After the movie pilot for Knight Rider came and went, Vic gave it a “Not Awesome” rating, which actually meant it didn’t completely suck. Some saw it as a great extension of the original show, while others thought it reminded them more of an older show that tried its hand at the super car genre, called Viper. (I really like Vipers, BTW)
I liked seeing the K.I.T.T. with new technology in a new car, even if we never heard what happened to the old one, but it just felt empty to me. Fun to watch, but I wasn’t compelled by any character.
The pilot had sufficient ratings to be granted a shot at a series slot on NBC, and eerily, in an earlier post, Vic said “One can only hope they get some new writers once this thing goes weekly.” It freaks me out and I put on my tin foil helmet to protect my mind from probing brain waves because it seems that NBC listened or Vic sensed something…
Why? Because NBC went out and hired Gary Scott Thompson as the Executive Producer and showrunner for Knight Rider. If you’re wondering where you’ve heard that name before, he’s the guy who brought us Vegas on NBC, and another car-centric movie: The Fast and the Furious. The first good thing about this is that Thompson is a self proclaimed motorhead.
Usually when someone comes on board a project, they pay some form of homage to the pilot or effort before it, but Thompson is taking a whole new route with his thoughts on the project.
He’s approaching the series with 7 to 8 writers, some of whom he’s worked with before. Their experience comes from shows like Crossing Jordan and Charmed. A few other writers from from shows like Lost, Prison Break, and a writer who contributed to the first two seasons of Smallville (you know, back when it wasn’t quite the mess it is now).
With this variety of experience, I’m already thinking this might not be a loser, but I’d better not see a mystery smoke tendril or I swear I’ll lose it.
The other aspect about the show being an improvement over the pilot was that, as Thompson put it, he had nothing to do with the 2-hour pilot and he seems proud of that. In fact when the studio asked him his opinion on the pilot, he questioned their sanity in asking if they really wanted to know that or not. Fair warning I guess. He basically said that the movie did not advance anything about the mythos of the show and the series would need to be reinvented.
What he did like was that the way the movie ended. It left the direction of the series a blank slate for him, so he’ll move it forward by twisting some of the movie facts around a bit to push the series in his preferred direction. One of the things he’s going to torment us with is what the car actually can and cannot do… by keeping some of its features quiet for as long as possible… the rat!!
To add to the car, he and his staff are visiting different tech companies and asking about their vision for things 10 to 20 years down the road. Even Microsoft is entertaining them. But mark my words, if K.I.T.T. ends up being run by MS Windows, the car is screwed. They’ll keep finding themselves pulling over, turning the car off, and restarting it every week or two!
What Thompson recognizes is that very little that was new was brought forward about the car in the movie and he plans on expanding on that. He told the studio that he will take the show in the direction he feels necessary to maintain his credibility – and that sounds like a man on a mission. Not to mention a man who could be the guy who gives NBC a pseudo sci-fi action hit. A gray area indeed, but if NBC supports him and gives him a good time slot, this just might work.
He’s writing the first episode and the story will be such that you won’t have to have seen the made for TV movie to get on board the new series. He wants to catch the audience’s attention, get old fans on board, and make new fans say ‘holy crap’.