13 Days of Halloween Day 2: Chucky S01 E01 “Death by Misadventure”

As Larry David would say, “Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good!” The advertisement barrage in anticipation of Chucky, the new television series on Syfy and USA starring that red headed rascal did not lie. The show was great! Photographs and Don Mancini promise familiar faces later, but so far just Brad Dourif returns in the titular role. If the premiere episode is any indication of the quality and writing of the series, Mancini has struck gold!

Chucky (Brad Dourif) is sitting in a yard sale in a heap of other treasures. Artistic high schooler and outcast Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) finds him and shells out $10.00. What we discover is that Jake makes sculptors out of dolls and doll parts. Jake lives with his widower blue collar father Luke (Devon Sawa) who does not understand his son’s artistic obsession with dolls or, on a deeper level, his son’s homosexuality. Jake discovers that Good Guys dolls sell online for at least $1,000 and he lists his for sale. Because he cannot trust his abusive and alcoholic father, Jake takes the doll to school for safe keeping, but must tote it around as it does not fit in his locker.

I do not know what Jake did in a past life, but not only has his mother died and his dad is a jerk, but he is also the victim of an unending amount of bullying. It seems that his only escapes are his artwork and a podcast his listens to that his hosted by his friend and crush Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson). The podcast is about true crime and killers. It is interesting to note that this is not the only television series in 2021 to feature a podcast as a main plot point and to use it as a means for narration. Only Murders in the Building (2021) is proving to be a wonderful vehicle for Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. I am sure podcasts appear in other series, but it will be interesting to see how this device develops and is used. So far, it has treated us to a brief flashback of Charles Lee Ray as a young boy (David Kohlsmith). I hope this develops because after all of this time, we still do not know much about Ray.

The main issue I have with this episode is the same issue I have with all television shows and movies that have kids and teenagers as a large part of the cast. Events take place at school or at school functions but depict them as if no teachers or parents are ever around or chaperoning the students. For instance, Jake attends a school wide talent show in the evening and is bullied by Lexy Cross (Alyvia Alyn Lind) from the stage. Cross’s parents and other parents witness it and so do teachers, but no one stops her. This does lead to a great ventriloquism bit between Jake and Chucky which is a call back of sorts to the beginning of Seed of Chucky (2004). After several swear words and ripping on other students and parents, not only is Jake removed from the stage, but his father is called. Bullying is a plague that haunts people and is getting worse instead of better and I understand how parents and teachers often turn a deaf ear to it. The double standard in this episode is just glaring in this episode and distracts from otherwise some great writing.

Chucky is still possessed by Charles Lee Ray, but we are not sure what his motives are yet. He may just be here to do what he does best, kill! So far, we have not heard any requests to play while “hide the soul.” His main goal seems to be helping Jake overcome his enemies, but Chucky does nothing altruistically.

Overall, I do not have many complaints except that I want more! The episode went way too fast for me. I am a Chucky fan, but this one episode has blown several of the sequels out of the water. I think that the fact that Dourif, Mancini, and so many of the original folks associated with the franchise are associated with this series is very promising. I will be staying tuned!

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