Critics Have Seen Knuckles, See What They’re Saying About Idris Elba’s Sonic The Hedgehog Spinoff Series


The Sonic the Hedgehog video game may be decades old, but the live-action movies have certainly breathed new life into the franchise over the past few years. Following the introduction of Knuckles in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 — and before the third film in the series hits the 2024 movie release calendar — the anthropomorphic red echidna is getting his own spinoff series. Appropriately titled Knuckles, Idris Elba returns as the voice of the main character, and critics are weighing in on the series ahead of its April 26 premiere for Paramount+ subscription holders.

The Sonic the Hedgehog flicks are considered two of the best video game movies, so it’s safe to say that fans are plenty excited for the new limited series, especially with Sonic the Hedgehog 3 coming to expand the Sega franchise later this year. So let’s get right to the critics, with GamesRadar’s Bradley Russell rating the series 3 stars out of 5, saying that while the series sometimes focuses more on Adam Pally’s Wade Whipple, Knuckles overall delivers an energetic mini-cinematic adventure to hold us over until December. Russell writes:

Sonic may be all lightning-fast quips and even quicker action, but the Knuckles spin-off TV show packs a different kind of punch. While the new Paramount Plus series – consisting of six 25-30 minute episodes – certainly highlights a ceiling to the family fun-style Sonic formula, it’s a surprisingly charming, earnest road trip that sees Idris Elba dig a little more into the red echidna’s potential for bone-crunching capers and dry humor.

Tessa Smith of Mama’s Geeky rates this “hilarious” buddy comedy a 4 out of 5, saying that while it’s not required viewing before you catch Sonic the Hedgehog 3, fans really should watch it because it’s a whole lot of fun. The critic continues:

Overall, this season of television flies by thanks to great pacing and well placed jokes. It is a ton of fun, delivering some hearty laughs, as well as some truly emotional moments. Don’t worry, Knuckles gets into some brawls too, and the action sequences are fantastic. There are surprises in store for even the biggest of fans, making this a must watch for those who enjoy the Sonic Universe.

Meredith Hobbs Coons of the AV Club grades Knuckles a B-, saying the red echidna is mostly capable of carrying a Sonic series, especially with its more heartwarming plotlines. However, those who don’t care for the movies or these characters specifically should feel free to skip it. Coons says:

So should you watch Knuckles? If you have no idea who these guys even are, don’t worry too much about missing it—it’s not for non-fans. If you, or your kids, love the Sonicverse, or maybe just enjoyed the previous two movies, go for it. If you can tolerate some product placement-related humor (namely Doritos and T.J. Maxx punchlines) and some eye-roll-inducing jokes with some genuinely hilarious moments mixed in, then dive in. And if you live for nineties nostalgia, there are plenty of Easter eggs to be found here. It’s got some heart, too, which is always good, and unlike its prickly protagonist, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Alex Maidy of JoBlo gives it an “Average” 6 out of 10, noting that there are long portions of the series that don’t even have Knuckles in them, which may be disappointing to the kids who tune in. Idris Elba, however, is consistent as the title character in the scenes he is in. Maidy continues:

Featuring limited connections to the movies, Knuckles has its moments but overall feels like an attempt to tread water until the third film comes out thanks to an inconsequential plot and surprisingly limited screentime for the titular character. More of a showcase for Adam Pally, reprising his minor role from the first two movies, Knuckles is going to draw in a large audience of kids excited to see the animated heroes but who will be underwhelmed by how little they appear on screen.

Brian Shea of GameInformer says Knuckles is enjoyable to watch in the Sonic the Hedgehog movies because of the characters’ contrasting personalities. The series loses that a bit, putting too much emphasis on the human characters and feeling overall kind of inconsequential. Shea says:

I can't help but feel that Knuckles has that sitcom quality where everything ends up right where it started. Sure, there's a journey with some sentimentality, minor character development, funny gags, small Easter eggs, and enjoyable action scenes, but if someone asked if they needed to watch Knuckles before going to see Sonic the Hedgehog 3 when it arrives in theaters this December, I'd be hard pressed to find a narrative reason to answer them in the affirmative.

All six episodes of the limited Knuckles series will be released to Paramount+ on April 26, and at just 25 to 30 minutes apiece, it sounds like they make for a fun way to spend a few hours while we wait for the Blue Blur to return.

In addition to the new spinoff, both Sonic the Hedgehog movies are also available to stream on Paramount+, as we wait for the third movie. Be sure to also check out the other best movies and TV options hitting streaming this week, as well as the rest of the TV premieres on our 2024 TV schedule.