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Ten Things That Would Have Saved The New Knight Rider

December 5, 2008

The cast and crew of the Knight Rider sequel/remake showed up for work on Wednesday and were told “Thanks anyway, but we’re pretty much done here.” While NBC hasn’t officially cancelled the crapulous show, it has halted production as of episode 17 of season 1, with no plans to continue.

This comes on the heels of the “revamp” of the struggling show, which saw a shift away from multi-episode arcs involving terrorists a la 24, and toward more “crook of the week” type storylines, closer to the structure of the 80s original.

I saw the pilot film last winter, and I’ve seen a few episodes of the new series, but to be honest, it just didn’t grab me. Not the way the original did, when I was in my early teens and really, really needed a hero with a talking car and strangely large hair. So I was thinking tonight about 10 things the producers could have done — and still can do — to save this show.

  1. Ditch Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT. It sounds like Kilmer recorded all his lines in a few days, while driving to and from meetings with studios for roles he didn’t get, via cell phone. He just isn’t into it. I always thought Robert Picardo, from Voyager, would have made a great KITT voice.
  2. Drop all the science fiction. Why was the car suddenly a Transformer? It made no sense. The original KITT was explained in ways that made sense by 1980s scientific standards (assuming AI is possible), but this new one could become a van? A truck? A police car? Come on … it never rang true. This should be a show about a great car, but one that could conceivably exist in 2008, and also talk.
  3. Get Michael Knight off the grid again. What was the FBI doing working with Michael Knight Jr.? The beauty of FLAG (the Foundation for Law and Government) was that it was a privately owned do-gooder organization, which used a presumed-dead ex-cop and a talking car, working secretly and unofficially, to help innocent people.
  4. Add humour. The original Knight Rider was witty and thrived on the banter and dialogue between Michael and the car, and Michael and Devon Myles. This new show is humourless and cold.
  5. Recast the lead. This Justin Breuning actor is just not charming enough to play this part. He’s an action hero, sure, but not this kind of action hero. And with Knight Rider‘s long history of plastic surgery and new faces, it would be easy to slide someone else behind the wheel of the car.
  6. There really should have been more Hasselhoff. It’s not like he’s doing anything else.
  7. Oh yeah, the wheel … Change the car, change the make, model and design, change everything … but keep that classic steering wheel, please. It’s so iconic, and would send the message: different car, still KITT.
  8. Bring in other super-vehicles. Remember when the original went up against KARR? Or the intelligent transport truck? TV gold, people. TV gold.
  9. It isn’t Knight Rider if Michael isn’t romancing a different woman every week. It really isn’t. Romantic tension with an ex-girlfriend doesn’t count.
  10. This bears repeating: Hasselhoff. If they can get him to come in and just take over for a while, maybe this series will bounce back. But I doubt it. Too bad.

Now I’m just going to wait for the A-Team movie. And watch this, too, because I like to be reminded of simpler times.

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