Knight Rider – TV Review

There must be a sale on 80s franchises. First the Transformers, then the Bionic Woman, then the Terminator, now the Knight Rider himself all want to follow in Battlestar Galactica’s illustrious footsteps. Sadly, it seems that only the re-creators of BSG knew that it would take more than just new vehicles, fresher computer graphics and heavier bass to make it all work. Just because the concept and characters are somewhat familiar, doesn’t mean that good writing and good acting are no longer required.

Admittedly the new Ford Mustang version of KITT (the smart-talking car sidekick to David Hasslehoff’s Michael Knight, who has now been replaced by Justin Bruening’s Mike Traceur) is a nice ride. The persona of KITT, voiced by Val Kilmer (replacing the original William Daniels, as well as the contractually denied Will Arnett in the 2008 version) is still pretty fun to watch. Unfortunately, the back-door pilot (i.e. 2-hour TV movie that sets up all the pieces for a series) was kind of lame.

First, too much of it is a glorified car commercial (we get it, KITT’s really shiny!) and given how much time is spent showing characters conversing while driving, they really should have improved the realism of those in-car green-screen scenes. Add to that the CW-izing of the characters: Mike Traceur and the inventor’s daughter he saves (who happens to be more ditzy-cute than her being a Stanford professor should allow) have a “past”; and their FBI ally (played by Sydney Tamiia Poitier) is a hot, surfing lesbian (How is that relevant?). Nevertheless, eye candy is acceptable as long as there’s charm (tho’ there ain’t any coming from Traceur) or intelligence (nada in the script). Still, I was a loyal fan of the original Knight Rider and I confess that when the opening theme music began, my engines got a bit revved. The end of the movie set up the potential for at least a dumb-fun series and I actually hope it gets picked up. (3 out of 5)

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