Knight Rider: Journey to the End of the Knight

Knight Rider, NBC, Airs Wednesday 8/7c

Episode: “Knight of the Living Dead” (Season 1, Episode 6)

Synopsis: Mike and Sarah are on a cargo plane with KITT, returning to the SSC after a mission. A tech is killed at the SSC and KITT’s self-destruct program is activated.

Review: Yet another Knight Rider review that comes in a day late due to the fact that — oh my God, can I please stop reviewing this piece of shit show now?! — When I volunteered for this, I honestly thought the thing wouldn’t last more than six episodes. And then NBC ordered up a full season of this turkey. That’s twenty-two episodes.

I was utterly astounded by that news. Why would NBC order a full season of a show that so miserably fails at everything it sets out to accomplish? The writing is insipid, the plots are thoroughly predictable, the characters are one-dimensional, and the car is not cool. Val Kilmer, as the voice of KITT, seems incapable of infusing his lines with any sort of urgency or emotion–presumably because he’s too busy counting his money.

Okay, maybe that’s unfair. It’s hard to act worth a shit if the writing is horrible. And the writing on Knight Rider is demonstrably horrible.

This week’s episode is a good case in point. It’s Halloween at the SSC, the headquarters and point of operations for Mike and KITT. Everyone’s dressed up in costumes. The upside to this is seeing Smith Cho, the hot-ass Asian chick who plays Zoe, in a cheerleader costume.

A message is broadcast to the SSC. The SSC employees drop their Halloween festivities to focus on it. It’s garbled. It looks like a message from a government agent–a shadowy figure against a gray backdrop. It seems urgent. Dramatic music rises and everyone at the SSC grows increasingly concerned until a still shot of a horrible monster appears onscreen, along with a blood-curdling scream. Everyone at the SSC is startled.

Cut to Mike, laughing his ass off in the back of a cargo plane. This was his Halloween prank. Sarah (Deanna Russo), in the plane with Mike, observes that Halloween has always been Mike’s favorite holiday–which is television shorthand for, “Hey, this guy is fun-loving and just a little rebellious!”

And boy I couldn’t possibly care less.

Before long, KITT’s creator, Charles (Bruce Davison), and Zoe find a tech in a lab, dead. He has been shot in the gut. We go through the predictable machinations of Zoe thinking the body is another Halloween prank, and then the lights go out. Gunshots are fired. Charles and Zoe fall to the floor.

Cue opening credits. Oh, and please kill me.

Returning to the show, we discover that whoever apparently shot Charles and Zoe set off KITT’s self destruct system. And the only person who can stop it is the person who started it. That’s a major problem, seeing as how Mike and Sarah are now trapped on a cargo plane with a ticking time bomb.

KITT is also not happy that Charles equipped him with a self-destruct. At the point where it is decided that his files should be uploaded to another computer, and his shell ejected from the plane, KITT starts whining. Apparently, without his neural net, the files are just random memories and experiences. And while those files and memories can be uploaded to another central core, KITT knows that he will cease to exist.

To quote the great Artie Lang: Wah! I’m a car with artificial intelligence and I’m gonna get dropped out of the back of a plane! Wah!

I was determined to watch this thing sober. I succeeded in that task. I watched as it was discovered that the person who had fired the handgun in the SSC was a Zoe look-alike (really? another look-alike?!) and that she had set the auto-destruct on KITT specifically so that the car’s files would be uploaded, making them vulnerable to hacks. Or something like that. I don’t know. I was all in a daze. The real Zoe was apparently unconscious, hidden beneath a desk. That’s right. She was stuck up under a desk and no one found her for hours.

But the really psychedelic part of the show comes when Billy (Paul Campbell) takes out a mini-satellite dish and scans the scene of the crime with it. The device apparently detects sound waves that have been stuck in the air long after the sounds were emitted. They’re like ghost sound waves. He manages to isolate voices in the room, conversations that occurred prior to and just following the gunshots.

And… say the fuck what?!

I hate you Knight Rider writers. I really, really hate you.

In the end, Charles gets a hand imprint from the fake Zoe to stop the auto-destruct and oh my God, I know you don’t care–can I please have my life back?!!

I’ve had to resort to alcohol abuse to make it through previous Knight Rider episodes. While I managed to complete my viewing of this episode in a sort of sober, disbelieving daze, I had to down a shot of Sailor Jerry’s and three Milwaukee’s Best Lights this morning to write the review. That’s at 6:00 in the morning, by the way. That’s what this hellish incarnation has driven me to.

I just can’t believe that a show this bad is going to run a full season on one of the Big Three networks–and the year is not 1985. If this piece of shit was running on the Disney channel, I’d have no problem with it. Everything on the Disney channel fucking sucks. But dammit–it’s the year 2008, and this is NBC, in a world that’s now seen shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, 30 Rock, and Mad Men. How does Knight Rider exist?

I’ve been doing some research, and I think I have some answers to that question. I’ll explore some of the possibilities next week when I take on the latest episode of Knight Rider.

For more coverage of your favorite shows, check out the Control Freaks Archive.

Did you watch Knight Rider this week? If so, feel free to discuss below.


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