Rapid Insights: Knuckles Cracks Open the Sonic the Hedgehog Cinematic Universe

Later this month, Paramount+ is releasing the first TV entry in its Sonic Cinematic Universe, an expanding live action/CGI-hybrid world based on SEGA’s famous video game series. The events of the show take place between films Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022) and the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (2024), as Knuckles the Echidna (voiced by Idris Elba) trains a human deputy sheriff (Adam Pally) in the ways of the Echidna warrior.

Here’s what you need to know about Knuckles:

Vault uses index scores to describe the impact a given story/theme/element will have on specific KPIs: 
≤79 Disappointing  80-89 Challenging  90-109 Average  110-119 Promising  120+ Outstanding

Is this new show only for kids? 
No. In spite of its TV-PG rating, we’re predicting a viewership that’s fairly evenly split across age groups (53% <30 / 47% 30+), suggesting that–like the Sonic movies before it–Knuckles’s mix of fun and nostalgia will attract general and family audiences alike. Also in keeping with the film series, we’re expecting a heavily male (71%) skew thanks to the high dose of gamer-friendly Stylized Action & Violence (160).

Why will audiences be tuning in?
For the same elements that have worked so well in the Sonic movies. Like SonicKnuckles is, at heart, a Buddy Comedy (160) that leverages an Unlikely Friendship (159) between two opposite personalities–in this case a self-serious, pompous, hot-headed alien echidna (Anthropomorphic Creature, 160) and a goofy, hapless, mild-mannered human. The resulting humor (Comedy, 121)–combined with an exciting core of Sci-Fi (133) Action (123) Adventure (135)–will pull in viewers looking for a fun ride.

What will keep viewers watching?
The fight between Good vs. Evil (119). Knuckles sees himself as a warrior On a Mission (143) to protect the world, fighting to maintain Honor (141)Tranquility (141), and Power (134) over the nefarious villains who would steal his alien super strength. His Mentorship (137) of a hapless human heightens the stakes–is this inept deputy sheriff the only support Knuckles will have in the final battle? All are key viewership drivers.

How important is the Sonic IP?
Very. The fact that Knuckles is directly connected to the theatrical films–as well as the original SEGA video games–is a crucial ratings driver (IP Extension, 154). Its familiar Distinctly Realized World (138) of heroes, villains, super-charged action, and golden rings will pull in fans of both media.

Will the show see a high level of buzz?
Most likely. Our social buzz meter saw a huge spike with the early February release of the trailer (to 149, out of a possible 160), a feat that will likely be repeated when the series premieres in two weeks. VIewers will be talking about the comical echidna-human pairing at the show’s center as well as its video game-style action and core good vs. evil battle.


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*Publicly released trailers for series are evaluated using Vault’s algorithms – utilizing our proprietary 120K+ story element database alongside ratings performance and other datasets – to identify unique combinations of stories, themes, characters, and genre elements that will drive success.

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