Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why I Won't Be Watching Knight Rider

I watched the new Knight Rider the other night. I suppose it was the pilot. Pilots are notoriously bad, but this show has some major problems that will keep me from watching it again.

The original Knight Rider was a classic Superhero story with KITT as Michael Knight’s sidekick as well as his source of strength. Episode after episode, we knew what to expect; Michael and KITT would swoop in and help the underdog. Then Michael would have to leave because the life of a Superhero is a lonely life.

The new Knight Rider has an updated KITT, which can transform in to any FORD product. The special effects are better, but the writing is terrible. Instead of being one man against the evil in the world, the new show appears to be a large company against the evil in the world and part of that evil is in the company. More realistic, perhaps, but who wants to see that? We want to believe that we could be Michael Knight with a fancy car and we could right the wrongs that we see around us.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the recurring female character has gotten an update as well. In the original, the female character was the mechanic who could upgrade KITT with anything he would need during the show. Most of the time, she appeared only in the B Story. In the new Knight Rider, this character has a different role. Her role is to be nothing more than eye candy. Women across America should be offended by this, but sadly they are not. In the episode I watched, this female character is in the passenger seat and KITT is hit by a weapon is a variation on napalm. The burning substance sticks to the car and the interior is getting too hot. What is the woman’s solution to the problem? Instead of trying tell KITT what to do, this woman decides that now is the proper time to take off her clothes. Why can’t television shows portray women as intelligent people instead of as nothing more than an object to look at?

That is reason enough for me not to watch the show, but the napalm weapon is a major problem. When writing about a Superhero, it is best to give the audience the impression that the Superhero is far above ordinary men. For KITT to have already faced a weapon that he could not handle and a car he could not catch is a disaster. KITT should have the technology to handle any weapon and should be able to blow past any car. He might find an equal that uses the same technology, but that is all. The true challenges should rarely be direct confrontations because the villains know they can’t best the Superhero. Villains must try to outsmart the Superhero, or take him in some way that prevents him from using his strength. The Superhero must then find a way to adapt and handle the problem.

I wanted Knight Rider to be a good show. The premise has such promise, but the creators have taken the heart out of the show and all that is left is a show that is like the original in name only. Unless they correct these problems, I will not be watching.