Knight Rider Official Site
The Time: Wednesdays, 8:00 PM, NBC
In this update to the 1982 show of the same name, Mike Traceur (Bruening), the estranged son of the original Michael Knight and an Iraqi War vet, becomes the new Michael Knight: the driver of the next generation of KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand), a souped-up Shelby Mustang GT 500 KR with the brain of a sophisticated artificial intelligence. KITT utilizes nanotech and other advanced technology to morph into several different modes of vehicle in order to aid Michael. Together with former flame and computer expert, Sarah (Russo), daughter of Charles Graiman (Davison), the creator of this version of KITT as well as the original, Michael and KITT and their support team fight threats to America on behalf of Knight Industries, a government intelligence and law enforcement contractor.
• Justin Bruening – Michael Knight
• Deanna Russo – Sarah Graiman
• Sydney Tamiia Porter – FBI Agent Carrie Rivai
• Bruce Davison – Charles Graiman
• Smith Cho – Zoe Chae
• Paul Campbell – Billy Morgan
• Yancey Arias – Alex Torres
• Val Kilmer – K.I.T.T.
The Episode: “Knight of the Living Dead”
While Michael, Sarah and KITT are returning from a mission on their transport plane, which is flying through a storm, there’s a breach of security at Knight Industries HQ and a technician is murdered. This forces a lockdown of the complex as Alex, Carrie, Charles, Zoe and Billy search for the murderer. Meanwhile, the intruder has also taken steps to access the mainframe and remotely activate KITT’s self destruct program. With time running down for Michael, Sarah and KITT the evidence points to a member of their own team as the saboteur.
I’ve given my initial take on this reboot here. So, six episodes into the season, has my opinion changed at all? Not really. This Knight Rider redo, which doesn’t seem to lack for budget considering the effects and production design on the show, still does lack where it counts: the scripts. The episodes still come off like those cheeseball syndicated action shows from a decade ago (many of which I’ll admit I watched) that made up for their dearth of good writing with flashy budget effects, car chases and fisticuffs. It’s still inconceivable to me that this show, which seemingly has every advantage in being a touted network show still can’t put together an episode better than forebear Team Knight Rider.
The core concept is there: Michael, Sarah, KITT, and Graiman. Bruening is nowhere near Hasselhoff for raw magnetism in the role, but that could be developed. Secondary characters Zoe and Billy are virtually complete wastes of space (although Smith Cho wastes it quite nicely), and Carrie and Alex stand around with seemingly no other purpose than to spout genius lines in the vein of, “The suspect is armed and dangerous and trapped within the complex. Approach with extreme caution, apprehend with extreme prejudice” or “Run a security check on all entry points for the last 24 hours. [We’re looking for] any anomaly of any kind, no matter how small.” Really? Thanks, I’m glad they were here to tell me these things. The bad girl flirting of Zoe ran dry five minutes into the first episode, and Billy is the boilerplate geeky tech we all love to hate. I might be able to live with the latter two, but Carrie and Alex need to go.
There was an interesting point or two revealed in the episode, however. The biggest one being that KARR, in this case the Knight Auto-Cybernetic Roving Robotic-Exoskeleton, is a nemesis. Although this time, it’s not going to be a car, but a robot. Also, we reveal why Graiman put a self-destruct program into KITT. We also find out that KITT can’t be puled out of the car like a flash drive, and that he might be susceptible to evolution. Oh, and surprisingly, nobody got naked or half-naked this week.
I keep hoping for Battlestar with this show and keep getting Galactica 1980 instead. But for some reason, I’m compelled to keep watching, if only to see if the whole thing implodes on its own stupidity. The biggest example in this episode: they use a method of finding the saboteur by recreating long dissipated sound patterns with some kind of parabolic analyzer that recreates the sound waves and displays them as colored waves in mid-air. Uhh…W…T…F…? I’m still trying to deal with KITT turning into an F-150. Don’t treat me like I’m a complete idiot. Please. Oh, and for the record, ripping off sympathetic robotic servicearms from Iron Man is so obvious as to be blatant.
I honestly would like that the show continue, but it needs to be retooled majorly. Drop the extraneous cast, get some nemeses of true substance and bring in some true writers and show runners of vision and ability that can establish a better mythology than Michael being mind-wiped. They’re repeating almost exactly the mistakes that Bionic Woman made, and it’s nowhere near as good as that show was, as bad as it was