Knight Rider [2008-2009] Season 1. 17 Episodes

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First, let the Fortress establish where it stands.  We were very fond of the original Knight Rider [1982].  We do not even acknowledge the existence of a TV movie that may or may not have been made in 1991.  Team Knight Rider [1997] had its moments, but was not really Knight Rider format – although its opening theme was and is one of the most awesome ever and included a narration by Don LaFontaine – the movie trailer voice.  (Listen for yourself:)

"Look at me with my alternative good looks and space cadet attitude (but really smart underneath).  I'm here to attract guys who wouldn't go for the regular good looking girl.

"Look at me with my alternative good looks and spacey attitude (but really smart underneath). I'm Zoe and am here to attract guys who wouldn't go for the regular good looking girl."

"I'm the government hard-ass with a secret military agenda stereotype.  I have federally mandated these statistically proven cool factors."

"I'm the government hard-ass with a secret military agenda stereotype. I have federally mandated statistically proven cool factors."

If the 2008 Knight Rider strikes you as trying too hard to be hip and cool, you would be right.  Keep all heavy throw-able objects out of reach while watching because you will be ambushed by horrid overbearing electric guitar and scream metal.  This usually happens at designated scene transitions designed to up the cool-factor with young hipsters.  That and the over-the-top hip hop ambushes only succeed in causing excessive blood loss from viewer’s ears.

In fact during the last episode Mike [the star] asks K.I.T.T. if he could do anything about the mind-grating hip-hop ambush we had been subject to for over a minute.  Even K.I.T.T.’s choice of a 1970’s disco tune, designed to be funny, was a welcome release.  Too bad Mike did not complain earlier – and all season long.

Kitt faces his evil twin K.A.R.R in this somewhat rushed battle of the titans where only one can survive.

K.I.T.T. faces his evil twin K.A.R.R in this somewhat rushed battle of the titans. Only one can survive.

The show’s format started out very non Knight Rider.  A large ensemble cast.  We will give you the Fortress one sentence synopsis for this format which was used for most of the season:  The partially government funded Knight Foundation’s futuristic super-car is sent out on shady political missions driven by an ex-military man with holes in his memory who has to adjust to working with his ex-girlfriend hottie and a smart-aleck car AI named K.I.T.T.

"Hi.  I'm the regular good looking girl/ex-girlfriend.  Aren't my eyes stunning?  -- Shhh.  They're contacts."

Deanna Russo as Sarah: "Hi. I'm the regular good looking girl/ex-girlfriend. Aren't my eyes stunning? -- Shhh. They're contacts. That's how I got this gig."

Around episode 12 the producers radically changed to format to something more like the original.  It was jarring and felt rushed as characters were killed off and written out.  While this new format is more character driven and welcome, it is also less action-packed.  Small stories can work, but the writers may not have had time to get totally up to speed.

"Hello, I'm here to add gravitas to the cast -- what?  I'm a holgram in this scene?  Dang it I HAVE been written out!"

Bruce Davison as Charles Graiman: "Hello, I'm here to add gravitas to the cast -- what? I'm a hologram in this scene? Dang it, I HAVE been written out!"

K.I.T.T. is flatly and boringly voiced by Val Kilmer (it is as if he is trying to do a robot voice!)  It lacks the fun, dry wit, and character of the original’s venerable William Daniels.  The cast lost some of its better actors in the format change.  The remaining ones are likable but need improvement.  They struck us as very 1990’s weekend syndication, if you know what we mean.

Kitt's voice is half sci-fi channel direct to DVD android, half HAL from 2001, and all lacklucter.

K.I.T.T.'s voice is half sci-fi channel direct to DVD android, half HAL from 2001, and all lackluster.

"Okay, I'm no Hasselhoff.  Come on, who coulf fill those shoes?  But I do have 'rugged good looks' and I grow on you."

Justin Bruening as Mike Traceur: "Okay, I'm no Hasselhoff. Come on, who could fill those shoes? But I do have 'rugged good looks' and I grow on you. Here I'm doing my "tough but wary" look."

There is some fun technology like hand manipulable displays built into K.I.T.T.’s hood.  Other tech like the entire car transforming into a pick-up truck, or K.I.T.T. manufacturing anything in his glove box stretch credulity too far.

Wait a minute, I recognize that voice.  Peter Cullen!  OMG!  K.A.R.R. is really... Optimus Prime!?

Wait a minute, I recognize that voice. Peter Cullen! OMG! K.A.R.R. is really... Optimus Prime!?

The new turbo boost is fun, but rarely used.  K.I.T.T. can EMP most cars, shutting them down immediately.  This sometimes undermines some of the vehicular action and you might say to yourself, “Couldn’t he just stall out the car those machine gun wielding thugs are using?”  The high number of terribly convenient or contrived plot elements are equaled by unfilled plot holes.

In one of the most stupidly unbelievable scenes, this giant gattling rises out of the center of the hood (hmm, not like there is anything important there).

In one of the most stupidly unbelievable scenes, this ginormous Gatling gun rises out of the center of the hood (hmm, not like there is anything important there) and was never seen again. Worse, it fired for about .75 seconds at which time K.I.T.T. proclaimed he had burned through his 10 zillion rounds of ammunition. Ah, ... no.

If you like the Knight Rider franchise you may sit through the entire season of 2008’s version as we did.  Despite the format changes, the ear bleeding music, the questionable acting and the boring K.I.T.T. voice it had its moments.  Really.  We encourage you to give it a shot, but we would only recommend season 1 to fans.

It is true.  K.A.R.R. was... a Transformer!

It is true. K.A.R.R. was... a Transformer!

BONUS PICTURE:  We did not want to leave you hanging regarding the epic showdown between Kitt and K.A.R.R.   Here is is a split second later.

BONUS PICTURE: We did not want to leave you hanging regarding the epic showdown between K.I.T.T. and K.A.R.R. Here it is a split second later.

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21 thoughts on “Knight Rider [2008-2009] Season 1. 17 Episodes

  1. The reason Peter Cullen is the voice of KARR has nothing to do with Transformers. He was originally the voice of KARR on the original Knight Rider series. You can now watch vintage Knight Rider on Hulu. It’s around episode 12 or so (not sure) of season 1 that KARR makes his first of 2 appearances. He has a lot more lines in that one, and some of them are funny.

    • Hey great catch and a great fact! Thanks.

      However, I have to say in light of recent CGI Transformers movies, and K.A.R.R.’s new transforming ability… the comparison has to be noted (and hopefully was a little humorous).

  2. Haha.. hilarious take! I haven’t watched the new seasons yet. Why do the actresses all look so cheesy? The machines were cool tho’ Optimus Prime! My fav character in Transformers lol~

    I can’t remember the plot for the original knight rider series anymore… (probably too young and long ago I last watched it *cough*) I do remember loving the 90 degree U turn that always gets the enemy cars into a crash-fest. ^^

  3. There was much giggling, snickering, and laughing while reading this review. I am one of the younger viewers, and was too young (aka: not conceived?) to have watched the original Knight Rider it its prime. But I do remember a few of the reruns, along with Hasselhoff and K.I.T.T.’s beloved voice and witty charm. The new voice of K.I.T.T. sounds far too hipster, as you put it. Ha, and it’s my generation to blame for that too. (…poor Transformers) I will watch the original Knight Rider before I ever attempt this 21st century blunder.

  4. I just stoping by to say that you have a realy nice blog here, lots of information on this post for the knight rider fans … keep up teh gw 😀 too bad they had to pull the plug on this show :((( it was a realy nice show…
    don’t forget if u wonna watch/download any series stop by our website http://www.pukaseries.pt.vu

  5. Hey thanks for visiting my blog. And about the question you asked me:

    I thought it was a good move that they reduced the characters, it was hard enough to follow the storyline of each character. And now that they are 4 left. I think this should be the chance to shine some light on the 4 main characters now.

    I just hope that on the next season they would do well. I have been a big fan of the original Knight Rider series. And glad that they come up with this.

    Nice write up anyway.:D

  6. Sometimes despite loads of KITT equipment it’s not effectively used~ just to make the show interesting~ but it’s made me annoyed a bit~

    Well so far this show still entertain me~

  7. Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me a link to yours. This was a highly entertaining read. 😉

    • We agree that there was something very special about the original format. Michael rolls into town, faces some bad guys, gets temporarily thwarted, and then he and KITT kick butt.

      Throw in about 65% of the time a good looking daughter of some scientist or local sheriff for a 1 episode romantic interest and you have the original Knight Rider. We liked it a lot.

      Come to think of it, that was also the formula for A-Team. Hey wait a minute… 😉

  8. Okay. I thought long and hard about whether I should speak my mind about this one and I decided I will.
    I’ve never seen the series. these ones at least and I don’t think I’ll ever watch them or if I do I probably won’t like them. I loved the first series. You could say I was a fan. i had a slight crush on Michael Knight, but I don’t think any of the series made after te original will ever be as good as the original. I also loved ” knight Rider 200″ which was a full- length I saw a bit og Knight Rider Team….and I hated it. I deeply apologize for all its fans, but it jjust seemed so sucked out off pen as we Estonians say…t had lost its originality the first series had and to me used these old ideas again…… and they weren’t new again. How should I put this: Its like I like to compare everything with Winx being a fan and all…… Imagine that in 20 years someone NOT Iginio Straffi will make a series something like: ” Winx Club 2nd Generation”aout their daughters or new students in alfea. Now the people who hadn’t seen the oldies back in 21th century beginning would find the series awesome, but the old fans…what would they say if they saw some new fairies getting their charmixes, enxhantixes and believixes all over again in a slightly different window…. slight changes… new charxters….made by someone else…same bases. it wouldn’t sound so bad, but if you think of it, it would be cheesy, wouldn’t it?

    There for I highly recommend you watch the old series. They won’t feel that old and out of style…okay the clothes are, but the original iddea of KITT is still something so new that even we now live in 21th century its still makes you tink ” I wish I had that car” and right after that ” Jeesh, these seats are so ugly color”
    Also the full movie is cool cause its made in 1991 where they tried to guess what year 2000 would be like 🙂
    I one word. I miss the old series
    Waiting for reply
    Helina

    • WinxHelina strikes again! We enjoy your comments, and were pleasantly surprised to see yours on Knight Rider. If we have not made it clear let us state it again: We in the Fortress are big fans of the original Knight Rider. That series was not perfect, but was fun, had some great moments, and left you feeling better at the end of each episode. Plus it had humor and did not take itself too seriously.

      On the other hand we do not even acknowledge the existence of something that may have been called “knight rider 2000”. If they ever did make such a horrid TV film tragedy, we are sure it was not a benefit to the original series. It was likely an obvious attempt to launch a new series with a new female lead and new car AI by stepping all over the values and characters of the original. It had very little good to do with the original cast, and disregarded so many of the original themes. –Uh, that is if it even existed at all.

      You are harder on Team Knight Rider than we were. Unlike the knight rider 2000 travesty (if it existed) TKR did not try to step on the original but rather built on its themes. The Foundation for Law and Government was back doing its thing. Okay, the show was flawed, but it had promise and was not without fun moments. Perhaps there were too many AI’s and characters at work.

      This new Knight Rider was a nice try. It just did not gain ground fast enough, and the chemistry between the car AI and the cast was …lacking. Some good ideas, some bad ideas. Certainly that HUGE Gatling gun was a bad idea. What the heck was up with that!?

      Yeah, we can just see “Winx: The Next Generation”. People might praise it and think it original not fully acknowledging how much of it is owed to the original. There is a lot of un-originality out there. New ideas are harder to come up with, and perhaps harder to sell into production.

      You have opinions on a wider spectrum of media than we were expecting. It is a pleasant surprise. We look forward to where you might weigh in next, not having any idea where that might be. 🙂

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