TV Review: Knight Rider 1.1 – Knight in Shining Armor

A Knight in Shining Armor

Knight Rider, NBC, Airs Wednesdays 8/7c

Episode: “Knight in Shining Armor” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Synopsis: Mike (Justin Bruening) and KITT are assigned a seemingly easy package delivery – until they realize the package is actually a man with vital top secret code decryption built into his DNA. The mission gets complicated when the enemies, including a mysterious woman, seem to know a great deal about Mike and a past he can’t recall.

Review: Tonight, if you’re not doing anything better (like shoving thumbtacks under your toenails, or indulging in some self-mutilation with razor blades) you might want to carve out an hour of your life to check out the first regular season episode of Knight Rider. Our flagship adventure with the new KITT car and his master, Mike Traceur, manages to one-up the awfulness of the pilot by being even more ridiculous and dull (you can read more about the pilot in our Fall TV Preview). Mike now has an entire operation backing him up, with a KITT car headquarters populated by the most cliched characters currently on television. In the first ten minutes of the show, the talking car is set ablaze by a missile. Mike and his love interest, Sarah, are trapped in the car with the temperature slowly rising. If the operations center can’t figure out a way to put out the fire quickly, our heroes will roast.

We have the hottie Asian chick who says “awesome” a lot while our heroes sweat. Then we have the geeky computer guy, who comes up with the theorems to save the day, all the while making awkward advances toward the hottie Asian chick. And then we have poor Bruce Davison, playing KITT’s creator, Charles Graimon, who has to utter the most overwrought and ridiculous technical jargon I’ve ever heard. He tries very hard to maintain some modicum of self respect. Despite his valiant efforts, he fails just as miserably as everyone else associated with this piece of garbage.

This is bad television, ladies and gentlemen. And that’s being kind.

Consider the new KITT, a car that can transform itself from a Ford Mustang into a souped-up street racer replete with neon (really?), or into an SUV, but it can’t shake some flames off of it’s nanobot-comprised shell? And, of course, this entire dilemma plays out while the vehicle is traveling at over a hundred miles per hour down a highway, not drawing the attention of a single law enforcement officer.

Stop the car, open the doors, and jump through the flames. Problem solved, I say. But no one listens to me.

In the end, KITT, as voiced by the bland and effeminate-sounding Val Kilmer, simply drives faster, makes it to headquarters, and…

Well, I won’t spoil it. Suffice to say, you won’t care.

The plot kicks into high gear (get it?) when Mike is assigned to protect a man whose DNA holds a deadly secret. Along the way, we learn that Mike has a dark past even he does not remember fully–something that happened to him when he was assigned overseas as a special forces operative.

And, again, you won’t give a hoot about any of this.

I might recommend the show on camp value, except that it’s so earnest in trying to be campy, you can’t help but feel manipulated. I’m going to give this a seven beer rating, with two shots of Sailor Jerry’s rum, because that was what I needed to make it to the end. The climax is a bit fuzzy for me, which would make it the most enjoyable portion of the show. The vomiting that followed the closing credits could be because of the high alcohol content of the Sailor Jerry’s, or it could be a comment on the quality of this train wreck of a program. I’ll leave it for you to decide. I predict Knight Rider will last three more weeks before it is gone forever. And I think I’m being generous.

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

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