Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Knight Rider: Better than the sum of its parts...

When it came to the small-screen revival of the Knight Rider franchise, expectations were low.

After all, the original TV show - although much loved by fans - really wasn't all that good to begin with! Add to that the concept of a two-hour long Ford commercial and we were looking at the prospect of another tepid reinvention (like the dire mid-nineties 'Team Knight Rider' series.)

Don't remember that one? Don't worry. It only lasted a few months.

But on Sunday, we were all pleasantly surprised. The new Knight Rider turned out to be an intelligent, well scripted sci-fi romp that deftly avoided the pitfalls most remakes stumble over.

Knight Rider succeeded by keeping things simple. The plot saw a four-man team of baddies (led by obligatory British villain Greg Ellis) trying to kidnap Knight Rider's inventor. While Dr Graiman ran for his life, his high-tech invention - the next generation of talking, stalking super-car KITT - zoomed off to track down his daughter at Stamford University and then recruit ex-Army Ranger Mike Traceur to protect her.

The two-hour television movie was basically just an old-fashioned chase - but all of the characters acted in believable ways and the bad guys were surprisingly competent and ruthless. The script was a zinger, too - with plenty of witty one liners. The climax was unexpected and explosive.

KITT, voiced by Hollywood veteran Val Kilmer, was a much darker, more threatening KITT than the prissy, continental original (voiced by former SAG president William Daniels.)

There were some awkward scenes. Sidney Poitier's daughter, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, was shoehorned into the role of a gratuitous lipstick lesbian (a scene definitely included for male titillation purposes) and the original Knight Rider, David Hasselhoff, returned for a cringeworthy 30 seconds at the end of the television movie. But put all the pieces together and it worked.

Knight Rider was a solid, entertaining TV movie that introduced all the ingredients for a solid, entertaining series: A sexy car, an engaging lead and witty and intelligent scripting.

Hopefully NBC will pick up this opportunity and we can look forward to a new generation of Knight Rider adventures soon!


ck said...

Watched, didn't like, won't watch again.

Anonymous said...

If you plan on becoming a writer, Roland, I would learn the difference between "its" and "it's".

Roland Hulme said...

Fair comment. Purdue University have this to say:

Don't use apostrophes for possessive pronouns or for noun plurals.

Apostrophes should not be used with possessive pronouns because possessive pronouns already show possession -- they don't need an apostrophe. His, her, its, my, yours, ours are all possessive pronouns.

Duly noted and changed.