It’s been 4 years since Don Mancini left the Chucky franchise off on a cliffhanger with Cult of Chucky. Not counting the 2019 remake (honestly who does?), we haven’t seen anything from our favorite killer doll. That is, until now.
Premiering on both SyFy and USA, the new Chucky series feels like a breath of fresh air into the franchise, as well as a return to a continuity that started in 1988 and that’s been going strong ever since. The series premiere has all the intrigue, the violence, and of course the dark sense of humor that’s at the very core of who and what Chucky is.
The series opens with an seemingly idyllic small town that we can assume is a suburb of Chicago, as the area is still familiar with the scars of Charles Lee Ray 30+ years later. We meet a 14 year old boy Jake (Zackary Arthur) who buys a Good Guy doll at a yard sale, who happens to be named Chucky.
Jake’s homelife is far from ideal, as his alcoholic father feuds with his much more successful twin brother (both played by Devon Sawa in a dual role). And even Jake’s cousin Junior (Teo Briones) looks down on him, along with his Mean Girls inspired girlfriend Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind), who’s even worse.
She goes so far as to mockingly make a GoFundMe page for Jake, belittling him for being under the poverty line. At a school talent show, she even goes so far as to roast Jake from the stage, at which point Chucky swoops in and seems to come to Jake’s defense.
Same Face, New Doll
After having a unwanted remake forced upon the world, can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Brad Dourif’s Chucky is back, and that the character is nothing without his voice on it?
And this is very much the Chucky we know and love. While some may be upset that he’s responsible for the death of a cat, he gets another kills that’s both awesome and brutal in how it’s shot, but also kind of seems justified.
Chucky still has his warped sense of humor, but for the first time it seems like he’s using it for good (somewhat). He recognizes that Jake is being bullied for his family’s lack of income, as well as constant teasing about his alleged sexual orientation (which the show smartly keeps ambiguous, but even Chucky knows it’s wrong to mock people for that).
He comes to Jake’s aid in a way that we never saw him do for Andy or Nica before him, and it’s really interesting to see. Either Chucky has grown as a person, and doesn’t feel the need to be a complete jerk if he doesn’t have to be, or he has a much more sinister plan in mind that he needs Jake for.
Just the Right Tone
The episode had a lot going on, but did a great job of juggling the different stories, characters and themes. Don Mancini (who both wrote and directed this one) smartly chose to introduce new characters first and ease the audience into this new world and setting, before unloading all the characters and plotlines we’re already familiar with.
He also infused a strong anti-bullying message that even plays out with a title card at the end referring people to a helpline who are in need. It was a nice touch, made even better by the aforementioned point that Chucky seems to be cool with Jake and almost legitimately wants to be his friend (for now).
Also, the fact that Chucky just casually goes along with Jake to all his classes at school with no one really saying anything is kind of hilarious.
It was a great introduction to the series that had just enough references for placate diehard fans of the series, but enough fresh characters and settings to draw in new audiences as their introduction to the character.
What did you think of this episode? What do you hope to see next week? Let us know in the comments!