There are some things that I really dislike about the modern short TV season format, even for good shows, and that’s true nowhere like it is here. Stan Against Evil is a low-budget horror comedy from creator Dana Gould, about a small New Hampshire town where all of the sheriffs have died because one of them, long ago, murdered 172 witches and the witches are getting back at the town. But what can you really do in 8 half-hour episodes?
Surprisingly, quite a bit.The story centers around former sheriff Stan and new sheriff Evie, as they discover strange things are afoot in Willard’s Mill. It turns out Stan’s late wife was actually a supernatural protector and now that she’s gone, it falls to him to continue her work. Too bad he’s so lazy.
Stan Against Evil does silly horror right, it knows how ridiculous the premise is and it plays it to the hilt. John C. McGinley does a fantastic job as Stanley Miller, the disaffected former sheriff who just wants to be left alone in his retirement, but keeps getting swept up in the town’s weirdness. Janet Varney plays Evie Barret, new sheriff in town and counterbalance to Stan. She’s everything he’s not. She’s energetic and truly cares about the town. He doesn’t. The rest of the cast, honestly, doesn’t leave much of an impression on me, from Stan’s daughter Denise to Evie’s assistant Leon, both of them are more annoying than interesting, truth be told.
One of the biggest issues with the show though is that it doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere. The episodes are stand-alone, they can be seen in almost any order and it all makes just as much sense. I know this is a comedy, but it also has to tell an interesting story that makes you want to keep tuning in and so far at least, it is somewhat lacking in that department. Yes, watching McGinley be Stan is enough to keep me coming back, but so far, it hasn’t been enough to move this to the top of my weekly watch list.
And it doesn’t seem like it has much support from IFC either. After the first couple of weeks, it seems like they burned off the rest of the episodes, showing two a week until it was done. That’s not particularly promising, especially on a small network like IFC. I mean, the show is fun to watch, even if it does have problems, I don’t think those problems are that hard to solve in a second season, if the show gets one. It has kind of a Buffy vibe to it, now I think it needs a stronger narrative structure that will show the audience that not only is it funny, it knows where it’s going as well. I’m going to have to hope so because this is a show I’d really like to see come back for more.