Knight Rider – What happened?

So in a roundabout way, I learned that apparently Knight Rider is done.

I’m mildly upset by this, as I was one of the people who tuned in every week to watch my childhood memories get raped for an hour straight.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the show, it did have possibilities, but here’s why I think it failed…

  1. The car.
    1. I don’t mind that it was a Mustang. I do mind that it could morph into any vehicle, had blue ground effects while in ‘attack mode’, and had a big KR on the under-carriage when turbo-boosting. It was too damned flashy! I had more appreciation for the car when it looked like any other Mustang. Would it have been so hard to just stick with a basic GT instead of using a car that has a limited production run?
  2. The base.
    1. I don’t mind the location of the base, but again – too flashy. Did KITT need to spin around in mid-air? What’s wrong with a garage and a lift? What’s with all the screens? How the hell did Bonnie and Devon manage so much from a freaking TRAILER, and here in the super advanced 21st century FLAG needs a fully decked out techno-bunker?
  3. The transporter.
    1. A cargo plane? Seriously? The advantage to a tractor trailer – is that it can essentially go ANYWHERE. No need for a runway.  No need for CG either.
  4. The cast.
    1. Again, too big. OK, so you’ve got the guy who built the new KITT in his garage – science guy, fine. But do they need an entire team? Government agents? All you need is 2 or 3 main characters, and a number of nameless, faceless extras. The guy who played Mike Knight in the new series did a good job, although I’d rather have seen Tom Welling (similar in build and stature to an ’82 Hoff IMHO) in the role, but Justin Bruening pulled it off.
  5. The sexual tension.
    1. Bond and Money Penny, Knight and Barstow. Always a hint of underlying sexual tension. Knight 2008? Not only did he ask her to marry him before he vanished, nearly every episode we see everything short of the money shot. Seriously.
  6. The plot.
    1. Underlying plot and back story is fine. Lone wolf guy with a mysterious past given a chance to help the powerless against powerful…terrorists of the week? A little too formulaic. They need more back-story. They need to fill in blanks from the past 25 years. They need a disgruntled former FLAG scientist installing the CPU from KARR into a Roush. SOMETHING. They need cameos. Mix it up a bit.

If in fact Knight Rider has failed, it is because they went far too big. One guy, one talking car, and a small team of professionals backing him up as he saves the day. It’s a formula which could work again if the people who make the decisions had any respect for the franchise or the underlying premise of the original show. Start small, aim high.

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