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Knuckles review- An underdog story that packs a punch

Knuckles review- An underdog story that packs a punch

Knuckles does what the previous two Sonic films did best, tell an original tale packed with references and Easter eggs for gaming fans

As someone who’s been a fan of Sonic The Hedgehog since I was a little kid, it’s been wondrous to see the series return to form, both in terms of quality and popularity.

Personally, I think we have the live-action films and now the Knuckles TV series to thank for this Sonic-boom, as they’ve acted as a conduit for a new generation of Sonic fans, as well as a welcome invitation home for returning fans.

Check out the trailer for the Knuckles TV series below

As we patiently wait for Sonic The Hedgehog 3, Paramount has gifted us with a spin-off TV series about Knuckles to tide us over in the meantime.

Knuckles The Echidna is a beloved character in the Sonic The Hedgehog series, and is currently celebrating his 30th anniversary this year after his first appearance in Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (1994). While his stage presence and importance within the games has dwindled over the years, he’s still a recurring member of Sonic’s team, and one of his closest friends at that.

With that in mind, it’s only natural that Paramount’s version of the character should get a chance in the spotlight, as I’d go out on a limb to say it’s one of the best interpretations of the character we’ve had so far. Idris Elba’s version of Knuckles nails his stoic, proud nature without being afraid to sprinkle in some comic relief at the character’s expense.

Knuckles TV Series-

After binge-watching all six episodes of the TV event, I can confidently say it does what the previous two Sonic films did best, tell an original story whilst staying true to the source-material of Sonic with a few minor tweaks and changes to accommodate new fans.

While Knuckles is obviously the star of the show, after all his name is on the title card, he shares the spotlight with Wade Wipple (Adam Pally), the loveable Green Hills cop from the previous two films.

The story follows Wade on a journey from zero to hero in a tale of self-discovery. Wade’s an underdog in every sense of the word as while he has a good heart, he’s significantly lacking in skills and self-confidence. The series follows him entering a bowling tournament for reasons that I won’t spoil, which Knuckles uses as an ample opportunity to train him in the way of an echidna warrior. Both characters very much feel like fish out of water, and are both searching for their place in the world which leads to an interesting social dynamic as well as plenty of humorous conversations and shenanigans.

Knuckles Tv Series-

Of course, things don’t run as smoothly as planned as two corrupt Guardian Units of Nations (G.U.N) agents are in hot pursuit to capture Knuckles and deliver him to a former associate of Dr Robotnik.

At its core, Knuckles is a comedy series, and while there are some pretty spectacular action segments, its first intention is to make you laugh which it does quite well. As an alien, Knuckles knows very little about Earth and its inhabitants, often taking everything that’s said literally which is funny but also doesn’t belittle his intelligence like other interpretations have. The human characters are also thoroughly entertaining, and I particularly enjoyed the Team Rocket-like dynamic the G.U.N agents had.

That being said, as much as comedy and action are big parts of the series, it doesn’t forget its core audience, people who’ve played Sonic games.

The series is full of Easter eggs and references, some being very on the nose whereas others will only be picked up by fans with a keen eye, or ear, for detail. Without getting into spoilers, the fourth episode features a segment that made the Sonic fan within me swoon and I personally can’t wait to see how fans react to it when the series drops.

My favourite call-back to wider Sonic lore has to be Knuckles wearing the cowboy hat he had in the 1996 O.V.A movie.

Knuckles TV Series-

The only thing I didn’t vibe with throughout the series was the final episode. Some interesting plot points and character development had been set up over the first five episodes, and while the grand finale did finalise some character arcs, I thought the pacing was a tad bit rushed.

Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable, but the lightning fast ending did feel like a bit of an anti-climax. It would have been nice to watch a little bit more of Knuckles and Wade after they’d completed their journey to see if any noticeable changes to their respective characters were made.

Additionally, fans going into the series expecting there to be some sort of link or set-up to Sonic The Hedgehog 3 should temper their expectations. The Knuckles series is entirely standalone, and doesn’t even leave the door open for a second season, though I’m sure if it does well another will be considered.

Knuckles TV Series-

All in all, Knuckles is a show made for fans of the character, and is clearly written, directed, and edited by those same fans. It’s not afraid to embrace the sillier side of Sonic’s world, whilst also nailing those more emotional moments that make up the individual character arcs.

I’d be more than happy to see a second season of the show, or some other spin-offs depending on what characters are added in the next film. All six episodes of Knuckles will drop on Paramount+ on 26 April.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount

Topics: TV And Film, Sonic, Sega, Reviews