Knuckles review: Knuckles the echidna takes a back seat in his own spin-off

Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) in Knuckles, episode 6, season 1, streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Sega/Paramount+.
Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) in Knuckles, episode 6, season 1, streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures/Sega/Paramount+. /

Together, the movies Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 pocketed over $725 million at the worldwide box office. Not only is this number impressive, but it is one of the best performing video game movies of all time, with the sequel breaking the record of the highest-grossing movie in its genre. Needless to say, when news surfaced that the powerful echidna Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) would be getting a spinoff, fans old and new couldn't wait to check it out.

Fans loved that Idris Elba would get a spin-off focusing on his popular Sonic character. Paramount+ announced over a year ago the Knuckles was on the way and the countdown began! Unfortunately, the series disappoints its older audiences by featuring Wade as a more prominent character, pushing Knuckles, the one we all came to see, to the back seat. Knuckles premieres on Friday, April 26, on Paramount+, but I have screened all six episodes to bring you my honest thoughts and review.

Afraid of bumping into spoilers? Not to worry! Though I may tease, there are no spoilers ahead.

Calling it what it is! Knuckles is a Wade Whipple spin-off

Not to quote Kim Kardashian, but I have always found Wade Whipple (Adam Pally) as the least interesting to look at. The character of Wade works in the Sonic franchise, but outside of it? Not so much. From the synopsis, one may believe that Wade is simply there to serve as Knuckle's human sidekick, just as Tom (James Marsden) is to Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz). So imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when I watched and realized it's the other way around. The one at the wheel is Wade, with Knuckles serving as a side character to Wade's story.

Honestly, we should have seen this coming. From what we have seen in Sonic and Sonic 2, Wade and Knuckles are an unlikely pair. And I don't mean like the fun buddy cop comedy, but these two have nothing in common. To pair Wade and Knuckles together is an insult to the powerful red echidna.

In several episodes, Knuckles is only seen for a few minutes. Do we learn more about the character? Sure. Somewhat. But the center focus is Wade, who we learn every detail about. It all also seems sort of pointless. Because, it's not like Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is going to heavily feature Wade, so why give us a spin-off of the character? I would have preferred Knuckles be all about, well, Knuckles.

On the bright side (yes, there is one here)...

What Knuckles does get right, is that it is a great TV-PG comedy. What we need more of these days are shows that we can enjoy with the whole family. Knuckles is a sweet, family-friendly mini-series with heart and friendship at its core. It's goofy and features some of the most cringy lines I can remember, but it will entertain all young Sonic fans. That said, my kids absolutely loved Knuckles.

The easy-to-follow concept keeps children engaged. My kids couldn't wait to watch the next episode, chatting and speculating with each other about what could happen next. There are also several scenes that my kids found hilarious, I'm talking laughing out loud-funny. And for that, I'm grateful.

Now, if you don't have kids, please know that Knuckles is not essential to the plot of the movie franchise. You can definitely skip it and just watch Sonic the Hedgehog 3 when it comes out on Dec. 20. All six episode drop on April 26 and I usually suggest fans binge-watch a show right away to avoid bumping into spoilers online. But that's not the case here. Feel free to take your time on watching or even just check out the first to episodes to see how you feel about it.

All six episodes of Knuckles premiere on Friday, April 26, exclusively on Paramount+. The cast also includes Cary Elwes, Edi Patterson, Stockard Channing, and Scott Mescudi aka Kid Cudi, among others.

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