One man can make a difference – NOT

October 26th, 2008

After 20 years, two TV movies and a TV show that no one ever watched, Knight Rider is back on the small screen with your favourite car KITT and Michael Knight. But not quite.

David Hasselhoff, the TV star everyone pans but still watches played the original Michael Knight. In his tight jeans and cowboy boots and with his overly ham acted performance, Michael was a unique character. Someone who was different, because they were – not because the script told them to be.  Justin Bruening just doesn’t cut it. He is stiff and starchy and carries a gun, something that the original Michael Knight rarely did. And of course, in deference to the original series, he starts off as Mike Traceur and then is “killed” and is reborn as Michael Knight (btw he is supposedly the original Michael’s son).

KITT has changed as well and how… Even though he now has Val Kilmer’s voice, he just doesn’t have the dry, sardonic style of the original William Daniels. And to top it off, the car has no personality (unlike the original Pontiac TransAm), because although it supposedly is a Ford Shelby Mustang, it morphs into a whole variety of other Ford cars and pickups, like a long running Ford commercial. And then there’s the voice modulator box. Unlike the original single glowing box or the later three bar design, there is a glowing orb, which just looks to weird, like an alien creature.

But the biggest problems with the show is the scripting and the story. Firstly, the original show was really about the car and it was technological, but it wasn’t un-accessible. Most of the stuff the car did was considered “Hey Cool, I wish my car could do that!”. But here it seems that everything is in the realms of half-reality and half-sci-fi where you wonder whether it exists, but you’re sure that you will never get a hold of it even fifty years later unless you work for the US Government or have as much money as Bill Gates (which reminds me, have you seen the really stupid Gates+Seinfeld MicroS**t advertisments? – a post for another date). Secondly, the story, at least for the pilot and the first episode, makes no sense. Some weird people do some weird things like cutting a guy’s thumb for his DNA instead of a blood sample! And the plot just meanders along at times while seeming over full at other times.

And of course, the biggest problem is the premise. The original series said that it was the story of “a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless in a world of criminals who operate above the law…”, but here it seems to be a FBI operation which doesn’t say much for the original Foundation for Law and Government which worked on its own in a kind of vigilante way with tacit approval from the Government. And instead of Michael, KITT, Bonnie and Devon in a world of their own, we now have a dedicated team of FBI personnel which means leaks and stupidity and a bunch of idiotic people who sit around and stare at KITT.

Does that mean I won’t watch it? No… but I will keep going back to the old campy stuff!

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