I was a fan of the original 1980s series,
Knight Rider. I tried very hard not to get my hopes up on the
TV movie / backdoor pilot that aired last night, because I've been disappointed in the past. The 90s, afterall, brought us such wonders as
Knight Rider 2000 (meh...),
Knight Rider 2010 (huh?), and
Team Knight Rider (AGH!). For Knight Rider fans, the 90s were teh suck. Like
The Hoff singing level of suck. Yes, that bad. The 90s killed the Knight Rider, then buried it, then dug it up, then spat on it, then buried it again, then dynamited the bural ground, then spat on it again, then buried it one more time before dumping the contents of a porta-potty ontop of it.
But you know what? This new Knight Rider was actually pretty good! Sure, it did have its moments of being a big Ford commercial, but was the original Knight Rider any less of a commercial for Pontiac? It's all in good fun. It pays the bills too, afterall. And when Ford makes a Mustang that actually gets 167 mpg and drives itself, I'll be lining up to buy it!
Speaking of which,
KITTstang was cool. I've read a lot of people bitching that KITT wasn't a classic or concept Camero or Firebird (or some other GM), but really, we've been down that road before. Remember that
red thing in Knight Rider 2000? Okay, maybe it was a cool car in its day, but it doesn't have the "wolf in sheep's clothing" sorta thing going on. I don't know. It just wasn't as cool as the original Trans Am KITT. And before that red thing in the movie, he was some classic something. I don't really remember, I just remember he shot Scotty with some sort of stun gun. Anyway, the point is, GM doesn't have a Camaro/Firebird right now to sell, Ford wants to sell the Mustang, so get over it. KITT's a Mustang now.
Now, the series did have its flaws. (What fun would a blog post be without some know-it-all complaining about something?) I was not very excited about
Michael Knight Junior (a.k.a. Mike Traceur) at first. His character grew on me by the end, though. They tried too hard to make him the dumb muscle / comic relief / smart hero all rolled into one waaaay too quick. It took
MacGuyver-er-Jack O'Neil many seasons to get that going where it worked on
Stargate SG-1, so they shouldn't have tried to force it so hard in this short movie. Bad writing. Very FORCED character development. By the end he was less "comic relief" and more just saracastic bantering with KITT, which fit better with the "Knight" loner / hero persona they should have been going for. Second half of the movie, his character worked. When Mike started kicking ass at the casino, it was the first time I could see him settling into the new Michael Knight persona. The writers blew the first hour of character development there. Also, if this becomes a series, his racing car sidekick mechanic buddy comic goofball needs to go. Quickly.
Second, was it just me or was Sarah Graiman a lesbian at the beginning of the movie and then pining for her true-lost-love Mike at the end? Or did losing Mike all those summers ago turn her off men? Actually, at the beginning, I was excited because I thought that meant they weren't going to do any tired predictable sexual tension between the two since she might not swing his way, but, alas no. Those two had to have a past and bring out the predictable cliches. Thanks, NBC. I guess Sarah is bisexual. I wonder how that will work out if this becomes a series? Seems kind of useless and tangential to what people want to see: Mike and KITT kicking ass. Make her go back to doing women exclusively and let Mike just be a loner on a mission with no ties. Please!
Third, nano robots? Why is that such a popular theme these days? They did that in the
new Bionic Woman too. Old KITT was bullet proof without little robots! At first this whole nanotechnology stuff made me wince. Of course, it's probably more plausible than the advanced AI that KITT is, but the growing a double spoiler out of thin air just gave me flashbacks of
Team Knight Rider's motorcycles. AGH! Stop! My brain! It hurts! Nano robots would have been fine if they weren't responsible for transforming KITT's body. I don't know why I think that. But I do. Gives me flashbacks of the Knight Rider rip-off series (from the same swamp of 90s suck),
Viper (you know you watched it too -- pining for a black Trans Am to take out the Dodge Viper). Anyway, I'd rather see the spoiler/wing/air-intake/whatever-else come out of a compartment, mechanically, and the nano robots just responsible for like repairs and color changing and stuff. Suspension of Disbelief... Suspension of Disbelief...
But you know, despite all this complaining, I really enjoyed it. I really did! Overall, KITT was extremely cool. Sarah wasn't that annoying. Mike turned out to be a pretty cool "Michael Knight Junior" after the first half of the movie. And, yes, KITT kept taking him down a notch, in proper form. It was fun. It really kept you into it. It wasn't just nostalgia either, it was good on its own even if you never watched the old Knight Rider. And it treated the Knight Rider series the way it should have been treated back in the 90s. I hope this becomes a regular series. Afterall, we have only one more season of the
new Battlestar Galactica coming up (one of the best shows on the teevee, ever). So if
Glen A. Larson is going to keep one of his resurrected 80s ideas on the teevee, he needs to work quick! I doubt this will ever be as incredibly awesome as the new Battlestar, but it was a very good backdoor pilot movie (which is rare) and they could certainly do some really cool story arcs, given time.
Watch it! Rent it! Download it! Whatever! Let's get this thing turned into a series.