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.

The 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.

Back 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.

It 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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