No thrills in whole KITT and caboodle
IT’S Battlestar Galactica ’ s fault. When the slick 2003 reimagining of the clunky 1978 series was mentioned in the same breath as The Sopranos and The Wire , television execs no doubt wondered what other revivalworthy series they had buried at the bottom of the kitsch( en) drawer.
Repeating the trick is not easy. Despite huge ratings for the first episode of Bionic Woman in Australia last year, an uninteresting main character quickly scuttled the show.
With this telemovie cum pilot episode of Knight Rider , another show by Battlestar Galactica creator Glen A. Larson is being dragged into the 21st century.
The 1982 series, which ran for four years, starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight who, along with his sentient and, it was wildly speculated, slightly gay car KITT, solved crimes.
It’s an idea that refuses to die. Since then there have been two other telemovies plus the TV series Team Knight Rider , all of which ranked on the quality scale somewhere between sucks and blows.
Like Bionic Woman, Knight Rider ’ s structure of the lone crime fighter going up against evil- doers to help people needed considerable work to make it palatable for a modern audience.
Unfortunately, it’s not there yet. They’ve jettisoned the cheesiness but replaced it with a pedestrian story in which the scientist behind KITT is pursued by villains. This forces his daughter Sarah ( Deanna Russo) and the car to reunite with a former childhood friend, ex- Army Ranger Mike Traceur ( Justin Bruening), who, it immediately becomes clear, is destined to become Michael Knight Mark II.
Perhaps if they’d made Sarah the
Free wheeling: Justin Bruening as Mike Traceur person behind the wheel, in the same way that Starbuck became a woman in the new Battlestar Galactica , Knight Rider would feel fresher, especially when Mike is what’s technically known as a tool.
And speaking of wishes, I’m also sorry that Arrested Development ’ s Will Arnett had to drop out as the voice of KITT, his snarkiness replaced with Val Kilmer’s humourlessness.
The show’s creators seem to think that a car chase can be made thrilling by driving their awesome- looking Mustang slowly, albeit with judicious editing and sound effects. The ghost of Steve McQueen remains unim- pressed. This isn’t to suggest Knight Rider isn’t enjoyable. There are some fun moments, such as Mike and Sarah’s escape from a casino, and some cool computer special effects, particularly when the villains shoot at KITT.
But you need a lot more than that to sell a show that too easily devolves into KITT telling the heroes to get out of the way because the bad guys are coming. Perhaps before making the series, someone should call Xzibit, host of MTV’s car makeover show Pimp My Ride , because this show needs a serious overhaul.