×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Knight Rider

The "Knight Rider" revival movie set the bar low in terms of expectations, and damned if the series premiere still doesn't go skidding under it. Frankly, this convoluted hour sent me scurrying to NBC's website looking for clarification about the plot, but -- whew, what a relief -- there really isn't much of one.

With:
Mike Traceur - Justin Bruening Sarah Graiman - Deanna Russo Carrie Ruvai - Sydney Tamila Poitier Billy Morgan - Paul Campbell Alex Torres - Yancey Arias Charles Graiman - Bruce Davison Zoe Chae - Smith Cho

The “Knight Rider” revival movie set the bar low in terms of expectations, and damned if the series premiere still doesn’t go skidding under it. Frankly, this convoluted hour sent me scurrying to NBC’s website looking for clarification about the plot, but — whew, what a relief — there really isn’t much of one. As constituted the program does have a decidedly retro flair, existing largely to push Ford cars (which could use the push), while stripping its characters down to underwear and skin-tight tops at every turn. As strategies go, this one could use a lube job.

Although the movie did improbably well ratings-wise, the series doesn’t do much to cash in on that gift or the obvious nostalgic goodwill residing in the name. Basically, the show is still about a driver and a really cool high-tech talking car. Granted, there are additional bells and whistles, like its ability to morph into other shapes — but that’s mostly to promote sports cars and trucks without needing to change drivers.

After that, what’s going on is pretty much anybody’s guess, as the flimsy dialogue competes with a relentless syntho-pop score. Mike Traceur (Justin Bruening, in a performance that makes one pine for David Hasselhoff like a German pop fan) is the Iraq war vet assigned to drive KITT (the voice of Val Kilmer, seemingly impersonating the Hal 9000 computer), paired with his ex-girlfriend Sarah (Deanna Russo).

The central duo stage secret missions with the help of an elite government team that mostly sits around watching them on monitors, uttering wisecracks and looking beautiful — taking orders from Sarah’s scientist dad (Bruce Davison), who developed KITT: and the boss (Yancey Arias), who gets to speak the perhaps never-before-uttered line, “Mike, you have to get his thumb back at all costs!”

Producer Gary Scott Thompson appears determined to introduce a bit of intrigue to the series by giving Mike a gaping blank spot in his memory, suggesting a possible conspiracy. There’s also an obvious goal to create will-they-or-won’t-they tension between Mike and Sarah, though after the busy but nonsensical premiere it’s doubtful either pursuit will gain much traction.

There’s a degree of underlying cynicism in the “Knight Rider” prototype — a dated concept that rolled off the assembly line largely because of its built-in product-integration opportunities.

NBC got lucky once, but even with marginal competition it’s hard to imagine there’s much left in the tank for this as a series — unless, perhaps, gas shoots back above $4 a gallon and people yearn for the cheap, vicarious thrill of watching somebody else waste fuel.

Knight Rider

NBC, Wed. Sept. 24, 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Gary Scott Thompson Prods. and Dutch Oven Prods. in association with Universal Media Studios. Executive producers, Gary Scott Thompson, Dave Bartis, Doug Liman, Matt Pyken, Glen A. Larson; co-executive producer, Rob Wright; supervising producers, Dave Andron, Sean Ryerson; director, David Solomon; writer, Thompson; based on the characters created by Larson;

Crew: Camera, Jamie Barber; production designer, Richard Toyon; music, Chris Tyng; casting, Cami Patton. Running time: 60 MIN.

Cast: Mike Traceur - Justin Bruening Sarah Graiman - Deanna Russo Carrie Ruvai - Sydney Tamila Poitier Billy Morgan - Paul Campbell Alex Torres - Yancey Arias Charles Graiman - Bruce Davison Zoe Chae - Smith Cho

More TV

  • Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor

    Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor Arrested for Plotting Sex With Minor

    Disney Channel has severed ties with “Andi Mack” actor Stoney Westmoreland following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old. “Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series ‘Andi Mack,’ was arrested in Salt Lake City today,” a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement Friday. “Given the nature of [...]

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    CBS Claims Commitment to Ending Harassment. Its Actions Say Otherwise (Column)

    At this point, a new breaking sexual harassment case at CBS isn’t exactly a surprise. Over and over again, powerful CBS company men from producers to executives to the ex-CEO himself have made headlines for propagating decades of harassment and abuse, with dozens of witnesses affirming that the pattern was business as usual. But as [...]

  • Willow ShieldsVariety Portrait Studio, Beautycon Festival

    'Hunger Games' Alum Willow Shields Joins Netflix Drama Series 'Spinning Out'

    Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in “Spinning Out,” the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker’s (Scodelario) [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content