|By Charlie Goodrich||Sunday, 24 Feb 2008|
When I first heard about a new Knight Rider show, I was excited. I use to enjoy watching David Hasselhoff and KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) fight crime back in the 80′s. Now I got the chance to relive my youth in a one night, two hour TV special on NBC. Yes, David Hasselhoff is gone and the calming voice of William Daniels has been replaced with that of Val Kilmer, however, the core elements remained. You have a guy with nice hair, a lovely piece of eye candy attached to his arm, bumbling bad guys, and a crime-fighting supercar. What more does one need in a cheesy remake of an already cheesy show?
The most notable change between the original KR and the new KR is the car. 1980′s KITT was a Pontiac Trans-Am. It is common car knowledge that some versions of the Trans-Am use to have a phoenix panted onto the hood. The phoenix is a mythical bird that burns upon its death. After it dies, it is reborn from the ashes it leaves behind. It would seem that when a Trans-Am is reborn it comes back as a Shelby Mustang. Who knew? There is an upside to the new car as well as a downside. The upside is that it is a very nice looking car. It’s new, shiny, and has Curves in all the right places. However, the new KR loses focus of the plot at many points. It is important to remember that the creators of the old show did two things very well, and the new show fails in both these areas.
First, they were able to keep the focus on KITT as a crime-fighting car, not as a crime fighting Trans-Am. The new NBC executives created a crime-fighting Mustang. This led to many scenes becoming advertisements for the Ford Motor Company as opposed to Knight Rider. Second, the old KITT had many features that made it a formidable opponent. It could create oil slicks, smoke screens, use turbo jets and a parachute, jam microwave signals, fire a laser, launch various kinds of gas, and shoot flames. The old show displayed these features frequently throughout the episodes. I realize the new KR only had one airing so far, but they only focused on very little. The only abilities KITT had were the ability drive fast, talk, and reform if damaged. Instead of showing the shiny Mustang from various angles, they could have shown it shooting rockets and fire. My life would have been complete. Aside from KITT, the new pilot changed little else from the original series.
The plot is similar to the one from over twenty years ago. Some hoodlums want the technology in KITT (now the Knight Industries Three Thousand) so they can sell it to evildoers and get rich. Beats the heck out of pyramid schemes but I would think there is a better way to get rich. The problem these guys run into is that KITT is smarter than they are. KITT escapes and locates Michael Knight’s son, Mike Jr., who becomes the new driver. KITT and Mike are able to stop the bad guys, and Mike is offered a job fighting crime for Knight Industries. Thus, the pilot came to a close. When I reflected upon the two shows I came to a definite conclusion: it’s more of the same, and there was never much substance to Knight Rider. I don’t ever think the Knight Rider show was good, but it was entertaining. The new Knight Rider is just that, not very good but entertaining.