Chucky

Chucky, the movie menace who has stricken fear in the hearts of millions in six different films, got his start here. "Child's Play,'' the first film in the hit series, was partially filmed at Shapiro Developmental Center.

True confession: I have never seen a “Chucky” movie. My loss, I know. I just never have developed a taste for the wisecracking serial killing slasher doll genre. In fact, the whole homicidal-slasher-as-quipster thing also leaves me a bit cold. Having watched “Nightmare on Elm Street, Part III” in a theater full of screaming people back in the day, I can say I’m set for a lifetime.

But while we’re trading in personal admissions, I’m willing to let my dear readers in on another little secret. Columns are easier to write, and shows easier to assess, when you have a screener to review.

The powers-that-be chose not to make any episodes of the new serialized “Chucky” (9 p.m., Syfy, USA, TV-MA) available. That generally indicates a show might have a lot of post-production details to work on right up to its airdate, or the show might not hold up to critical scrutiny. Or perhaps they assume after umpteen “Chucky” movies and sequels, a glance at the pilot might be superfluous. As an appetizer, Syfy offers the 2017 shocker “Cult of Chucky” (7 p.m., TV-14).

Brad Dourif voices the killer doll in this new series. From the trailer, Chucky seems to be channeling the gruff vocal rage of Danny DeVito. Dourif’s daughter, Fiona, is also in the show.

Young actor Zakary Arthur plays Jake Wheeler, the student who buys Chucky at a yard sale but not before engaging in a bit of negotiating. When the seller defines the doll as “vintage,” Jake says he is into “retro.” When the seller asks what the difference is, he retorts, “About $10.” I think that’s about as clever as things get here. But when you’re only working from a trailer, you have to apply critical scrutiny to what you’ve got.

— The glut of true-crime docuseries has sent some filmmakers back to the genre’s vault of golden oldies. Showtime now is airing “Buried,” a glance at a 1989 case that inspired the “repressed memory” craze. Beginning today, Sundance Now streams the three-part documentary “Trial in the Outback: The Lindy Chamberlain Story.” The name might not be familiar to Americans, but this early 1980s trial riveted Australians in ways that might be compared to the O.J. Simpson trial of the mid-1990s.

The story also inspired the 1988 Hollywood drama “A Cry in the Dark,” best recalled for Meryl Streep’s perfectly rehearsed Australian accent as she screamed, “The dingo ate my baby!”

A young mother who took her family and 9-week-old infant to the rugged Outback and claims her child was stolen and devoured by a wild dog, Chamberlain would prove to be an unsympathetic figure to jurors, tabloids and television cameras. In many ways, the media hysteria came to eclipse the extraordinary nature of the tragedy. “Trial” is narrated and produced by New Zealand actor Sam Neill.

— “Raising the Future: The Child Care Crisis” (9 p.m., PBS, TV-G, check local listings) examines the social and very real financial costs of America’s health care crisis and the political battle about the kind of government-funded universal child care that residents of most other advanced economies enjoy.

TONIGHT’S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

— The search for a killer of young vagrants on “FBI” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

— Conrad wants answers on “The Resident” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

— A suspect seeks sanctuary on “FBI: International” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

— Food supplies dwindle in the sunken realm on “La Brea” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

— Angela shuns the tabloids on “Our Kind of People” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

— “Frontline” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) documents the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

— A hate crime might be the tip of the iceberg on “FBI: Most Wanted” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

— Max faces up to a budget crisis on “New Amsterdam” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

— Laura Dern and Tom Hanks host “A Night in the Academy Museum” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG), celebrating the launch of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

CULT CHOICE

— A lovesick teen (John Cusack) pines for a much smarter girl (Ione Skye) in the 1989 romance “Say Anything” (8:50 p.m., Cinemax).

SERIES NOTES

Battles continue on “The Voice” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... Pat’s dark secret on “DC’s Stargirl” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG) ... An exercise in cross-promotion on “Dancing With the Stars” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... The tiff with Nyxly intensifies on “Supergirl” (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).

LATE NIGHT

Jimmy Fallon welcomes Meghan Trainor and Chlee on “The Tonight Show” (10:34 p.m., NBC) ... Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Scott Speedman visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (11:37 p.m., NBC).

— OK, that was weird. The least expected story of the week was the scandal involving Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”) and Lori Loughlin, star of “When Calls the Heart” (7 p.m. Sunday, Hallmark, TV-G), in a bribery/cheating plot to get their respective daughters into elite universities.

This is obviously an ongoing case, and all sides must have their say, or day, in court. But the motivation at the center of this story is worth discussing. It involves some overwhelming need to do anything to get children into elite schools. As if anything “lesser” were unthinkable.

Television plays no small role in this insecurity. I can’t remember how many times I’ve had to describe an ABC legal drama where every single character hails from only the most exclusive Ivy and spends most of the pilot bragging about it.

There was a time, not that long ago, when John Grisham wrote best-selling books about young, barely accredited lawyers from no-name institutions who took on impossible cases against massive corporations and eventually won. And got the girl, to boot.

So, our current era’s neurotic obsession with elitism and inequality is hardly hard-wired.

If anything comes of this sordid affair, it’s an appreciation that shoddy efforts at snobbery are always essentially pathetic. Or on classic TV, comedic. Watching “Gilligan’s Island,” we identified with Mary Ann and the Skipper, and pitied the millionaire and his wife.

— CNN launches the four-hour documentary “Tricky Dick” (8 p.m., Sunday), profiling the life and times of Richard Nixon’s public career, which spanned the decades from the dawn of the Cold War to the Clinton years.

SATURDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

— An anxious new mother joins a group for solidarity and support, only to discover that it has darker plans on its agenda in the 2019 shocker “Mommy Group Murder” (7 p.m., Lifetime, TV-14).

— The Thunder and Warriors meet in NBA action (7:30 p.m., ABC).

— An old kidnapper returns to form on “Ransom” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

SUNDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

— Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): Embassy workers in China and Cuba complain of mysterious ailments; AOL founder Steve Case and his plans to invest in the future of overlooked American small towns and cities; a visit to Monaco.

— The duels begin on “World of Dance” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

— Auditions continue on “American Idol” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

— Lex Luthor is on the loose on “Supergirl” (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG).

— Mr. Wednesday prepares for battle on “American Gods” (7 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).

— After learning about her royal lineage, an adopted 10-year-old becomes a little tyrant in the 2019 shocker “Mommy’s Little Princess” (7 p.m., Lifetime, TV-14).

— A secret room holds dangers on “Charmed” (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).

— Hidden secrets revealed on “The Walking Dead” (8 p.m., AMC, TV-MA).

— A new trial is pursued on “The Case Against Adnan Syed” (8 p.m., HBO, TV-14).

— Axe is determined to destroy Taylor on the fourth season premiere of “Billions” (8 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA).

— Ulysses pursues a conspiracy theory on “Now Apocalypse” (8 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).

— “Unsung” (8 p.m., TVONE) profiles the Jets.

— Pacific overtures on “Madam Secretary” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).

— Tensions rise on “Good Girls” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

— Mo’s past is revealed on “Black Monday” (9 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA).

CULT CHOICE

— St. Patrick’s Day inspires many traditions. Syfy offers a marathon of “Leprechaun” movies, from “Leprechaun 5: In the Hood” (4 p.m. Saturday, TV-14) to “Leprechaun 2” (8 p.m.). TCM takes the traditional approach, ladling out the Technicolor blarney of director John Ford’s 1952 romance “The Quiet Man” (7 p.m. Sunday, TV-PG).

SATURDAY SERIES

“Dateline” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... “NBA Countdown” (7 p.m., ABC) ... The kids are all right on “MasterChef” (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG) ... “48 Hours” (9 p.m., CBS) ... A vintage helping of “Saturday Night Live” (9 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

SUNDAY SERIES

A visit from an old friend inspires Miles on “God Friended Me” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... Homer can’t leave Bart’s virtual realm on “The Simpsons” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... Empathy for all things on “Bob’s Burgers” (7:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

A walk down the aisle on “NCIS: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... On two episodes of “Family Guy” (Fox, TV-14), Meg’s winter Olympics (8 p.m.), fighting over a dowager (8:30 p.m., r) ... Aches and pains on “Shark Tank” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

Kevin McDonough can be reached at kevin.tvguy@gmail.com.