True confession: I have never seen a “Chucky” movie. My loss, I know. I just have never 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 the first (or any) episodes of the new serialized “Chucky” (9 p.m., Syfy, USA, TV-MA) available. That generally indicates that a show might have a lot of post-production details to work on right up to its airdate, or that the show might not hold up to critical scrutiny. Or perhaps they assume that 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 is now 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 may 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) examines the social and very real financial costs of America’s health care crisis and the political battle over the kind of government-funded universal child care that residents of most other advanced economies enjoy.
— 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) documents the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
— A hate crime may 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.
A lovesick teen (John Cusack) pines for a much smarter girl (Ione Skye) in the 1989 romance “Say Anything” (8:50 p.m., Cinemax).
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).