01/06/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Universal 825 793 5. 18 episodes, nearly 13 hours plus extras. Price: £ 10.00 (UK) if you know where to look)stars: Justin Bruening, Deanna Russo, Paul Campbell, Smith Cho and Val Kilmer.
check out website: www.universal-playback.com
I tried watching the Channel 5 showing of the 2008 'Knight Rider' series earlier this year but when advert breaks got in the way of the car chases and I'm a sucker for technology so ultimately ended up buying the boxset to watch it uninterrupted.
This is the second time they've resurrected 'Knight Rider', assuming you forget 'Team Knight Rider' but include 'Knight Rider 2000' although both series are ignored in the pilot episode, just showing the remains of the Trans-Am but no reference as to what happened to the original KITT but the original Michael Knight still looks like he was retired.
The new Michael or rather Mike Knight is actually his son with the real name of Michael Traceur although he gets the permanent name change when too many people are after his blood for some secret military operation he was involved in and had his memory erased of said events. That happens much later. Initially, he is brought in to rescue the original inventor of KITT and his daughter by his new and updated version of KITT, this time housed in a convertible Mustang GT500. By convertible, I mean this Knight Industries Three Thousand has a car with a nanotech chassis capable of appearing as a variety of cars and no doubt to save damage when it goes off-road. It's even capable of turbo-boosting but unlike the original series doesn't do it very often and CGI does it these days. The out-takes also show that unlike stunt driver Jack Gill who drove from behind the seat, today's driver wears green and is digitally removed.
Once the series proper rolled where the NSA and FBI supervised missions, it was obvious that the ensemble cast was far too big. One man wasn't making a difference on his own and at times was becoming a distraction to what was happening on home base. Then something interesting happened with the two-part 12/13th episodes where a large chunk of the cast was removed, leaving four regulars. KITT's transformations were reduced and it started resembling the original series and the last four episodes were actually kinda brilliant allowing the humour to come up more and engaging plots. If the series continued, I wouldn't have been surprised if a semi wasn't brought in to give the new KITT a mobile home. The move towards looking like the original was better rather than starting off that way and had a lot more going for it than the aborted new 'Bionic Woman' series. If the decision to cancel was based on the early episodes then it should have been reconsidered based on the last few episodes.
That's not to say it was perfect. Even by today's standards, the original KITT still did things that can't be done today but could be thought of as possible. Giving the new KITT transformer capabilities tends to come over as rather too fantastic and bringing in a new KARR which was a virtual transformer even more so. The computer tech was something that even if you were only moderately geeky could appreciate today and a lot of screen throwing going on. Interestingly, the on-screen capabilities were akin to 'Knight Rider 2000' but hopefully people won't try it at home. Well, at least not without an AI controlled car which is still learning about the world.
Who knows? Maybe if the sales of the DVD boxset do well, it might even get a second season one day. At least the groundwork is there for development.
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