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Paramount is keeping the ball rolling with the mega-hit Sonic The Hedgehog franchise by releasing a 6 episode event series of the beloved character, Knuckles. Voiced by Idris Elba, Knuckles is a fun journey set between the events of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and Sonic The Hedgehog 3. Wade Whipple, again played by Adam Pally, equally stars as the deputy sheriff of Green Hills and plays a huge part in this story.

[Warning:– Minor spoilers of Knuckles below.]

Knuckles is a hilarious self-contained adventure

When we last saw Knuckles, he joined forces with Sonic (Ben Schwartz) to help defeat Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and ultimately save the world. Now that the threats have subsided, Knuckles’s focus is to keep his promise to Sonic and Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey). It realigns his focus as a formidable warrior. He’s still adjusting to his new home and dealing with a lack of purpose. Now enter Wade Whipple, the awkward deputy sheriff with much to learn about himself. 

The focus is centered on Wade and his journey, which I found surprising as I expected this to be more of a Knuckles-centric tale. But the pairing of Wade and Knuckles was hilarious from start to finish. This was a simple story with minor ties to the grander Sonic The Hedgehog universe, but G.U.N. (Guardian Units of Nations) is pivotal in the events of this series. The episodes may be short, but they moved so quickly I was ready for more by the time the last episode rolled credits.

Adam Pally as Wade Whipple
Adam Pally as Wade Whipple in Knuckles (Paramount+)

Elba is a stellar pick as Knuckles the Echidna, and they give him a lot of great lines and opportunities to show two sides to Knuckles, the warrior and the friend. It was fantastic to see Knuckles do some of his signature video game movements that fans of the franchise will lose their minds over. This was a great addition to the character that also gives a little backstory that wasn’t explored as much in Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Pally as Wade Whipple, and equal lead of the show, is still the lovable and clueless deputy from the movies. The series explores his inner turmoils and links to his past in ways that are both heart-warming and comedic. I found it interesting that they chose him, but with the way the movies went, there’s a decent amount of balance between the animals and humans. 

All-star castings made Knuckles a delight

The sheer number of actors from some of my favorite TV comedies added to the overall humorous experience of Knuckles. Wade’s family consists of his mother Wendy (Stockard Channing) and sister Wanda (Edi Patterson). The G.U.N. agents Mason and Willoughby (Scott Mescudi and Ellie Taylor, respectively) had a fair amount of screen time and a funny rapport. Christopher Lloyd appears as Pachacamac, Knuckles’ former mentor, and Rory McCann as an unnamed “Buyer” who tasks Mason and Willoughby with capturing Knuckles. 

L-R: Stockard Channing as Wendy Whipple, Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) and Edi Patterson as Wanda Whipple
L-R: Stockard Channing as Wendy Whipple, Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba), and Edi Patterson as Wanda Whipple in Knuckles (Paramount+)

Two incredibly talented comedic English actors join the fray. Julian Barratt and Cary Elwes. Barratt is Wade’s “best friend” and bounty hunter. Jack Sinclair and Elwes, portrays a significant relative to Wade as “Pistol” Pete Whipple. These two were easily my favorites of the series, with highly exaggerated caricatures that would only work in a setting like this.

Without Dr. Robotnik in this series, there was almost a void of an over-the-top character if it weren’t for these two. Both Barratt and Elwes had some of the best scenes of the entire show, and I do wish to see them in Sonic The Hedgehog 3 if at all possible. There’s talk of more seasons of Knuckles, and they both deserve more appearances in the future.

The visuals and action of the show are inconsistent

Look, I understand that animating Knuckles is probably expensive and that might be why they kept him on the screen as little as possible. There are some moments, such as the bowling alley scene in the first episode, that look great in every single frame. Yet in the final episode, you could see the funding was running low, and the backgrounds were blurry and had poor lighting. It’s not the biggest distraction, but it’s still obvious even to untrained eyes. Aside from the above mentions, the location shots are great, such as the bowling alley and everything in Reno, Nevada. 

Even though the Sonic The Hedgehog movies had many action set pieces, a film budget has the capacity for it. Since this is a scaled-down television series, there are fewer of those here. While a lot of the fights are great, more than once you can see that they’re limited by the briefness allowed per episode.

Still, in the third episode “The Shabbat Dinner” there’s a great sequence shot within the home of Wendy Whipple that I rewatched at least three times. Yet, this makes me wonder how much it affected everything overall, the fight in the finale is held off until the very end, and it’s over not long after it begins. 

L-R: Scott Mescudi as Agent Mason and Ellie Taylor as Agent Willoughby
L-R: Scott Mescudi as Agent Mason and Ellie Taylor as Agent Willoughby in Knuckles (Paramount+)

Overall thoughts on Paramount+’s Knuckles

Even though it’s not some world-ending plot to save the day, there are still some implications of the wider universe that get some play in Knuckles. G.U.N. agents detail just how dangerous the existence of Knuckles and Sonic means for Earth, and why G.U.N. is needed to begin with. Knuckles doesn’t bridge a huge gap between films, as we can tell for now, but it does help fill in some minor gaps about how G.U.N. operates, which may be key for Sonic The Hedgehog 3.

With 6 short but hilarious episodes, it’s enough to satiate fans until we see Knuckles return in December, along with the addition of Shadow, set to be voiced by Keanu Reeves. With how beloved the Sonic films have been, Knuckles is a nice addition that may warrant a rewatch before the next movie comes out.

Have you seen Knuckles in action in Sonic The Hedgehog 2? Will you be watching all 6 episodes on April 26 when they release on Paramount+? Follow our socials @MyCosmicCircus and join our Discord for full discussion forums and more!

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Anthony Flagg

Howdy! I cover a variety of topics for The Cosmic Circus. My favorite topics to write about are video games, Pokemon and music. Drop me a line on Twitter! @redovah_

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