Chucky Season 1 Spoiler Review: Dolls Well That Ends Well

For over 30 years, "Child's Play" creator Don Mancini has been the beating, bleeding heart behind horror's favorite possessed plastic pal, and the first season of the TV series named for the demented doll successfully takes Mancini's canon of seven films and blends them all together in a cacophony of all things "Chucky." Mancini has consistently stayed true to his vision, and the "Child's Play" franchise has evolved from a traditional slasher, to high-camp concepts that only work if the audience completely buys into Mancini's unique brand of horror which includes split personalities, cults, terrorizing children, offensive one-liners, and an army of killer dolls.

After the season finale on November 30, the entire first season of "Chucky" is currently available to stream exclusively on Peacock, so now's your chance to check out one of the stand-out new shows of the year. Even if you're one of the types that doesn't fully understand the greatness of latter installments like "Bride of Chucky" or "Seed of Chucky" (hey, it's okay to be wrong) the new series serves as a compelling argument for allowing franchise creators the creative control of their characters. If there's one thing that's for certain, it's that "Chucky" is a perfect reflection of the brilliant mind and legacy of Don Mancini, and all of the things that keep him our friend 'til the end.

Spoilers for season 1 of "Chucky" ahead.

Get On Board or Get Out of His Way

Notorious serial killer Charles Lee Ray has returned to his hometown of Hackensack, New Jersey to unleash new hell on the unsuspecting town after the Good Guy doll he's possessed is picked up by young Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) at a yard sale. As to be expected, the doll starts mouthing off to Jake (featuring longtime Chucky voice, Brad Dourif) trying to convince him to kill people, but when Jake refuses to do Chucky's bidding, the doll takes matters into his own hands. A flurry of deaths spread paranoia throughout the city, with the only ones who know the truth to be Jake's middle school crew of crush Devon (Björgvin Arnarson), cousin Junior (Teo Briones), and Junior's snarky girlfriend Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind), in addition to previous Chucky survivors Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) of "Cult/Curse of Chucky", Kyle (Christine Elise) of "Child's Play 2," and Chucky's very first target, the now-adult Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent).

Part of the allure of "Chucky" is that the series isn't retconning the canon established by the films in favor of doing something totally unrelated, but instead enhanced by every film that led us to this point. Quite frankly, "Chucky" doesn't give a flying rat's ass whether or not you know why the paralyzed Nica Pierce is possessed with half of Charles Lee Ray's soul or understand how the actual actress Jennifer Tilly fits into his master plan; the information is presented to you as fact and it's your choice to either accept it and get on board, or get out of his way.

Hack 'n Slash in Hackensack

It doesn't take long for Jake to realize his Good Guy doll is a problem. Chucky kills Jake's alcoholic dad (Devon Sawa), decapitates the school principal, trips a maid onto a dishwasher rack full of knives, and that's just the first two episodes. Y'all, Chucky eventually kills off so many parents in this show you'd think it was the exposition of a Disney princess origin story. The series treats Chucky and the Charles Lee Ray possession story as a true-crime conspiracy, meaning the junior high crew can read online all about the events (seen in the films) that happened before they were born. The kids take matters into their own hands to try and stop him, frequently taking inspiration from other movies like "Cape Fear."

But this dream team doesn't start off all on the same page, and with more time to spread storytelling and character development across several episodes, Mancini absolutely took advantage. When we first meet Jake, he's a pushover from a broken home who makes weird art and gets bullied for being gay. His cousin Junior is a star athlete from a wealthy family, but a strained one due to his dad (also Devon Sawa) putting immense pressure on him to succeed. His best friend Devon is the kid of a cop single-mom and the host of a true crime podcast who sometimes falls into a follower role instead of the leader he would later become once he finally comes out to Jake and admits his feelings for him. And Lexy? The rich daughter of Hackensack's mayor and quite possibly my most hated teenage antagonist eventually grows up, learns to deal with her own insecurities, and stops acting like a mini mean girl.

Chucky is Queer Horror. Deal With It.

"Bride of Chucky" and "Seed of Chucky" are usually the films that run-of-the-mill horror fans can't get behind, because Mancini went full queer camp with these slashers. "Chucky" the series is even more queer, and groundbreaking because of it. Jake and Devon are canonically together, and I genuinely can't think of any series before this that feature queer junior high boys as the main protagonists, let alone ones where their queerness wasn't their defining trait. After a bout of bullying, Chucky tells Jake about his genderqueer child (Glen/Glenda from "Seed of Chucky") and when Jake asks if he's cool with it, Chucky responds "I'm not a monster." It's a hilarious line, but it's also a great middle finger from Mancini to homophobes by saying "Yeah, even this serial killer knows that there's nothing wrong with being queer."

With Nica still half-possessed by Charles Lee Ray and kidnapped by the Tiffany-possessed Jennifer Tilly, the two are frequently seen canoodling in a queer-presenting relationship despite the relationship being straight with extra steps. But by the end of the season, Tiffany is pretty fed up with Chucky's treatment of her and expresses she'd rather spend time with Nica as Nica. Nica's actor, Fiona Dourif, is also the real-life daughter of Chucky/Charles Lee Ray performer Brad Dourif, and dresses in drag and prosthetics to play the character in uncanny flashbacks that include seducing hot women. Fiona Dourif is easily the unsung hero of the series, playing multiple characters with wildly different personalities — sometimes in the same scene — while inhabiting the same body. She's remarkable. Cast her in everything.

Fulfilling a Prophecy

Chucky spends the entire series trying to corrupt an innocent soul enough to kill for him, which will allow him to complete his master plan. Chucky's soul has splintered off into 70+ Good Guy dolls and if he can convince a kid to kill on his behalf, he will have enough power to send out an army of Chucky dolls to terrorize the entire country. Jake doesn't work. Lexy doesn't work. Lexy's adorable little sister doesn't work... But Junior does. Chucky successfully manipulates an already emotionally compromised Junior after his mother jumps out a window (AKA, was pushed by Chucky) to kill his dad, and by doing so awakens the army of Chucky dolls. Jennifer Tilly (as possessed by Tiffany) is going to use her Oscar-nominated clout to donate her "personal collection of vintage Good Guy dolls" to children's hospitals across the country, and once he's out, he'll be unstoppable.

Jake, Devon, Lexy, and a sacrificial Junior manage to thwart OG Chucky doll's planned movie theater massacre of Hackensack's elite (this show has it all, I'm telling you), and Andy Barclay intercepts the truck set to deliver all of the Chucky dolls, but not before the Tiffany doll finally makes an appearance and holds him at gunpoint. The season is over, all of the kids have lost parents, Tiffany (as Jennifer Tilly) has chopped off all of Nica's limbs so she can never leave her (and so when the Chucky possession part of her shows up, he can't hurt her), we're left with a cliffhanger of what's happening with the dolls, but given an epilogue of Chucky sitting by a fire and naming all 21 of his kills this season before reminding the audience that the show will return for a second season.

'You Just Can't Keep A Good Guy Down'

A lot of scenes in "Chucky" feel like obvious building blocks toward next season, and the returning characters aren't featured as prominently as some fans would probably like, but Mancini absolutely knocked it out of the park with the first season. The humor and horror are in great balance, but it was genuinely shocking how much heart courses throughout. There's a built-in investment for the returning characters, but it's hard not to fall in love with all of the newbies. "Chucky" may be a three-decade old property, but it doesn't seem like he's losing steam anytime soon. We all have our favorite horror franchises, and the love we have for them is the reason studios keep remaking, rebooting, and adding sequels to them. But "Chucky" is one of a kind, and it's because of Don Mancini's dedication to keeping the franchise on track.

The strength of this series is that it's completely dripping with Mancini's twisted sense of humor, mind for good horror, love of movies, and that USA and Syfy trusted his vision to make the show exactly as he wanted. In 2019, they remade "Chucky" without Mancini's involvement, and franchise fans were rightfully upset. The film performed fine but didn't spark the new opportunity for a franchise the studio was clearly looking for, because anything Chucky-related that doesn't have Mancini's magic just feels like a hollow imitation. Hopefully "Chucky" serves as proof that Sidney Prescott in "Scream 4" was right: "The first rule of remakes ... don't f*** with the original."

Season 2 can't get here fast enough.