Chucky (2021 TV Series)
Date Released: October 12, 2021 – present
Created By: Don Mancini
Starring: Zackary Arthur, Björgvin Arnarson, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Teo Briones, Brad Dourif
Running Time: 41-54 minutes
Chucky is the ongoing TV series featuring the Good Guy Doll Chucky which began airing in October 2021. It’s set in Hackensack, New Jersey where a teenager finds Chucky at a yard sale. Chucky has been renewed for a second season.
- Zackary Arthur as Jake Wheeler, a teenager who buys Chucky at a yard sale.
- Björgvin Arnarson as Devon Evans, Jake’s classmate and boyfriend.
- Alyvia Alyn Lind as Lexy Cross, Jake’s classmate.
- Teo Briones as Junior Wheeler (season 1), Jake’s cousin.
- Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky/Charles Lee Ray, a serial killer who 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 and present.
- Lexa Doig as Bree Wheeler (season 1), 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 (season 1), Lexy’s father, and Michelle’s husband. Therriault previously portrayed Dr. Foley in Cult of Chucky.
- Rachelle Casseus as Kim Evans (season 1), Devon’s mother, and a Hackensack detective.
- Carina London Battrick as Caroline Cross, Lexy’s younger sister.
- Devon Sawa as Lucas and Logan Wheeler (season 1), twin brothers. Lucas is Jake’s abusive father. Logan is Jake’s uncle, Junior’s father, and Bree’s husband.
- 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 flashbacks.
- Jennifer Tilly also voices her doll form that appeared in Bride of Chucky.
- Christine Elise as Kyle, Andy’s foster sister who previously appeared in Child’s Play 2.
- Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay, Chucky’s original owner who previously appeared in Child’s Play and Child’s Play 2.
Chucky takes place after the events of Cult of Chucky, in the city of Hackensack, New Jersey. A 14-year-old boy called Jake Wheeler buys a Good Guy doll at a yard sale so he could use it in his art project. He later finds out the doll is possessed by the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray – Chucky. Chucky goes on a killing spree around town and Jake becomes the prime suspect. There are also flashbacks to the 1980’s which explore Charles and Tiffany’s past and how they became killers. The series covers themes of sexuality as Jake has a crush on his classmate Devon, as well as issues about bullying and murder.
It was reported in January 2019 that a Chucky series was in development on Syfy with Don Mancini as the series creator. In January 2020, it was announced that Syfy had given the production a straight to series order and Harley Peyton, Don Mancini, David Kirschner and Nick Antosca would be executive producers. It was initially announced that Mancini was going to write every episode of the first season but in the end, he got a team of writers and he directed the first episode. Chucky was allowed to use the word “fuck” a maximum of ten times per episode.
Mancini wanted to reinvent the Chucky character by bringing him to TV, after having worked on the Hannibal TV series. Jake’s character is very similar to Mancini’s adolescence himself – a gay teenager whose father doesn’t accept his sexuality. The show continues where 2017’s Cult of Chucky left off where Chucky has transferred his soul into a female body. Mancini also used the 8 hours running time to explore Charles Lee Ray’s past and find out who his first victim was and how he met Tiffany. While the show was in production, Mancini was concerned about Universal’s 2019 Child’s Play reboot – had it been a success, Universal could have produced a sequel ignoring the original film continuity.
In November 2021, USA Network and Syfy had renewed Chucky for a second season. Mancini started working on the first script in December 2021 and said that a lot of characters that fans love may appear in the second season. Jennifer Tilly also said she sees the return of Glen/Glenda. Preparation to start filming began in April 2022 in Toronto.
The first teaser was released in July 2020 and revealed that Brad Dourif is once again providing the voice for Chucky. He initially recorded his dialogue from home. A few actors who appeared in previous Child’s Play films were confirmed to appear in the Chucky series. Jennifer Tilly was reprising her role as Tiffany, Alex Vincent would return as Andy Barclay, Christine Elise as Kyle and Fiona Dourif as Nica Pierce. Fiona Dourif also plays the adult version of Charles Lee Ray but her voice was replaced with Brad Dourif’s in post-production. It was said that Nica, when possessed, sounded too similar which would have been confusing for the audience.
Devon Sawa was cast to play twins Lucas and Logan Wheeler while Barbara Alyn Woods would be playing Mayor Michelle Cross, Lexy’s mother. Lexa Doig was cast as Bree Wheeler, Jake’s aunt. Zackary Arthur was playing the main character Jake Wheeler and Alyvia Alyn Lind was cast as Lexy. She evolves from a “classic mean girl” into somebody who cares about other people. Teo Briones was cast as Junior, Jake’s cousin.
Filming for Chucky was due to begin in late 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID pandemic. They started shooting the series on March 29, 2021 and finished filming on August 11, 2021 in Toronto, Canada. The Square One parking lot in Mississauga was used as the base location for production. Chucky’s appearance was based on his look in Child’s Play 2 as Mancini felt this was the fan’s favourite sequel. A group of six or seven puppeteers were required to make Chucky move which represented 99.5 of Chucky’s actions. Mancini preferred to do things practically where possible instead of using CGI. CGI was only used to hide the puppeteers or rods and cables from the shot. Filming for the second season is scheduled to begin on April 20, 2022 and finish on August 29, 2022.
Joseph LoDuca was the composer on Chucky – he previously worked on Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky. He had read the scripts beforehand and waited until the scenes had been filmed before he added an appropriate soundtrack. A different version of the Child’s Play 2 theme can be heard in scenes with Chucky and Caroline. The series contains licensed music by artists including Billie Eilish, Kim Petras, Electric Youth, The Go-Go’s, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Shaed, and Rob Zombie.
Chucky holds a 91% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 35 reviews. The 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.”
Overall, reception was fairly positive. The first four episodes were sent to the press to watch before the series aired. The Wrap said: “For these reasons alone, this new “Chucky” is a richer, more personal experience — and yet as frightening as ever.” IGN gave the premiere 8/10: “Chucky does a great job of translating the Child’s Play formula to television. Franchise creator Don Mancini spends the series’ first hour establishing a sympathetic new hero in Jake and leaves questions about the killer doll’s return for another day. While you won’t have to worry about sleeping with the light on, the premiere is an effective, witty next step for the worst “Good Guy” ever.”
The Hollywood Reporter gave it a positive review: “The violence is bloody but not gory. I’ve always found the franchise more funny than scary, and that continues here. The series is a tiny bit unnerving when it shows how humans interact with the doll, but when it’s just Chucky stabbing people with pointy objects — his versatility is captured in the various sharp implements that spell out the series’ title in the credits each week — I’m more likely to just giggle.”
In contrast, The Guardian gave it a mediocre review saying “Chucky has never been a character who needed any more explanation than “evil doll who kills” and, while Mancini avoids adding an overly serious amount of grit (he’s mostly aware of the inherent silliness of the whole thing), we’re still spending far too much time exploring something that really doesn’t need to be explored. It’s as redundant as giving the shark in Jaws an origins tale. Chucky belongs in the dark and that’s where he should have stayed.”
In its first week, Chucky received a total of 4.4 million viewers with half being in the 18-49 demographic. Episodes later debuted on Syfy and USA Network’s YouTube channels for free. The first episode had a total of 2.1 million views combined.
Chucky was released on Blu-Ray on April 12, 2022. There were two additional features: The Legacy of Chucky – Featurette and Deleted Scenes.
You can find more images on Chucky Production Stills.