Chucky (2021– )

TVSeries


Chucky (TV Series 2021– )

After a vintage Chucky doll turns up at a suburban yard sale, an idyllic American town is thrown into chaos as a series of horrifying murders begin to expose the town's hypocrisies and secrets.
USA
IMDb   N/A
Metacritic   70 %
TheMovieDb    8.0 /10
RottenTomatoes  90 %
FilmAffinity   6.4 /10
Creators
Creator Don Mancini
Information
Release Date2021-10-12
Runtime
GenreHorror, Mystery, Thriller
Content Rating
Awards
CompanyDavid Kirschner Productions, Eat the Cat, NBCUniversal Content Studios
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Jake Webberas Jake Webber
Chuckyas Chucky
Caroline Crossas Caroline Cross
Charles Lee Rayas Charles Lee Ray
Principal McVeyas Principal McVey
Alex Vincent
Alex Vincent
Andy Barclayas Andy Barclay
Devon Lopezas Devon Lopez
Junior Webberas Junior Webber
Lexy Tayloras Lexy Taylor
Marisa McIntyre
Marisa McIntyre
Elizabeth Rayas Elizabeth Ray
Antonio Raine Pastore
Antonio Raine Pastore
Danceras Dancer
Logan Wheeleras Logan Wheeler
Tiffany Valentineas Tiffany Valentine
Sage Arrindell
Sage Arrindell
Beckyas Becky
Tyler Barish
Tyler Barish
Delilahas Delilah
Amanda Cheung
Amanda Cheung
Older Girl at Partyas Older Girl at Party

Chucky (TV series)

Chucky is an American horror television series created by Don Mancini and based on the Child's Play film franchise. It serves as a sequel to Cult of Chucky, the seventh film in the franchise and stars Brad Dourif, reprising his role as the voice of the titular character, alongside Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent, Christine Elise McCarthy, and Jennifer Tilly returning for their roles from the previous films. The cast also includes Zackary Arthur, Teo Briones, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Björgvin Arnarson, Lexa Doig and Devon Sawa.

Developed by Syfy and USA Network, the series follows Chucky as he commits a series of mysterious murders in a quiet city in the United States. Series creator Mancini and writer David Kirschner both serve as executive producers for the series, alongside Nick Antosca, Harley Peyton and Alex Hedlund. The series premiered simultaneously on Syfy and the USA Network on October 12, 2021. It received generally positive reviews from critics.


Plot

The series takes place after the events of Cult of Chucky. In the city of Hackensack, New Jersey, 14-year-old Jake Wheeler buys a Good Guy doll at a yard sale to use it in his contemporary art project. He later discovers that the doll is possessed by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, who in this form is known as Chucky. Jake soon becomes a suspect in a series of strange events involving the doll, who unleashes a wave of shocking murders around the town. Some of the boy's classmates will also see themselves linked to these events. In addition, a series of flashbacks explore Charles's past as a seemingly normal kid who somehow became one of Hackensack's most notorious killers.

Starring mostly teenagers and advertised as a "coming of rage" story, the series tackles themes of sexuality, bullying, domestic life and murder. The main character, Jake Wheeler, finds himself prompted to homicidal acts by the doll while also struggling with his crush on classmate Devon and other issues that arise from being gay in unaccepting environments.


Cast and characters

Main

  • Zackary Arthur as Jake Wheeler, a teenager who purchases Chucky at a yard sale and is mentored then menaced by Chucky
  • Björgvin Arnarson as Devon Evans, Jake's boyfriend and Junior's best friend
  • Alyvia Alyn Lind as Lexy Cross, one of Jake's former enemies turned friend and Junior's ex-girlfriend
  • Teo Briones as Junior Wheeler, Jake's antagonistic cousin and Lexy's ex-boyfriend
  • Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky/Charles Lee Ray, a vicious serial killer who before dying transferred his soul into a "Good Guy" doll David Kohlsmith as young Charles Lee Ray (7 years old) Tyler Barish as young Charles Lee Ray (14 years old) Fiona Dourif as Charles Lee Ray in the 1980s
  • David Kohlsmith as young Charles Lee Ray (7 years old)
  • Tyler Barish as young Charles Lee Ray (14 years old)
  • Fiona Dourif as Charles Lee Ray in the 1980s

Recurring

  • Lexa Doig as Bree Wheeler, Jake's aunt, Junior's mother, and Logan's wife
  • Barbara Alyn Woods as Mayor Michelle Cross, Hackensack's mayor, and Lexy's mother
  • Michael Therriault as Nathan Cross, Lexy's father and Michelle's husband
  • Rachelle Casseus as Kim Evans, Devon's mother and a Hackensack detective
  • Carina London Battrick as Caroline Cross, Lexy's younger sister
  • Devon Sawa as Lucas and Logan Wheeler, twin brothers. Lucas is Jake's abusive father who only appears in the first episode. Logan is Jake's uncle, Junior's father, and Bree's husband who appears throughout the season.
  • Fiona Dourif as Nica Pierce, a paraplegic woman who, since the events of Cult of Chucky, has been possessed by Chucky.
  • Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany Valentine, Chucky's lover and partner in crime who possessed a fictionalized Jennifer Tilly. Blaise Crocker as young Tiffany Valentine in 1980's flashback
  • Blaise Crocker as young Tiffany Valentine in 1980's flashback
  • Christine Elise as Kyle, Andy's foster sister
  • Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay, Chucky's archnemesis, who has been tormented by him since 1988

Episodes

No.Title Directed byWritten by Original air date U.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Death by Misadventure"Don ManciniDon ManciniOctober 12, 20210.457 (Syfy)
0.358 (USA Network)

Jake Wheeler, a 14-year-old middle school student, purchases a vintage Good Guy doll named Chucky from a yard sale with intentions of taking him apart using the pieces in his personal contemporary art project. Jake's father Lucas, who already disapproved of this, later becomes furious during a family dinner where Jake's cousin Junior, an academic high achiever and junior athlete, makes a snide remark about how Jake spending too much time "playing with dolls", and comments on Jake being gay. Roused by latent homophobia, once alone, Lucas smashes the doll-sculpture Jake was working on with a baseball bat, and forbids him from bringing any more dolls into the house. Hoping to sell Chucky, Jake takes him to school the next day, where he is bullied by Junior and his girlfriend Lexy. At home, Jake is called by Andy Barclay, who convinces him that Chucky is possessed by the soul of deceased serial killer Charles Lee Ray; Jake then throws the doll away. Chucky tracks Jake down to the school talent show later that night and forces him to perform an act, under the guise of the doll being a ventriloquist dummy. During the act, Chucky publicly humiliates both Lexy and his aunt Bree and Jake is subsequently suspended from school. During a heated argument with Lucas afterward over Lucas's shame over Jake's sexuality, Lucas hits him, Jake states that he wishes his father were dead. Chucky murders him soon after. Jake is taken to live with Junior's family, and Chucky proposes the prospect of killing Lexy too. Flashbacks begin showing the childhood of Charles Lee Ray, who was born in Jake's town.


Flashbacks: In 1965, Charles Lee Ray is sitting with his mother and they are looking at the mirror happily.
2"Give Me Something Good to Eat"Dermott DownsHarley Peyton & Don ManciniOctober 19, 20210.390 (Syfy)
0.280 (USA Network)

Jake returns to school after his father's death where he's invited to Oliver's Halloween party. While everyone is out, Chucky murders the Wheelers' maid. Even though it's ruled as an accident, the cops accidentally let slip to Logan and Bree that they're beginning to suspect Jake murdered his father and now the maid. Jake confronts Chucky, who feigns innocence and tried to convince Jake he's on his side (even going so far as to mention his own genderfluid child). That night, Junior and Jake overhear Logan and Bree discussing if they're even capable of looking after Jake, and Junior begins to fear Jake is capable of hurting Lexy. On the night of the Halloween party, Lexy is told to take her sister Caroline (who has begun to fixate on Chucky since seeing him in the talent show) trick-or-treating, but takes her to the party instead. Jake decides to stay home until he finds Chucky missing and races to the party in a panic. There, he finds Lexy has dressed up as his father, and is mocking his death. Despite his rage, Jake stops Chucky from killing her. That night, Chucky once again tries to convince Jake that the world is where you either kill or be killed, and that he'll have to man up and pick a side, offering his knife. Seemingly convinced, Jake accepts it.


Flashbacks: In 1965, Charles Lee Ray returns home from trick-or-treating. Inspecting his candy, he finds an apple with a razor blade in it, but eats it anyway, uncaring as he cuts his mouth.
3"I Like to Be Hugged"Dermott DownsNick Zigler & Sarah AcostaOctober 26, 20210.330 (Syfy)
0.352 (USA Network)

Chucky persuades Jake to give in his temptation to murder Lexy, remembering his encounter with an unknown serial killer assailant in the 1960s. Jake attempts to murder Lexy during a run, only to encounter Junior, who later tells Lexy to apologize to Jake, worried of what he's capable of. Because of this and her little sister's outburst for wanting Chucky, Lexy apologizes to Jake in hopes of having Chucky to calm her sister down. Jake originally declines, but after Chucky decides to kill Lexy himself, Jake accepts and seemingly gives him up. Meanwhile, Logan and Bree are called into a parent meeting alongside Lexy's parents due to transpired events; Concurrently, Lexy secretly hosts a rave party, with Junior, Devon, and fellow classmate Oliver in attendance. Tensions arise as Junior and Oliver compete for Lexy. Chucky accidentally stabs Oliver when he mistakes him for Lexy, murdering him upstairs as the rest of the partygoers are distracted by the blasting music, completely unaware of Oliver's screams. Chucky then corners Lexy in a room, causing a fire that engulfs the house as Jake visits his parents' graves.


Flashbacks: In 1965, a young Charles Lee Ray helps the unknown assailant murder his parents.
4"Just Let Go"Leslie LibmanMallory Westfall & Kim GarlandNovember 2, 20210.282 (Syfy)
0.302 (USA Network)

As a result of the fire, Junior, Devon, and Caroline are hospitalized, with Caroline in the ICU. Lexy and Jake begrudgingly team up to investigate Lexy's destroyed house for Chucky. Meanwhile, Junior sees Chucky while getting a medical procedure done, and Devon's research reveals the true history of Chucky, or Charles Lee Ray. At the Cross house, Jake and Lexy's fighting results in Lexy falling from the railing and Jake holding on to her. Despite Chucky appearing and attempting to convince Jake to let go, Jake tells Chucky he's not like him and saves Lexy's life. However, a police officer appears after this and takes them and Chucky to the hospital. When the two kids get there, Jake is stopped by Detective Evans who strongly believes he's behind the murders. At the hospital, Chucky murders the police officer who found him. Devon finds Lexy and tells her the truth about Chucky. As Jake is being interrogated, Caroline's life support is unplugged, causing chaos in her hospital room. The police officer's body is found, and Jake, Lexy and Devon watch as Chucky flips them off from a distance.


Flashbacks: In 1972 at a foster boarding home, a teenage Chucky is seen living there with other children, including a young (and future accomplice) Eddie Caputo. Chucky kills the home janitor and in an innocent game, he scares other children when they see the janitor's body in a forest. Eventually, Chucky leaves the home and bids farewell to Caputo, leaving him a unique present in a box in the form of a severed hand implied to be the janitor’s.
5"Little Little Lies"Leslie LibmanHarley Peyton & Rachael ParadisNovember 9, 20210.252 (Syfy)
0.265 (USA Network)

When the Cross family returns home, Lexy's dad gives Caroline a Good Guy doll named Tommy, in replacement for the burnt up Chucky. Jake, Devon and Lexy ambush the burnt Chucky in a trash can and kick him to his apparent death. Believing Chucky is dead, they move on with their lives, and Jake and Devon have their first kiss. Somewhere at a hotel in Hackensack, Tiffany and a possessed Nica Pierce are seen living there with two male victims (one who is already dead) held hostage. The two get into an argument that leads to Nica temporarily regaining control of her body. She attempts to free the surviving victim until she returns under Chucky's spell and slashes his neck. Bree talks to her therapist about her stage 4 cancer diagnosis and promises to come clean to her family. Mayor Cross and Detective Evans hold a town meeting at the school showing remorse for events transpired including announcing new city rules. However, things quickly become disastrous when the principal's severed head rolls onto the stage, revealing her murder. Chucky is revealed to be alive, having transferred his soul into the Tommy doll.


Flashbacks: In the 1980s, a young adult Charles Lee Ray is seen in a dance club where he meets an exotic dancer who he flirts with. He takes both the dancer and a red-headed woman to a hotel, where the two women put on a show until Chucky kills the dancer much to the joy of both him and the other woman, who is revealed to be a young Tiffany.
6"Cape Queer"Samir RehemNick Zigler & Sarah AcostaNovember 16, 20210.377 (Syfy)
0.278 (USA Network)

After the events of Cult of Chucky, Andy and his foster sister Kyle have begun to hunt down the remaining Chucky dolls. Jake, Devon, and Lexy watch as their biology teacher, Mrs. Fairchild, is arrested and charged with the murders of Oliver and Principal McFay; with no other option, Jake and Devon are able to successfully contact Andy and Kyle. Meanwhile, Nica reverts back to her original body and feigns Chucky in Tiffany's presence. However, Tiffany discovers the ruse and reveals that she has purchased Chucky's childhood home before knocking Nica out and tying her up inside the house, admitting to her she has grown to prefer her company over Chucky's. Bree comes clean about her cancer diagnosis to her family; during a meeting with her therapist, Chucky pushes a cart towards Bree and throws her out the glass window to her death. Bree's therapist attributes this to depression and labels this as a suicide. Devon reveals his relationship with Jake to his mom; shortly after, Jake, Devon, and Lexy set up a trap for Chucky, who attacks the trio and murders Detective Evans by breaking her neck when she falls down the stairs.


"Flashbacks":Chucky and Tiffany purchase a car and slit the salesman's throat. While they drive, Chucky reads a book about Voodoo.
7"Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss"TBADon ManciniNovember 23, 2021TBD
8"An Affair to Dismember"TBADon ManciniNovember 30, 2021TBD

Production

Development

On January 29, 2019, it was reported the series was in development on Syfy, with Don Mancini serving as the series creator. Mancini was also expected to serve as an executive producer alongside David Kirschner and Nick Antosca. On January 11, 2020, during NBCUniversal's presentation at the TCA Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California, it was announced that Syfy had given the production a straight-to-series order, with Harley Peyton was set to serve as an executive producer alongside Mancini, Kirschner, and Antosca. Universal Content Productions would be involved producing the series. Mancini wrote all eight episodes of the first season and directed the first episode. For Chucky's character, he was allowed to add the word "fuck" a maximum of ten times per episode.

Mancini, who began working for television on the Hannibal series, wanted to "reinvent" the Chucky franchise by bringing it to this format, and subsequently expand its fandom. He took a somewhat autobiographical approach to Jake's character, a gay teenager whose father is not accepting of the boy's "burgeoning sexual and romantic identity". The director cites this conflict as referential to his own adolescence. The show is a direct sequel to Cult of Chucky (2017), where the cliffhanger ending puts the titular character "on the road to a sexual exploration" after he transfers his soul to a female body. As an innovation for the character, Chucky is also used as a "metaphor" of the real life bully, guising himself to be "charming funny" and manipulating people (what Mancini called "the ultimate bully"). By making him close to Jake, whose struggles are related to those of the LGBT community, the series also acknowledges that "Chucky himself has a queer kid" (Glen/Glenda, from Seed of Chucky). With eight hours to explore different sides of the story, Mancini saw the opportunity to explore the killer's past and answer questions that fans had been asking, like who his first victim was and how he met his bride Tiffany. While working on the show, Mancini was concerned with the potential impact the 2019 Child's Play reboot could have had in the franchise, speculating that, had it been a success, Universal Pictures could have decided to abandon the original film continuity. However, the reboot film was not the success Universal expected and a sequel has not been produced.

Casting

The first teaser for the show, released on July 15, 2020, revealed that Brad Dourif would again provide the voice of Chucky. Between March and April of the following year, many other actors already linked to the franchise were confirmed to have recurring parts, including Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany Valentine, Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay, Christine Elise as Kyle, and Fiona Dourif as Nica Pierce. Devon Sawa was cast to play the roles of twins Lucas and Logan Wheeler, while Barbara Alyn Woods and Lexa Doig were chosen for other recurring characters. Four teenage actors were also added to the list: Zackary Arthur as Jake, Teo Briones as Junior, Alyvia Alyn Lind as Lexy, and Björgvin Arnarson as Devon. Arthur, whose parents did not let him watch R-rated movies as a kid, had his first introduction to the saga in preparation for his role.

Filming

Filming for the series was scheduled to start in the fall of 2020, but it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shooting officially began on March 29, 2021, and concluded on August 11, 2021, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Square One parking lot in Mississauga was used as a "base camp" for production. Tony Gardner and Peter Chevako developed Chucky's look with the goal to make him look exactly like in Child's Play 2. It took group of six or seven puppeteers to make Chucky move, which represents 99.5% of the doll's actions, according to Mancini, who has expressed his preference to do things practically over using computer-generated images. Digital effects were only used to erase puppeteers from screen or any implements required by the animatronic, such as rods or cables. A child named Jacob sometimes performed as a double.


Broadcast

A week after the American premiere, Chucky premiered on Showcase in Canada on October 19, 2021. It is also available on Star+ for all of Latin America and on 9Now in Australia. In Asia, the series broadcast on Rock Entertainment on October 31, 2021.


Reception

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 90% based on 30 critic reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A bloody good time that benefits greatly from Brad Dourif's return, Chucky may not play well for non-fans, but franchise devotees will find its absurd humor and creative horror very much intact on the small screen." Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 70 out of 100 based on 10 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Earlier reviews, which focused on the first four episodes that were sent to critics, commented on how the franchise was adapted to the television format. Alex McLevy from The A.V. Club said that the series "retains all of penchant for grotesque kills and juvenile, acidic humor", and that "when the oddball mix of sensibilities works, can be daffily entertaining". Television critic Daniel Fienberg finds the franchise "more funny than scary", with this installment still leaning towards the latter; writing for The Hollywood Reporter, he affirmed that "the series delivers solidly" when it comes to displaying Chucky in action, although being "a tiny bit unnerving when it shows how humans interact with the doll". Allison Keene from Paste described it as "surprisingly warm in terms of its atmosphere and direction", whereas Steven Scaife from Slant called it a "funny, absurd series that engenders sympathy as well as shock", also stating: "It creates a world of malleable, alienated kids failed to varying degrees by their parents, and then it expresses the danger of what they find once they're pushed away".

Within its first week, the show attracted a total of 4.4 million viewers, half of them being in the 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. It was one of the highest-rated premieres of 2021 in cable television. With the episodes later debuting on both Syfy and USA Network's official YouTube channels for free, Chucky also gathered 2.9 million views combined in the United States, by October 25.

Ratings

Syfy

Viewership and ratings per episode of Chucky
No.TitleAir dateRating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"Death by Misadventure"October 12, 20210.20.4570.10.2010.30.658
2"Give Me Something Good to Eat"October 19, 20210.10.3900.20.3850.30.705
3"I Like to Be Hugged"October 26, 20210.20.330TBDTBDTBDTBD
4"Just Let Go"November 2, 20210.10.282TBDTBDTBDTBD
5"Little Little Lies"November 9, 20210.10.252TBDTBDTBDTBD
6"Cape Queer"November 16, 20210.10.377TBDTBDTBDTBD

USA Network

Viewership and ratings per episode of Chucky
No.TitleAir dateRating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"Death by Misadventure"October 12, 20210.10.3580.10.3010.20.659
2"Give Me Something Good to Eat"October 19, 20210.10.2800.10.2190.20.499
3"I Like to Be Hugged"October 26, 20210.10.352TBDTBDTBDTBD
4"Just Let Go"November 2, 20210.10.302TBDTBDTBDTBD
5"Little Little Lies"November 9, 20210.10.265TBDTBDTBDTBD
6"Cape Queer"November 16, 20210.10.278TBDTBDTBDTBD