Monday 18 February 2008

Knight Rider

Knight Rider was a pop culture phenomenon in the early eighties. Can Glen A. Larson reboot his original series in the way Ronald D. Moore rebooted Battlestar Galactica for a new generation?

Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, takes new KITT for a drive.

Guest post by Nick Smith

I was looking forward to seeing the revamp of Knight Rider on NBC last night. I love driving my Ford Mustang, so I was quite happy with the make and model being used for the Knight Industries Three Thousand car (“KITT”). I was even willing to give Val Kilmer a go as the voice of KITT, and I thought a cameo by David Hasselhoff (from the original series) would be fun. The director had worked on Rome and Deadwood – he had to be a smart cookie.

I must confess, the hairs on the back of my neck prickled when the old Knight Rider theme began to play. But it was replaced within seconds by generic rock and from then on, the TV movie resembled a 2-hour car commercial: lots of shots of the tires, the windshield, the grille etc. No amount of fast cutting allowed for the fact that the director Steve Shill had forgotten to make the car chases exciting.

Worse, the storyline was dull, formulaic American TV stuff; the leads were bland, with no interesting lines to test their acting chops; and the dialogue was often drowned out by the rock music.

It’s a shame that executive producer Glen A. Larson couldn’t have taken a cue from a revamp of another of his shows, Battlestar Galactica, and added some more engaging, believable characters. The new Knight Rider was so vacuous that I didn’t stick around long enough for the Hasselhoff cameo, and Steve Shill should stay away from car porn in future...

Nick Smith is a filmmaker, writer and actor. He has written screenplays (The Terror Game, Cold Soldiers); dramas and documentaries for the BBC, Sky and all other major UK networks. He wrote a year's full content for "The Property Channel" on cable and contributed to "The Medical Channel" on satellite.

Other work includes novels (the bestselling Milk Treading, The Kitty Killer Cult and Undead on Arrival), stage plays (Crime School, Foodfellas), comedy sketches, articles (The Scotsman, Charleston Magazine), radio plays and comic books. He founded and ran a production company and The Film School Scotland before moving to Charleston, South Carolina where he’s currently directing feature film and teaching writing, acting and filmmaking.

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