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Chucky Review 1.01 – ‘Death by Misadventure’

October 12, 2021 | Posted by Joseph Lee
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Chucky Review 1.01 – ‘Death by Misadventure’  

Warning: This review contains spoilers for tonight’s episode. Don’t read if you haven’t watched it yet.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a television review, but if anyone can get me back into it, it would be Chucky. You just can’t keep a Good Guy down, as this killer doll has been active for over thirty years now. Middling remake aside, the original series is still going strong, sticking to the same (sometimes inconsistent) continuity. It’s a tricky process to move the series to TV. Not only do you have to maintain the continuity that fans expect but start as an entry point for new viewers. A direct to video sequel, you don’t have to worry about that. But it’s clear USA Network and Syfy are trying to get new people on board, so they’ll have to balance things out.

Of course, the move to television is also a double edged sword. You have significantly more time to fill up than one of the movies usually runs. A Child’s Play sequel is typically about ninety minutes. That’s more or less two episodes of this show, which is set to run for eight total. That means you have to do more than the slash and stalk format to keep people coming back. Luckily, Child’s Play differs from something like Friday the 13th, in that it has the mythology capable of sustaining a longer-form story.

So where did we leave off? Chucky (Brad Dourif) is a doll possessed by the soul of Charles Lee Ray, a serial killer from the 80s. After failing twice to exchange bodies with that of a boy named Andy (Alex Vincent), he tried with multiple other people, even getting himself a bride and a kid along the way. Things got very strange. His most recent adventures saw him torturing and trying to kill Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif), before he was eventually able to splinter his soul, Voldemort-style, and possess her too. I’ll try to point out more plot points as they come up. This is a more complex series than you’d think from looking at it.

Season 1, Episode 1: Death by Misadventure

Directed By: Don Mancini

Written By: Don Mancini

First thing that should be noted, and this may be a bit of a spoiler, but you aren’t going to get a lot of continuity porn in the first episode of this thing. I expected as much, but there may be some people who watch the trailer and think they’re gonna get Andy, Nica, Tiffany and whoever else right away. At most, there is a phone call from someone and a few lines from older movies repurposed for new context. Don Mancini does love to have throwbacks like that. As far as setup, this thing doesn’t even really give away the game with Chucky until halfway in.

Of course, some people may consider that a flaw, as the series is called Chucky and at this point we all know who he is. But that’s kind of the point. We know who Chucky is and we know what he’ll do. It’s just a matter of waiting for the other Good Guy sneaker to drop. In the meantime, we have to devote time to our new characters and getting to know them. Are they going to be worth following? Are they just there to up the body count until the real story begins? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Our hero is Jake. Jake’s a social outcast who is bullied for various reasons. He’s bullied at school for being poor and he’s bullied by his own father at home for being gay. I’d question this if it were done by anyone else, but Don Mancini is still at the helm here and, being gay, he certainly would know the hardships the LGBTQ community goes through. In this case, Jake’s father (played by Devon Sawa, who is playing twins) is having a hard time coming to terms with who his son is and treats him horribly because of it. You know a dude is a perfect fit when not even Chucky, the mass-murdering psychopath doll, thinks there’s an issue with being gay. He probably wouldn’t, though, since everyone bleeds the same color and that’s all he cares about.

So Jake is having a hard time dealing with being a high schooler and getting bullied relentlessly. I can relate, I was also bullied in high school. What I can’t relate to is having a supernaturally possessed doll enter my life, but that’s what happens with our boy. He finds Chucky at a yard sale (one of several, I’m sure) and takes him home. Eventually, Chucky reveals himself as alive to the kid and starts trying to help him in the twisted ways Chucky would help someone. I almost wonder if this was a take on the remake, which likewise featured a Chucky that had a twisted morality when it came to helping the kid he was with.

I’m honestly kind of surprised that the show thought to tackle serious issues like bullying and homophobia. It’s played surprisingly straightforward, although I question the morally dubious stance of saying these people deserve to die. But I guess that’s going to be the crux of the story, since it’s Chucky saying that. Chucky doesn’t really think their views are why they need to die, he just wants to kill them. It’s about whether or not Jake is okay letting them die because of how he feels about it. And beyond that, we have to be spinning our wheels because there’s gotta be a larger reason our killer doll has returned to the place of his birth.

If there’s a problem with the script, it’s that some of these people are truly awful with seemingly no redeeming value. Perhaps they’ll get a chance to grow, but right now they’re stock bully characters. Jake is given the most development, obviously, but all we really know about him is he’s meek, has a crush on another kid at his school and is definitely dealing with some issues. But it’s episode one. There’s still time to flesh him out as bodies drop around him. The same can’t be said for one character, as we do get a murder right off the bat. I won’t spoil who, but I can’t say I’m sorry to see them go.

So far, some minor script issues aside, this was an easy watch. It does a good job of building sympathy for the main character and Chucky gets to be Chucky. I mean he really gets to be Chucky, as I was surprised to see Syfy allowing the f word on television. Multiple times. Between that and I’m sure more gore eventually, anyone worried that this would be a tamer version of Child’s Play can put those fears to rest. I mean, there won’t be any nudity, but the only nudity I can recall in the series was Tiffany’s boobs…in doll form.

The rest of the season seems to be previewing more carnage from Chucky, an attempt to turn Jake to the dark side and all the missing characters we’re hoping to see. It also looks like we’re going to get into the backstory of Charles Lee Ray so hold onto your butts for that one. At any rate, I’ll be here reviewing it until the end, friends.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Episode one of Chucky is an easy watch as we hit the ground running with new characters, the same old Chucky and some surprisingly serious issues. It's occasionally clunky and the antagonists full one-note, but there's still time to explore them. As long as you enjoy it for what it is and don't expect things to get crazy yet, you should enjoy yourself.

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Chucky, Joseph Lee