October 25, 2016

Knight Rider Gets The Reboot Treatment Again: What They Need To Get Right!

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Written by: Lee Skavydis
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It was announced earlier today that the classic 1982 television show, Knight Rider is getting the reboot treatment once again.

Production details are sketchy at the moment but Justin Lin, producer of Fast&Furious will be taking on the new show that is said to be shown on digital by network Machinima and is slated for a 2017 release. A movie is also apparently in the works that is looking to go down the comedy route.

The original show which starred a 30-something David Hasselhoff ran from 1982-1986 in the US and already has a string of reboots since, all of which failed to successfully gain a following resulting in early cancellations. The show’s last reboot was in 2008 after a successful pilot episode was shown on NBC. A series followed but ratings were not high enough for the show to drive past a first season. That incarnation also had a producer from the Fast and the Furious series of films, which is a cause for concern.

David Hasselhoff seen here making a cameo in the pilot episode for the 2008 reboot.

Although it takes more than one person to create a successful television show, the 2008 series contained a version of the super car, K.I.T.T that visually looked as if it came from one of the Vin Diesel movies. Both the theme of Knight Rider and the type of technology that is used for it’s narrative are world’s apart from the films that showcase car racing. Using elements from those movies for Knight Rider once again would probably be a mistake. Knight Rider is it’s own entity and should be treated as such.

The three unit team with “K.I.T.T.” from the 4th season of the original Knight Rider show.

Although the car was the star of the show(s), the chemistry between the AI of K.I.T.T and all of it’s human companions is an integral part of making sure things go right. That is one of the things that the last reboot actually got correctly! Unfortunately, that did not extend to the rest of the crime fighting human team. Knight Rider 2008 made the mistake of having the fictional Knight Foundation being made up of many relevant staff members rather than a small unit. Short and simple is key here.

It seems that the filmmakers were clueless eight years ago when they only introduced the fan favourite “turbo boost” for the reboot that year, which was absent in the pilot episode. The feature which allowed the car to jump over things such as other cars and through buildings was what many of us were always anticipating every Saturday here in the UK when a new episode aired three decades ago. The colour change feature which allowed the Mustang vehicle from the 2008 series to change colour had a mixed reception, as did the one which made the car transform from one vehicle shape to another. Transformers was clearly that show’s inspiration, but blatantly reminding it’s viewers of another program was probably not the best way to go.

The ‘turbo boost’ that captivated 1980’s audiences.

Although the show, that starred Justin Bruening as the son of the original Michael Knight, was enjoyable enough a clear lack of original ideas for each of it’s chronicles each week was evident. Ideas were clearly borrowed from films such as Speed, The Terminator and even the television show The Incredible Hulk starring Lou Ferrigno! Despite trying to find it’s footing, Knight Rider 2008 just kept slipping further away from what it could and should have been. The plots need to be grounded in our reality, although a few liberties here and there can be taken without going too far. The trick is knowing how far one can go.

Of course things have to change. Afterall, it has been 30 years now since the original show ran it’s course. But although certain modifications have to be made to fit the current generation the core structure should not be amended, and much of the style of the original show should be recreated as much as possible. Obviously without the famous Hoff wavy hair do! Making something new while doing something to keep the old fan base pleased should be kept in mind, otherwise Knight Rider will be looking at another failed reboot and people will wonder how they keep getting it wrong.

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis
I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.



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