Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: 'Knight Rider' review

Most new TV shows, I will give one or two weeks past the pilot to change my initial opinion. Not so with the subject of today's column, "Knight Rider," which is just as awful as you would expect it to be, whether or not you watched the TV-movie back in February. My hope is that other than this column (where I'm meaner than I usually allow myself to be with this stuff), the only other words I write about this show will involve a sentence that includes the phrase "has been canceled."

24 comments:

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I'm periodically surprised to realize how damn resilient KR has been -- there's been a revival or a reunion or spinoff or something every few years since the original series was canceled. Is there someone at Universal whose job it's been to keep coming up with vaguely newish things to do with a show about a talking car all this time?

happy_go_lucky said...

I saw the pilot on Hulu last and damn it was awful. I wasn't expecting but dear it was even more awful than even my lowest expectations. It makes the original KR look like masterpiece theater, hell it make the old Battlestar Galactica look like the new Battlestar Galactica.

I mean is NBC actually presenting this as their flagship of the new season? No wonder cable shows so soundly beat out network shows last sunday at the emmys.

J said...

This all reminds me: Why isn't Baywatch Nights on DVD? I haven't seen anything as enjoyably awful as that outside of MST3K, and would happily buy the episode where The Hoff prevents an apocalypse by getting into a fistfight with the Hopi god of war.

Kay said...

Remember, this is the network that canceled Journeyman.

Anonymous said...

This and the Lipstick Jungle premiere have been on Hulu for about a week. And for those interested, the premieres of Life and Chuck are on there now too.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm aware that a number of the NBC shows are up on Hulu already, but can we please avoid spoiling anything until after they've aired on TV? If you watched Knight Rider already and want to discuss its badness in general terms, go for it, but no specifics on that or any of the other Hulu sneak preview shows.

Thanks.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, and one thing I neglected to mention in the review is that it's not just the decent ratings for the TV-movie that brought the show back; it's the brand integration possibilities, which is all Ben Silverman really cares about. I'm sure the car company in question is paying the Sheinhardt Wig Company a whole lotta money to feature all of their autos, possibly enough to keep it on the air even if the ratings are awful.

Run Yeti Run said...

I started watching the KR premiere on Hulu yesterday and had to stop after ten minutes because of how revolting it was. Bad enough the car is suddenly some sort of low-rent Transformer, but several of the CG effects were laughable (the exhaust pipes that tilt and shoot flame look like they were borrowed from a Commodore 64 screen shot).

Andrew said...

Even an American car company isn't going to sink endless money into sponsoring a show that no one's watching.

But yay, internets. The Chuck premiere is excellent.

Matt said...

"Knight Rider" will probably do pretty well because the timeslot is not competition heavy. "Pushing Daisies" is unlikely to ever hit a mass audience (great as it is), "Old Christine" skews older, "Bones" is solid but not a breakout, "Top Model" is young female driven. That leaves younger men wide open for Michael Knight and his talking car. (Though the overall NBC Wednesday makes no sense--Knight Rider goes to young men, Deal or No Deal skews older, and Lipstick Jungle is entirely female driven.)

Bobman said...

(Though the overall NBC Wednesday makes no sense--Knight Rider goes to young men, Deal or No Deal skews older, and Lipstick Jungle is entirely female driven.)

Maybe they're going for the ever-important "younger married couples who watch TV together with their parents" demographic.


Also, great review Alan. Nice to see you brutally rip into a show :)

Dan Coyle said...

There's a part of me that acknowledges Glen A. Larson is likely simply incompetent, but there's a bigger part of me that just thinks he views his audience as idiots and that leads to things even idiots would be offended by.

The only reason the original show survived was because of idiotic seven year olds like myself. I have a feeling the little kids of the world won't be willing to sacrifice Johnny Test for this.

Pamela Jaye said...

I usually reserve my desire to see the phrase "has been canceled" for shows that I might remotely be intersted in (so I can be sure that I don't have to bother). In all other cases I use my remote control.

However, since it's your job, I can see where it might apply, for you. For me - my brother asked me to record it - so I'm just hoping that his opinion will match yours.

Tracey said...

@matter-eater lad: When the TV movie first aired, I recall a commentator pointing out that, while there were many revivals, none of them really "got" the core essence of the show, which was a man and his car, sort of an updated The Lone Ranger where KITT was Tonto and Silver combined. The others lost that essence and never recaptured the audience.

In its defense, the new version does manage to recapture that concept (at least, the movie that aired in February). But of course, it sucks anyway.

I'm old enough to remember the time before the original KR premiered, when they plugged the car as being even cooler than the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard, with lists of features that KITT had that the General Lee didn't. Yes, really. In multiple full-page ads in TV Guide.

TL said...

I'm in my 30s, and am totally going to play Grand Theft Auto IV instead of watching this POS.

Nicole said...

Is there no chance of a special guest star appearance of the Hoff? I would watch it for that because it's the only part of the tv movie that I enjoyed... for the cheese factor anyway.

I knew this show had problems when Will Arnett was being replaced by Val Kilmer. But then I guess they couldn't have KITT outshine the guy driving him.

I may watch this just because I watched Viper and that was garbage too. Depends what else is on.

dez said...

Holy crap, what a cheesefest! Justin looks damn good, though.

Anonymous said...

Terrible acting, not realistic, poor attempt to include comedy in the plot. This TV show is a slap on the face to the orginal Night Rider. Geared to age 10-13 is more like it.... un-realistic scenes like the car morphing into a TRUCK! ...God who's idea was that? The guy get's his finger choped off...puts it in KITT and whala "I feel no pain" ...uh yeah. NBC forgot to consider their target audiance.

I'll be very surprised if this makes it to season two. NBC had a good oportunity to bring this clasic back and did a good job screwing it up.

Anonymous said...

Terrible acting, not realistic, poor attempt to include comedy in the plot. This TV show is a slap on the face to the orginal Night Rider. Geared to age 10-13 is more like it.... un-realistic scenes like the car morphing into a TRUCK! ...God who's idea was that? The guy get's his finger choped off...puts it in KITT and whala "I feel no pain" ...uh yeah. NBC forgot to consider their target audiance.

I'll be very surprised if this makes it to season two. NBC had a good oportunity to bring this clasic back and did a good job screwing it up.

Dan Coyle said...

You know, I really like Deanna Russo.

Really, REALLY like her.

That said... this was not good.

Really, REALLY not good.

I've read Jeph Loeb comics with more pep than this.

TiVo Queen said...

I didn't even make it past eight minutes - not counting fast forwarding to see the credits where I see Yancey Arias and Bruce Davidson who I love...but not enough to watch this crappy show.

AndyW said...

I'm going to go against the grain here and argue that this was fantastic. I've always held the 1992 Fox postapocalyptic sitcom "Woops!" as the apogee of "so bad it's good," but this... this was right up there. The shape-shifting car, the hero and heroines having to get naked so they don't get incinerated - the hits just kept coming.

The actors appeared to have been chosen based on some heretofore hypothetical anti-talent that physicists worry could destroy the Earth if it were to spread.

The special effects, as someone already noticed, appeared to have been created in BASIC on a Commodore 64.

If "Heroes" could be this laughably awful, I'd enjoy it a lot more.

hazmatzak said...

Enjoyed the review; won't be watching the show.

To this day, I recall one of the old car's features was a "Passive Laser Restraint System" in lieu of seatbelts. Sounded painful.

And speaking of the C-64, they would actually LIST an Applesoft BASIC program, and put that on-screen as "KITT scanning computer records" or somesuch. Ah, the innocence of youth.

eneexpress said...

I'm sure I'm the only one that feels this way, but I liked it. Not to say it can't use some improvement.....

Went back and watched the first few episodes of Las Vegas on TBS. Those were god-awful too. But once we got halfway through that season and into season 2, I couldn't put down the remote when Vegas came on.

I'm hoping for the same kind of improvement from GST with Knight Rider. But for what it is - the first episode (usually bad) of a remake (they never live up to the original), I thought it was a solid effort.