malotru Debailly (Matthieu Kassovitz), who appears to be a teacher in Syria. Actually he’s a French intelligence officer. Soon he’s recalled to HQ in Paris, where he’s not been in years. Assigned to train spies, he begins re-connecting with his former life. This look inside a spy’s life is terrific television. — “America Divided,” Friday, 9pm, EPIX. Even in TV’s golden age, viewers should welcome a garden-variety docu series about difficult issues. They’ve got one here as Norman Lear, 94-years young, teams with Shonda Rhimes and Common. The opener has Lear looking at housing, Common delving into police shootings, while Rosario Dawson examines water in Flint, MI. It’s lean-in TV, as the filmmakers avoid many gotcha moments, preferring to allow the viewer’s blood to boil quietly. — “Blunt Talk,” season 2 premiere, Sunday, 8:35pm, Starz. How far can Sir Patrick Stewart stray from his Shakespearian training? He goes far weekly in this hoot of a comedy with Stewart as a news anchor. — Seth Arenstein

The Daily


New Street Drops Altice USA to ‘Neutral’

New Street Research is downgrading Altice USA to “Neutral” after a warning from CEO Dexter Goei that the provider would lose subs in 3Q21. “The stock is too cheap, even with 12-18 months pause in share

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