TV Show Review: Knuckles - Fun, Lighthearted Spin-Off Eases the Wait for Sonic 3 1
Image: Paramount Pictures

Despite some early bumps in the road, Sonic the Hedgehog's live action movie adaptations have been a big success. A third film is due to arrive at the tail end of 2024, and if it's anything like its predecessors, it'll not only boom at the box office, but it'll also be another entertaining all-ages flick the whole family can enjoy. We have confidence it can achieve that after watching Knuckles, a TV mini-series spin-off that's just as fun as its big screen counterparts, if not more so.

Telling its story over six half-hour episodes, the show finds the titular echidna a little lost after saving the world and securing the Master Emerald in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Still warming up to Earth and its inhabitants, his ancestors have him take on a protégé to pass along his old tribe's teachings. Loveable police deputy Wade Whipple, played by Adam Pally, becomes his student. Tired of being a pushover — and to redeem himself after losing a place on his bowling team — the series quickly becomes a road-trip buddy tale as he learns the way of the echidna warrior.

The pairing works well; Whipple is a perfect foil to Knuckles' strong-headed, serious nature, which is brought to life with a great vocal performance from Idris Elba. The echidna isn't the only one handing out wisdom, as he learns the importance of having somewhere to call home. The series sees him warm to humanity as he and Whipple become friends, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows, of course.

Ex-agents from the mysterious government body G.U.N. are tracking down Knuckles, working for a power-hungry weapons dealer known as The Buyer. This antagonistic group catches up to our heroes on a few occasions throughout the series, and the clashes make for some entertaining action sequences.

While the battles aren't quite on the same scale as seen in the main movies, some of the comedy and more surreal moments are where this show shines brightest. It isn't taking itself too seriously at all, and makes for easy viewing thanks to some genuinely funny moments. Julian Barratt's performance as the unhinged bounty hunter, Jack Sinclair, is ridiculous but great fun — especially in a surprisingly musical turn of events in episode four.

The story has one or two extra layers to it, but remains light and uncomplicated throughout. Whipple's family troubles become a more prominent point as the show goes on which, combined with Knuckles' search for purpose, leads to a heartwarming, if predictable, conclusion. The final episodes make for a strange culmination of all the show's plot threads; everything fits strangely together, and Knuckles himself gets sidelined to a degree, but there's an earnestness to the delivery that means you laugh along with the absurdity. How could you fail to be won over by Cary Elwes, who, like Barratt, provides the series with another larger-than-life character? Much like the films, the series never wows with its narrative, but decent performances mean it lands anyway — even without Jim Carrey's deranged Dr. Robotnik.

Fans of the franchise will also get a lot of glee from its many Easter eggs; some are harder to spot, but others are placed front and centre, such as an extended scene at the Ice Cap ski resort. It's clear the people making Knuckles and the Sonic films love the source material, as it quite often shows itself in one way or another.

Taken as a whole, this is a pretty absurd series, but it knows it. Knuckles and Whipple are two side characters that now have their very own show, and it all just sort of works. At times it feels like it shouldn't, but if you're willing to switch off and join the duo on their journey, there's plenty to enjoy while you wait for the blue hedgehog's return in December.

Knuckles is available to stream now on Paramount+. Have you watched this series yet? If so, what do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below.