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My Thoughts On The New Knight Rider

Posted by Big Boo on June 15th, 2009

new knight riderI’ve made no secret on this site of my love for the original Knight Rider series, so having now watched the pilot and four episodes of the new Knight Rider TV series I thought it was about time I wrote a couple of words about the new remake of the show.

Oh dear.

Actually, that’s not even a couple of words really, since Oh is more a written exclamation than an actual word as such.  As you can probably tell I didn’t think much of it, but yet I’m some how glued to the series just to see how much worse it can get.

If you haven’t seen it yet and really want to then don’t read on, as there will be stuff that could be construed as SPOILERS, and I’m not talking about the kind on the back of KITT.

So, let’s start with KITT then.  I quite understand why KITT was retained as the name for the real star of the show, it wouldn’t be Knight Rider otherwise.  As you probably know, KITT was an acronym for Knight Industries Two Thousand, which back in the eighties was a suitably futuristic sounding title.  Guess what KITT stands for now.  Yup, Knight Industries Three Thousand.  Never saw that coming did you?  Lame as this is already, what makes it worse is that Knight Industries doesn’t seem to be part of the show any more, so it becomes a bit meaningless.

KITT is also now a Ford Mustang, which looks a bit too big and chunky for my liking.  I much preferred the sleek, smooth lines of the original KITT (a Pontiac Trans Am Firebird I believe).  The fact that KITT can change into any other make of Ford is also a bit silly in my opinion.  Sure, the CGI effects look cool, but when they change forms driving down a busy road one minute, then make it all sound so top secret, hush hush, the next, it makes you wonder if the various writers of the series actually spoke to one another or not.  Also, it’s a bit of a design defect when the car can only travel at incredible speeds when it’s in “attack mode”.

But my biggest problem with KITT is the fact that some buffoon decided it would be a good idea to put the initials KR on the number plate, and even worse, emblazon it in massive letters on KITT’s underside.  This is obviously meant to stand for Knight Rider, but at no time that I can recall was Michael Knight and KITT ever referred to in the show as Knight Rider – it was just the name of the programme!

Moving on from KITT then, the next problem I have with the new version is the number of unnecessary characters.  The original consisted of Michael Knight and KITT going on missions, with support from just Devon and Bonnie, for the most part.  One man can make a difference, as the voice over on the credits said.  The new version has a terrible array of supporting cast, including two FBI agents, a white haired scientist, his (reasonably) good looking daughter (also a scientist), a computer geek and a language expert.  Apart from the complete overload of characters, more often than not the new Michael goes on missions with one or more of them, completely trashing the “one man” idea of the original.

I also have issues with the new Michael character.  I’ve nothing against the character itself (he’s actually quite watchable for the most part), but his backstory is a little too strained in order to try and link the original and new series together.  Michael Traceur is the estranged son of Michael Knight (and indeed, David Hasselhoff does appear in the pilot, looking a little awkward it must be said), but before long his surname is also changed to Knight after his death is faked in an early episode.

My final issue with the show is that the writers seem to have borrowed rather too much from another Hasselhoff show, namely Baywatch.  It seems that every episode they need to find an excuse to feature lots of bikini clad girls, which I don’t remember the original Knight Rider doing (OK, maybe it did occasionally, but not to this extent).  I’m sure some people feel this to be a Good Thing, but it’s a little over the top if you ask me.

So, after all that, you’d probably imagine that I hate the show.  Well, I do and I don’t.  Whilst I think it is a real shame that they have tarnished Knight Rider with just too many gimmicks, for some reason I am finding myself looking forward to the next episode each week, partly to see just how many more cringe worthy things they can do to the show, but also because after a bit of digging around the Interwebs it appears that my favourite enemy from the original series, KARR, is set to return, albeit if it does now somehow seem to be even more like a Transformer than KITT is.  I must say I’m really looking forward to that episode!

Oh, and one more thing before I finish.  Glad to see they kept the intro music, just a shame it mutates into some awful heavy rock thrash metal mix half way through…