Knight Rider Series Premiere Review

Published 7 years ago by , Updated September 22nd, 2008 at 11:59 pm,

knight rider review Knight Rider Series Premiere Review

Well… I just watched the online series/season premiere of NBC’s reboot of Knight Rider. I know the term “reboot” has been overused of late, but in this case it truly applies. Exactly 7 months ago to the day, NBC unveiled a pilot/TV movie of a new version of the well-known Knight Rider TV series from the 1980s. While I thought it was extremely cornball, it had enough nods to the original series to soften me up a little bit and not totally rip it.


Apparently many people agreed that it was pretty lame, because although NBC decided to move forward with it as an ongoing TV series, they also decided to scrap the pilot and start from scratch with a completely new story and concept.

So, we here at Screen Rant figured there might be a glimmer of hope for the new series. However earlier today I posted up a short preview for the new show and it looked bad.

OK, expectations lowered.

Enough prevaricating – what’s the verdict?

Well, it IS better than the two hour movie, but it’s still not very good.

deanna russo Knight Rider Series Premiere ReviewThe episode started out portraying our hero Mike Traceur (Justin Bruening) as a slick, James Bond-type character in a tux at a fancy shindig. He’s there with Sarah (Deanna Russo) daughter of Charles Graiman (Bruce Davison), the genius behind uber-car K.I.T.T.. She is captured and Mike goes after her with the help of K.I.T.T. (apparently still voiced by Val Kilmer).

Things go wrong and soon the gang is trying to outrun a heat-seeking missile. They are unable to do so, despite the fact that I would think a couple of hard turns down a street or an alley would take care of it. Anyway, there’s some sort of “molecular chemically enhanced” napalm that K.I.T.T. is unable to put out.

smith cho Knight Rider Series Premiere ReviewBack at headquarters, Charles exhorts the team to come up with a solution before his daughter and Mike are cooked alive. This is where the show drops quite a few IQ points with its cast of characters. We have a brilliant and under-appreciated tech geek (played by Bill Morgan), and and hottie Smith Cho (played by Zoe Chae, try to keep up folks) the MOST annoying “genius” I’ve seen as a character on a TV show.

She utters idiotic things like “cool!” and “awesome!” as a reaction to life threatening situations – specifically while Mike and Sarah are near death with no solution in site. Really, REALLY annoying and stupid.

justtin bruening Knight Rider Series Premiere ReviewIt turns out that in this version of the show, Mike has some partial memory loss and was a Black Ops guy over in Iraq. In the show’s favor, at least they have him playing more of a serious character in line with his background than the goof-off he was in the pilot. He doesn’t know why, but some of his former associates are out to get him.

The main plot, getting hold of a highly classified “package” almost seems like an afterthought. And the package turns out to be a person – a guy who has written the ultimate cypher and has hidden the code to break it… in his DNA. I agreed with Mike Traceur who pointed out “that’s really stupid.”

In this version of the show, the car truly is a “Transformer,” able to not only morph into a beefier version of itself with more body ground effect panels and a pop-up air intake, but it can even turn into a pickup truck.

Neat trick, that.

At least they did bring back “Turbo-boost” although it’s so extreme as to border on ridiculous – acting almost as a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off & Landing).

Following my review of last year’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles pilot, I’m a little gunshy about dismissing a series based on the pilot alone. If they got rid of the stupidity factor of the duo back at headquarters, knuckled down and tried to take this seriously, it might have the potential to be at least watchable.

But as long as they’re schizophrenic about it – trying to combine stupid goofy “laughs” with a character story (Mike’s) which is obviously meant to be very serious, this show will be in trouble.

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  1. Well, having finally seen the pilot for the series itself, I have to agree with a few of the gripes I’ve seen, and disagree with a few others.

    First, I’ll agree, the Mike-seeking missile was bad. Still, I got a laugh of it. The resulting fire being one that took advantage of KITT’s self repair elements to continue fueling itself, though, was an interesting touch, and plays into the idea that there may be a leak inside from the Foundation.

    As for the complaint about Mike and Sarah having a separate oxygen supply and not suffocating when the fire does, they still could if they were in the vacuum chamber when their separate supply ran out. I don’t see a huge plot hole there.

    As for the Turbo Boost, Merrill is correct, the original KITT did, on occasion, jump from a stationary position and clear obstacles. The trajectory guide function was shown being used to assist in that, so it’s not without precedent.

    So far, in fact, nothing shown in regard to KITT’s abilities is without precedent. Everything he’s done so far builds nicely on the original series and the abilities of the Knight 2000.

    While the story didn’t do much to build the characters, it did a nice job of reintroducing them after the pilot movie seven months ago. The passage of time within the show from the movie makes for a nice cushion that allows the development of the new abilities in the Knight 3000.

    I like the fact that they seem to be setting up a possible recurring story line that can help with the depth of the show in future episodes. The possibility of a leak in the Foundation, something from Mike’s past that he’s forgotten may be back haunt him, and the possibility of the two being linked makes for some intriguing possibilities.

    All in all, my biggest problem with the show was that they have such a large support team constantly monitoring everything going on in regards to the car. Nothing like this was ever established in the original series, giving the original Michael Knight a lot more freedom to operate since he didn’t have Devon as a virtual back-seat driver. This element should really be toned down in future episodes.

    Other than that, this series has definite potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the series is capable of once it gets free of the obstacles inherent in all first episodes of a series.

  2. “As for the complaint about Mike and Sarah having a separate oxygen supply and not suffocating when the fire does, they still could if they were in the vacuum chamber when their separate supply ran out. I don’t see a huge plot hole there.”

    The trouble here is that Billy (funny how that was his name in BSG too) specifically notes that the heroes can’t breath without air when they come up with the idea of putting them in the vacuum camber.

    Charles Graiman: “We’ll bring them into the tunnel. We’ll shut the emergency doors; suck out all the air. Without oxygen, the fire can’t breathe.”

    Billy Morgan: “Without oxygen, they can’t breathe either.”

    You can argue that Billy wasn’t talking about the oxygen running out due to a vacuum, but it’d be a huge stretch.

    And, as for the special abilities, I’m cool with them. I don’t mind the VTOL and all that jazz. I just wish they didn’t make the CG so painful to watch.

  3. Vic,

    That was a very fair review of the show, I have a friend who is on that show and watched it to support’em and had similiar thoughts. The cast was upgraded from the pilot and that was nice to see, it was also good to see a more serious side of the lead instead of the one liners from the pilot. I really hope the best for this show and it would appear as if they have the right pieces in place to make it a while. If they make the (w)right changes!

    Thanks for at least being fair Vic.

  4. Fair point, Psyko. I don’t really remember who said what and when.

    In any case, it may all come down to how much attention Billy was paying to the conversation and the events around him.

  5. @Ninja31

    Thanks, although you should see some of my reviews when I really tear into something, lol. :-P


  6. After watching the premiere, no wonder they released it a week early on the internet, then replayed it within a few days over on The Sci-Fi Channel.

    Eesh. I don’t think you’re too far off on this one Vic!

  7. This show totally sucks!!! Bad plots, terrible acting, unbelievably corny lines, awful music…the worst show in history. I can’t believe people actually paid money for this remake. It is nothing like the original…can’t compare at all!!!

  8. Well, I actually liked last night’s episode. I thought the plot was very similar to the Data and Lore plot from Star Trek: Next Generation. Can’t wait to see KAR in action.

  9. the serie is wonderfull me and family like it I’m enjoying it everyweek is the serie going to contuned wer are loking at it from Suriname I small country with mix culture

  10. why does everyone hate this show???????!!!!?!?!?!?!?!

  11. why does everyone hate this show???????!!!!?!?!?!?!?!