What child of the 80’s didn’t know of the glorious existence of Knight Rider, the television show that brought us both talking cars and, to a lesser extent, David Hasselhof? If you haven’t seen old school Knight Rider, here’s the summary: Michael Knight talks to a car voiced by Mr. Feeny (from TV’s “Boy Meets World”) about many things, including how best to drive into the back of a moving semi trailer. Michael Knight and K.I.T.T., the talking Trans Am, end up fighting crime, mostly taking charity cases that the A-Team wouldn’t touch.
Right now, I’m watching Knight Rider on NBC — a re-make of the original. Michael is now Mike. General Motors K.I.T.T. now a Ford Mustang that can transform (or “Go-Bot”) into an F-150. I’ve heard that David Hasselhoff makes an occasional appearance in the re-make, but I haven’t seen him yet. If he does show up, we can only hope that wardrobe didn’t mix up the tags and accidentally put him in Baywatch garb for his walk-on.
The basic premise of the re-make is the same as the 80’s original, only less um… good. It still has the basic elements: a talking Car and cocky driver, sensors indicating danger, and adventuresome plots that appeals to an audience comprised mainly of 5th graders. They even retained the fwhoo-fwhoo sound with red moving light. As a kid, Dad told me that this was K.I.T.T.’s “eye”. I always wondered how that didn’t tip people off that maybe this wasn’t your normal Trans-Am, much like Clark Kent’s glasses.
The big surprise with the 25-years later remake is the lack of graphic excellence. Even with my lo-def RCA television (1990 model) the chroma-key is blatently obvious. I can’t help but think that I could do a better green-screen with stuff in my own basement.
Another big surprise is the abundant product placement. Ford Motor is looking to cash in just like General Motors did, though I don’t remember thinking I was watching a Pontiac commercial in the old version. No doubt the vehicular situation is awesome, though. It makes me wonder how many people go to their Ford dealership to get the K.I.T.T. upgrade for their Mustang GT. The sales department could cash in and offer the Knight Rider upgrade to less suspecting customers. Wellsir, here’s your red eye sensors (Dollar Store Christmas Lights). Here’s your in-car SuperComputer (Speak’n’Spell taped to dashboard). Here’s your voice (William Daniels sitting in your passenger seat).
Cooky adventures with high-tech surveillance, classic one-liners and predictable plot lines. You gotta love it. They’re going for an audience here, and you can see why Knight Rider is on at 8pm instead of 9pm. It’s just about bedtime for most elementary school kids. As I’m watching just one episode of Knight Rider tonight, I can’t help but think that I’ve seen this before. I also can’t shake the idea that someday new Micheal Knight will end up in syndication city, just outside Berlin.
Oh, good. They’re playing “Mustang Sally”. It’s finally over. Now a teaser for a new episode in 2 weeks. Rest assured I’ll be watching. Reruns. Of Corner Gas.