No thrills in whole KITT and ca­boo­dle

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Knight Rider 9pm, Seven Kerrie Mur­phy

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.

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