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Review: “Chucky” Episode 1 is a Bloody, Fun-Sized Version of the ‘Child’s Play’ Franchise

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Over the course of seven “Child’s Play” installments that span more than three decades, Chucky has certainly carved out a spot for himself amongst the top horror villains, right next to Michael, Freddy, Jason and Leatherface. Now, our favorite Good Guy doll is back, this time on the small screen in a television series that genre buffs never knew they needed.

“Chucky” is a continuation of Don Mancini’s series that dates back to 1988’s Child’s Play. This time, the story is set in present-day Hackensack, New Jersey where 14-year-old Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) is struggling with the loss of his mother while also trying to fit in at school. One day, he passes through a neighbor’s yard sale and happens upon Chucky, snatching up the ‘retro’ doll for a mere ten bucks with a plan to use his head for a freaky sculpture he’s constructed using the body parts of other various dolls. Unfortunately for Jake, his new Good Guy has other intentions, and Chucky lets him know what they are right away. Soon, dead bodies begin turning up and Jake quickly realizes that Chucky may not be his “friend until the end” after all.

This isn’t the first time a popular genre property has made the shift to television. A few years back, MTV debuted Scream, which honestly doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Aside from the laughable mask resembling a melted soda bottle and some questionable dialogue, the writers do a notable job restructuring the film’s renowned formula to fit a small screen format. In addition, a majority of the actors are plausible in their roles. Love it or hate it, Scream proved the slasher concept can work as a television series, and it undoubtedly opened the door for other existing properties to take a stab at it.

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Chucky Episode 1

The biggest draw with “Chucky,” apart from the instantly recognizable name, is that Don Mancini is the showrunner. He’s the brains behind the series as well as its motion picture counterparts. Chucky is his creation, and it should go without saying he knows more about the wicked doll than anyone else. If that isn’t a big enough selling point, then perhaps realizing that Brad Douriff is back to voice the foul-mouthed, homicidal toy is enough to pull in long-time fans.

The first episode is a bit on the slow side, but Mancini and his team do an exceptional job establishing a brand new set of characters, each facing their own share of dilemmas. Initially, “Chucky” feels like your typical teen-driven drama, but once the malicious doll arrives and begins inserting himself into the lives of each character, it’s clear that their usual day-to-day problems are mere ‘child’s play’ compared to what Chucky has in store for them. Fortunately, if the show’s previews are any indication, the Chuckster will have to reckon with some familiar faces from his past, which is bad news for the Good Guy doll but great news for die-hard fans.

So far, “Chucky” is a wicked delight. It’s a bloody, fun-sized version of the Child’s Play franchise horror film buffs know and love. Chucky’s killing spree has already begun, and the pilot episode has dangled plenty of loose threads to keep viewers engaged for several weeks to come.

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