Snap Judgment; 'Knight Rider'

Knightrider_lConfession: I was not a huge fan of the original Knight Rider. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, was mostly indifferent to its gimmicky charms. So I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the updated version via last night’s NBC movie/backdoor pilot. Reasonably good FX, good chase ‘n’ crash action, solid-if-familiar sci-fi plotting, decent supporting players — Sydney Tamiia Poitier as a lesbian FBI agent (uh… okay) and the reliable Bruce Davison as the slightly crackpot inventor. I especially liked Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT; no disrespect to Will Arnett, who might have brought a hostile, ironic edge to the talking car, but Kilmer brought the kind of nonchalant cool he used to toss off effortlessly in such movies as True Romance and Tombstone. (Certainly an improvement over the snippy, nervous-Nellie voice of William Daniels in the original.)

Lone drawback was driver Justin Bruening (right), who seems like a yapping puppy next to David Hasselhoff (especially during the Hoff’s cameo, performed without a trace of irony, which turned out to be a good thing in context). Still, he and Deanna Russo (left, as Davison’s supposedly brilliant daughter) have good chemistry with each other — and with the car, to which both human leads definitely take a back seat.

What did you think? As good as, better than, or worse than the original? Were you annoyed or amused by the relentless product placement? Are you looking forward to further adventures with this whole KITT and kaboodle?

addCredit(“Knight Rider: Mitch Haddad”)

Comments (66 total) Add your comment
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  • Mikey G

    I thought the entire movie was one giant Ford commercial…between the actual Ford commercials on the breaks and then every car on the road during the chase sequences were either Ford’s or Ford owned companies (Land Rover, Volvo). I understand that they are a sponsor and paying some of the bills but COME ON!!!! Also, I thought the acting was HORRIBLE. The special effects with KITT were good b ut other than that the movie had a feel like it was thrown together at the last minute and had a very cheap feel to it. The storyline felt rushed. If this is any indication of how the show would be, NBC needs to just cancel it now before they have another Bionic Woman on their hands!!!!

  • Bill P

    You nailed it Mikey G. This thing was horrific. If I didn’t like Mustangs, I wouldn’t have made it past the first 10 minutes. The only non Ford product on the road is the Yukon that gets destroyed. This trend that I first noticed on 24 a few years back has got to stop. NBC…please get you act together. Between this and Bionic Woman, you’ve got two shows that didn’t deserve to be on the Sci-Fi channel, let alone major network. television. Why waste the first half hour introducing me to completely unlikeable characters? Total waste.

  • Emma

    Yeah, I agree with pretty much everything Mikey G said. That was crap. Susman, I don’t know what show you were watching but that was some of the worst acting I’ve seen in a long time. The dialogue was terrible! I sincerely hope that NBC doesn’t decide to make this show into a series. I know I won’t be watching…

  • courtney

    I actually liked the show. It was a guilty pleasure (more because I like American muscle cars) than anything. I did count the Ford commercials, but hey, Transformers was a giant add for GM, why can’t Ford have one? Some characters seemed lame, but if given the chance, they could make a go at it. I loved Val Kilmer as KITT. He has the voice… Honestly, I would watch this TV show, if only to remember what I loved about the original… hokey sci-fi, cool cars, and chase scenes.

  • FunkyRedrum

    This show was okay. Nothing to write home about but I did love Val Kilmer as KITT. Loved that part. Bruce Davison was good while the others not so much. May watch it again if I have nothing else to do but will not seek it out.

  • LJ

    A welcome relief after months of reality shows. Good show,better than most of the new ones..Hope it continues we need something differnent for a change

  • LJ

    A welcome relief after months of reality shows. Good show,better than most of the new ones..Hope it continues we need something differnent for a change

  • whimsey

    I liked the show – in a pre-pubescent googly-eyed girl way. Definitely deserves a few more watchings. Oh yeah – Val Kilmer rules!

  • Cara

    I left it on after “American Gladiators” thinking, “Okay, buddy, you’ve got ten minutes”. Which turned into fifteen. Which turned into an hour.
    It wasn’t compelling enough to make me watch the whole thing, but I was surprised at how bad it -wasn’t-. I fully agree that Val Kilmer made the show–he and the writers brought a kind of “Terminator” humor to it, consistently ironic and sometimes even funny. No one else really impressed me…at all…but Kilmer was a joy to watch. Er, listen to.

  • kevin

    I liked it, surprisingly. If/when it becomes a primetime show I’ll definately watch it. However I have to disagree and say I think Will Arnett would’ve been a better choice for the role. Val Kilmer was too monotone, and i know a robot is supposed to be, but if it’s gonna be talking the entire show it should have some sort of personality. And while I think the two leads had good chemistry, the acting of Deana Russo whenever she was scared or trying to be witty was mostly terrible. And the addition of the lesbian FBI agent was…interesting. I wanna see how that plays out. At least she won’t be falling for the nerdy friend like so many other shows would do. The tough FBI agent falls for the geeky, not so attractive friend is overdone. And at least we finally have another main gay character on TV! Overall I thought it was done very well and I can’t wait to see how it translates to a TV show!

  • Cara

    I left it on after “American Gladiators” thinking, “Okay, buddy, you’ve got ten minutes”. Which turned into fifteen. Which turned into an hour.
    It wasn’t compelling enough to make me watch the whole thing, but I was surprised at how bad it -wasn’t-. I fully agree that Val Kilmer made the show–he and the writers brought a kind of “Terminator” humor to it, consistently ironic and sometimes even funny. No one else really impressed me…at all…but Kilmer was a joy to watch. Er, listen to.

  • Lindypop

    I too was not a fan of the original Knight Rider, but was surprisingly entertained by the updated take on this classic.
    I think Justin Breuning is the perfect choice for the Hoff’s son – give him a chance folks. I think he and the show deserve a couple more eps before we bang the gavel and pass judgement.

  • Cara

    I left it on after “American Gladiators” thinking, “Okay, buddy, you’ve got ten minutes”. Which turned into fifteen. Which turned into an hour.
    It wasn’t compelling enough to make me watch the whole thing, but I was surprised at how bad it -wasn’t-. I fully agree that Val Kilmer made the show–he and the writers brought a kind of “Terminator” humor to it, consistently ironic and sometimes even funny. No one else really impressed me…at all…but Kilmer was a joy to watch. Er, listen to.

  • Lindypop

    I too was not a fan of the original Knight Rider, but was surprisingly entertained by the updated take on this classic.
    I think Justin Breuning is the perfect choice for the Hoff’s son – give him a chance folks. I think he and the show deserve a couple more eps before we bang the gavel and pass judgement.

  • Cece

    Meh. I didn’t think it was god-awful. It was kind of lame. That whole Blackriver-private-security-firm-seeking-to-take-over-the-world thing was silly. But, the whole show was silly. I did enjoy Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT. I, too, was not a huge fan of the show. I only watched because I loved Justin Bruenning on All My Children. Sorry, kids, but I don’t think he was that bad. In comparison to the rest of the movie, he did OK. It has potential to not suck, but so did Bionic Woman. If they make it into a series, I’ll give it a shot, if only to look at Jamie, er, Justin again. Mmm, eye candy.

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