This Episode of Knight Rider…
…ruined for you by Ford!
Now, like many of you, I watched Knight Rider as a kid. It was a bit hokey but fun. Kitt was always the draw for me as was some of the stunts. Sometimes, when they come out with one of these retro shows or movies, I can’t help but be excited. It just pulls at those nostalgia strings like nobody’s business. You get suckered in.
Not so with Knight Rider.
I hadn’t read a review or even talked about it with others. I wasn’t too surprised or upset that they switched cars. I had no idea who was in it so I didn’t have an opinion there either. But it sat on my DVR for days before I could muster up the motivation to watch it. It was like there was something inside me… a 6th sense if you will… that it was going to stink. And oh God, did it! Don’t read on if you don’t like spoilers…
And while there are probably many people and situations to blame, I think we should start, and end, with Ford. While some people hate the change in cars, we really couldn’t expect them to stick with an old Trans Am right? That wasn’t going to happen, especially since it’s no longer in production. And I personally like the looks of the new mustang so that was OK. But just because you sponsor something, doesn’t mean you have to be Nazis about it.
Case in point – When I viewed the “making of” video on the Matrix Reloaded DVD, they made a big deal about how cool it was that Cadillac let them bust up their cars. Ever since then, I’ve paid special attention to that when there is an obvious sponsor. First of all, why does EVERYONE in the show drive Fords? Are they the sole investor or what? I think I saw more Ford logos than just about any of the characters. And please, don’t get me started on that “high speed” chase where the Edge is keeping up with the Shelby Mustang. What a crock of… well, you know. And did you notice how the Edge and the semi manged to avoid a head on collision at high speed simply by applying the brakes? Oh, if only everyone thought of that! Think of all the lives that would be saved! And don’t think I didn’t notice that not only was the final SUV NOT a Ford, but that they took off all the logos so that the other manufacturer didn’t get any sort of air time at all (even though they totaled the car). L-A-M-E!
The acting, while not terrible, was certainly nothing to write home about. The premise of just about all the characters (except for the body double dying, that part was kind of cool) was taken directly from the handbook of contrived characters. Hot nerdy girl with a bad boy complex is forced to reconcile with her former bad boy boyfriend in order to stop the bad guys (who are about as scary as having my in-laws visit but not as scary has throwing a birthday party for my four year old). And don’t get me started on the voice for HAL… I mean Kitt. Great casting there.
Oh, and thanks for letting the two main character hook up at the end. That was great. It’s so comforting to know that we won’t have to worry about those Captain Kirk-like hookups that we all expected Knight Rider to be full of. Great writing there blockheads.
What probably would have helped is if the characters were at all believable. Mike (or whatever they are going to call him) just hangs his friend out to die… but is saved by a bank transfer? At night? While they are holding a gun to his head? Wow, those are the most tech-savvy loan sharks I’ve even seen! Mike is supposed to be this ex-ranger guy but didn’t seem too tough to me. And, as a note to the “writers,” no guy EVER broke up with a hot girl because he realized they were going to have different futures. EVER.
Of course the crooked cop was believable. Because calling in information for money and chasing innocent people around trying to kill them is the exact same thing. How did he get to be a cop anyhow? If they had at least hinted that he wasn’t a cop or that he was someone’s brother or something I might have believed it. Might. But no, let’s just go with world’s worst cop being the sheriff. Sure he is.
This is the problem as I see it – the writers strike. From what I can tell, this pilot was actually written by Ford. I can imagine a bunch of execs sitting around a table trying to figure out how to sell cars. Oh, and write a script too. “Hey, let’s write the pilot for Knight Rider! How hard could it be?”
“You know, you’re right! First let’s put nothing but Fords in there… wait, they’ll have to be an accident at some point…”
“That’s OK, we’ll just get a competitor’s car, strip off any identifying marks, and wrap it around our mustang…”
“Yeah! Which will be completely unharmed! People will FLOCK to the dealerships!”
“Best. Idea. Ever. Wait, what about the story?”
“Meh… bad boy, hot chick, cool car… what’s to write? We’ll set it in LA so we don’t have to go anywhere… Just pop in that video of the original pilot and we’ll copy that. Sure we’ll make some changes but…”
After watching the original pilot…
“That was confusing. Who was that guy at the beginning?”
“I don’t know. Hey, I got it, let’s just have the mustang run around and collect the characters. That way we don’t have to come up with any sort of motivation for anyone.”
“I vote for that.”
Let me end with this. When the best part of your 2 hour pilot is a cameo by the Hoff, you know you’ve made TV history. And not in a good way.