After decades of menacing audiences on the big-screen, everyone’s favourite diminutive killer will be heading to television later this year. Chucky will premiere on USA and Syfy in October, and while it may once have been strange for a big-screen franchise to turn to television, there have been several series that have proved it could be done — including the absolutely fantastic Hannibal series.
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It turns out that the Chucky TV series actually has Hannibal to thank, as Chucky creator Don Mancini told Entertainment Weekly that he wasn’t sure such a series could fly until he saw Hannibal. Like most of us, Mancini was initially skeptical at the thought of a Hannibal TV series, but was quickly blown away; in fact, he loved Hannibal so much that he wound up working on the series.
I really loved working on that show, and I loved working for Bryan Fuller, and learned a lot from him. I saw that one of the things that made that show so interesting and exciting was that it was kind of fan fiction written by experts. It was a sort of fanciful imagining initially. What was Hannibal like when he was a practicing psychiatrist consulting with the FBI before anyone knew he was the big bad? That’s when I started imagining doing the same thing with Chucky, having eight hours of narrative to play with and doing it with a bunch of like-minded horror geeks and legit Chucky fanatics. I’ve been around for quite a while now, and I meet a lot of younger people who love the franchise and who grew up on it, and so I felt, wow, if I can cultivate the excitement that they have for Chucky, in the same way I felt Bryan Fuller was able to cultivate my and the other writers’ excitement for Hannibal, we could have something really special.
“One of the things I’ve always tried to do with the franchise over the years is find ways of reinventing it,” Mancini continued. “I realized that taking it into the medium of television would change the lens through which we view the characters in the franchise in a potentially really fruitful way. Just having eight hours of story to deal with necessarily puts you in a position where you’re dealing much more with characters and relationships than you can in any single 90-minute movie. All of that just seemed really mouth-watering to me and I’m delighted and slightly shocked that it all worked out.” Another way in which Hannibal helped Chucky on its path was by showing just how far you could push the limits of what’s allowed on network TV. “Hannibal really pushed the limits of what you can show on a network show,” Mancini said. “Syfy and USA have a strong appetite, as strong as ours, for keeping the TV series tonally in check with what the fans want to see. Before we even sold the show, we had to confirm with the network that Chucky could drop his F-bombs. Chucky gets 10 F-bombs per episode, so that’s more than enough.“
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The series takes place in an idyllic American town which is thrown into chaos after a vintage ‘Good Guy’ doll turns up at a suburban yard sale. Soon, everyone must grapple with a series of horrifying murders that begin to expose the town’s deep hypocrisies and hidden secrets. Meanwhile, friends and foes from Chucky’s past creep back into his world and threaten to expose the truth behind his mysterious origins as a seemingly ordinary child who somehow became this notorious monster. Chucky will debut on USA and Syfy on October 12, 2021.