"Knight Rider" Arrives... And Stalls


Vroom, vroom, sputter, sputter, stall.  Here it comes, NBC’s Knight Rider! Coasting to a dead stop at a TV set near you.

Enumerating the flaws in this rebooted version of the 1980s non-classic TV action series seems less like criticism than sadism. To be accurate, you’d have to be overbearingly cruel. Every element of the show is either ridiculous or repugnant, insipid or insulting, unbelievable or unwatchable.

As “product integration” goes, Knight Rider serves, unwittingly (because everything in this series, trust me, is without wit), as a demonstration of how to go too far, yet achieve too little. The blatant brand-name emphasis on the automobile model in this show – I won’t help out by repeating it here – is so constant, so unapologetic and so unsubtle, I suspect even grad-schoolers may smirk at the ineffective aggressiveness.

But if they get past that and focus on what pass as “characters,” that’s where Knight Rider really tries to get by on fumes. I had thought the telemovie pilot, aired during the strike, was the worst remake of this concept possible. I’m man enough to admit I was wrong.

Knight Rider the series is even worse than Knight Rider the telemovie.

In describing this 2.0 version, I realize I’ve not only avoided mentioning the car model, but haven’t mentioned a single actor, writer, producer or director. In this case, I’m doing them all a favor. By collaborating on this series in the first place, I presume they’ve all learned their lesson.