Zackary Arthur stars as Jake Wheeler, a loner and wannabe artist who stumbles upon Chucky at a yard sale. Jake’s father Logan (Devon Sawa, who also plays Logan’s twin brother) has been harsh and depressed after the death of his wife, and his frequent outbursts at Jake are putting a lot of unnecessary stress on the kid’s shoulders. Not to mention he goes to school with a whole horde of less extreme Stephen King bullies, plus one podcaster who Jake takes a liking to. See, they live in Hackensack, where serial killer Charles Lee Ray (aka Chucky) is originally from. It’s strange to see Child’s Play feature average teenagers as the leads (ground it’s barely covered in the past), but the series premiere handled it pretty well so I’m excited to see what’s in store.
It seems that horror homages will be a constant in this series, which brings some new texture to the franchise, seeing as it its titular murder doll was one of the original 80s horror icons. In fact, the opening shot is a direct reference to one of the most iconic film openings of all time, which just goes to show that Chucky knows exactly the audience it’s catering to; horror fans love being reminded of the genre they’re watching, but not when it becomes too obvious and overblown. It’s a line that I hope Chucky continues to tow with the skill Mancini and the returning cast bring to it.
The end of the episode finally brings Chucky into the limelight in all his glory, and it only makes me more excited to see what the series has in store. Its presence on the SyFy channel allows it some measure of gore and explicit language, so I’m interested to see how it will handle the extreme violence of the films in the television medium. As long as the series stays original and fresh, I’ll be loving it, and it’s a good sign for the horror genre — and perhaps the sign of a franchise renaissance — to see that classic series like Child’s Play can flourish on TV just as well as in the theater. [Grade: A]
Available: On Demand
Fun Fact: The man who calls Jake about the Chucky doll is Andy Barclay, the protagonist of the first film, once again played by Alex Vincent.