KNIGHT RIDER Review: Worst New Show of the Season

When NBC President Ben Silverman first announced the re-launch of the KNIGHT RIDER franchise, this TV Addict was more than prepared to cut him a little slack. I mean who can blame the neophyte Peacock President for wanting to generate a few splashy headlines, cash in on America’s seemingly never-ending love affair with 80’s nostalgia, not to mention, grab, what surely amounted to a huge pile of cash from Ford [Three cheers for vertical integration!].

That said, following the train-wreck, err… auto collision that was February’s two-hour movie [see review here], Ben Silverman is officially running on empty.

Last night’s season premiere of the re-tooled KNIGHT RIDER series was quite literally unwatchable. And believe me, this TV Addict tried. Twice! After only managing to get through twenty minutes of the pre-air premiere courtesy of iTunes, I made the unfortunate mistake to take a second shot last night thinking the show couldn’t possibly as bad as I was making it out to be.

Unfortunately, it was.

Not only does Justin Bruening have, as NJ TV Critic Alan Sepinwall so brilliantly put it, “all the screen presence of an IKEA nightstand.” The show itself is an incoherent mess of cheesy one-liners, ridiculously cheap looking special effects and a story so pointless it will have you wondering how much money Ford really ponied up to get this show on the air.

Hand down, the worst new series of the season and if the ‘Proverbial Powers that Be’ have any sense, the final nail in Ben Silverman’s coffin.

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  • Wow, I didn’t think it was that bad. I actually managed to watch the whole thing. I liked the retooling that was done from the movie and I thought they were taking the KITT concept in interesting directions.

    The story and plot were not mind benders by any means, but I actually liked it enough to watch at least one more episode. I may agree with you after that but the jury is still out. The show is definitely at the top of my “drop list” as I start to iron out my must watch shows of this season.

  • Linda B.

    Wow, tell us how you really feel.

    I Tivo’d it, but haven’t watched it (yet). It will probably be the last thing on my list after I catch up from tonight’s shows.

    As I said before in a previous post, I predict it will be the Bionic Woman of this season and be cancelled soon. Any idea how many episodes were filmed? I doubt they’ll make any more than have been currently produced. They’ll probably show all those and then cancel it.

  • luke

    I 100 percent agree. I was watching then New Adventures of Old Christine and when the show went to commercials I switched it to Knight Rider. The show literally had me laughing out loud at how bad it was. It’s still cracking me up just thinking about it. I hope it’s the first show to get cancelled.

  • Lee Ann

    I couldn’t get through more than 10 minutes of this waste of programming. If Bionic Woman didn’t teach NBC anything, this new re-tooled version should be the catalyst for them to realize that remaking shows just isn’t worth the time, money or effort. Besides, KR’s competition is Bones and Pushing Daisies. They (NBC and KR) are out of the league from the get-go. Put something else on as this will assuredly be the first new show to go.

  • blueberry

    Bionic Woman fans all over the world are thanking NBC for dethroning their show as “worst remake of an 80s classic” ever.

    In fact, KR might possibly be the worst show ever.

  • Daniel

    I agree with you, I expected an action packed T.V. show but for me is a “telenovela” trying to be a T.V. show.

  • I TiVo’ed the episode so I can watch all of it later, but I caught a few minutes of it live while I was waiting for Bush’s economy speech, and I can already tell it’s painful to watch.

    Kitt’s voice lacks any personality. His ability to transform is absurd. Kitt’s heads-up display feature is over-used. The characters are wooden. The writing is silly. The directing seemed weird. The green screening seems way too fake. The sets look…well, can’t put my finger on it, but they just don’t look good. The guy that played Billy on BSG is a new cast member who is given some of the worst material to work with. And, guest star Paula Garces didn’t even look as good as she does as Tina on The Shield (how can you make her not look hot?).

    Who knows, maybe in the context of the whole episode some of the issues with the show will make more sense, or maybe my opinion is tainted by the predominately negative previews. But, my expectations weren’t high at all in the first place, and my first impression doesn’t help. I will give the first episode a complete chance, but I don’t expect to be giving it a season pass.

  • Have you seen Do Not Disturb, Gary Unmarried, Worst Week, or did you get the screeners for Easy Money and Valentine. Knight Rider is definitely not the worst show of the new season.

  • Eight minutes was my limit. So so bad.

  • John K,

    While I have yet to see EASY MONEY or VALENTINE, KNIGHT RIDER was far more painful to sit through then DO NOT DISTURB, GARY UNMARRIED [which I kind of sort of liked!] and WORST WEEK.

  • Knight Rider boogles the mind with the stupidity of it and the actors and actresses. Take Knight Rider off the air NOW!!! That show is nothing but garbage, the acting s__ks, so do the immature actors, get a real job you dorks! And do people a favor STAY OFF TV!!!!!

  • Ryan

    I think you are all wrong I have watched almost the whole episode and I thought it was great.

  • Gabi

    I really hated it, so so bad. And the guy who plays Mike, he really has no personality. So boring. I actually managed to watch 10 minutes.

  • theo

    I 100% agree with you Daniel. I could not even sit through that two-hour movie that was on in the spring. And this was also horrible. The Acting, effects. etc. It was just all bad, and Iam not wasting my time wacthing another minute of it. garbage garbage garbage

  • Lol I saw this while browsing the web
    I think that it is a hilarious comparison. It about sums up how I feel about the show lol. I also do think that KITT with like a freaking sweet voice like lewis black would make me watch the show. I mean tell me that you would not watch lewis black as KITT

  • Nicholas

    I personally loved the Pilot…but last night’s episode was so horrible it made me want to gauge my eyes out with a hot curling iron. I’d rather spend a week straight flipping through the worst most eye-bleeding Myspace layouts than to watch Knight Rider again.

    I actually gave it a shot a few days ago though on Hulu. I got 20 minutes in and had to stop. The acting was detestable, and the special effects were laughable. Seriously, what ever happened to rendering? There was absolutely no storyline to speak of, at least none that I could think of. And that whole KITT on fire bit…what the f*** was that?!? What really annoyed me the most, since I have a keen eye for detail, was the amount of makeup they had piled on Justin Bruening’s face. He honestly looked like a clown. It was just too much to handle. Every time the camera was turned on him I had to laugh. It should not be that obvious that an actor is wearing makeup. But it was bad. Go look for yourself…if you can stomach it.

    I had been hopeful that Knight Rider would be good, specifically after the Pilot. Now I have joined the throngs who cannot wait to see this show burn.

  • Sarah

    As a true fan of the classic old Knight Rider, and also a dvd collector of every Knight Rider season, I was truly disappointed in the new Knight Rider. I watched it and thought it was too fake, leave transformers to transformers. It was completely over done and didn’t have any classic Knight Rider flare. Felt cartoonlike, fake, and transformer like! It’s too bad really because I was really looking forward to this new launch of Knight Rider, but now I won’t be staying tuned… why when I can’t even stay connected to the show after 20 minutes of viewing! Completely disappointed.

  • Mark

    I – honest to God – thought I was watching a straight up comedy. I gave it 20 minutes before I caved and switched channels permanently. I think it was after the whole “car is lit on fire, people have to strip because it’s so hot, de-oxygenize the car” bit.

  • Don

    Now really, I thought that last night’s show had many great qualities. First off, it made the back-door-pilot-movie look better!

    Remember that a core requirement to enjoy such shows it not only the suspension of disbelief, but also total amnesia about the laws of physics (or at least invent an inertial dampener so they aren’t dashboard paint after decelerating from 300 mph to 0 in 10 ft.

    There were many episodes of the original series as bad as this, especially in the beginning and near the end. I am willing to give it a couple more chances.

  • Ron

    I was so difficult to follow this show that i really thought it was my TV blanking in and out. The editing was done by a 11yr old, the script by a committee of wantabees and the acting was unbelievable. The car was travelling at 377mph on city streets!! Come on people!! Ford better pull out before Mustang sales come to a complete stop! Truly one of the worst shows I have ever watched and I seek out Godzilla movies on Saturday afternoons for laughs!!

  • ellipsis

    Anyone who found this show anything but the awful mess that is was should be added to some sort of ‘can not reproduce’ list the protection of our future society. You could not have made a worst show on purpose… weak premise after inept acting followed by pathetic CGI. Whoever made this show owes me 20 minuted of my life that I will never get back. Please quit (I can’t imagine you have not already been fired) and leave the industry all together.

  • The Real Thomas

    what amazes me is that there are a “TON” of good film students out there,

    and yet when the small percentages advance into the film industry going up,

    money trickles down around them to some bend over favorite,

    and whoala!

    crap gets created!

  • I’ve seen the whole episode now, and my opinion isn’t much better. The plot (if there was one), dialogue, and secondary characters were definitely atrocious, and the performances aren’t great either. And, transforming into a truck is Kitt’s most ludicrous new feature.

    The worst part is the overall look, feel, and tone of the show, everything from the directing to the sets & music. The special effects are actually pretty decent but also way overdone. The screen feels overflowing with flashiness.

    There’s just something that feels fake or trashy or absurd about the show as a whole. In fact, it’s kind of a shame that the episode shows tiny glimmers of potential. There are actually a few (emphasis on few) decent concepts embedded here, but the execution is all way off. An updated Knight Rider *could* work, but I fear that any potential will be drowned by the show’s general absurdity, which seems almost intentional.

  • Clairzilla

    I love the original and although the series has not screened in Australia yet… Only the movie, I have to say I tried to give it a go… I tried really, really hard!!! Won’t be trying again… Sorry Mr Larson, but I’ll stick to my DVDs.

  • JLG

    As someone who even in the 1980s (as a teenager) could not fathom the fascination with the original series, the mere fact that someone saw fit to resurrect beggared belief. But I thought “what the heck” and watched the new show, and have to say I am completely shocked that it was as unwatchable as it was. Total crap from start to finish.

  • carlo vaccari

    the show was ok, but a stupid F.O.R.D (FIX OR REPAIR DAILY) come on!!!! you guys should off had a FIREBIRD to keep it original.

  • Jackson

    Not sure what people are looking for with this show but I think it’s a significant improvement over the mediocre movie that played last Feb. My adolescent daughter loves it and I actually enjoy watching this with her as it brings back fond memories of the original for me (which by the way is almost unwatchable in this day and age). Don’t get me wrong, it has nothing on my top rated shows but it is nice to have a silly diversion to watch now and then. Especially if it helps bring back the silly kid dreams about a talking car you used to have.

  • KR

    Ok Firstly This show is nice I DON”T KNOW WHY YOU GOT EDAMN PEOPLE CAN ACCEPT A CHANGE KITT IS COOLER THAN THE OLD KITT And some people relate the Transformation to Transformers Firstly The Transformation is a CAR TO CAR not A ROBOT So You HAters So Called KR FANS Try accepting the show and stop Criticising the god damn Show you guys a SUch Mother f****** ACCEPT THE GOD DAMN SHOW assholes

  • Dave

    I can understand why people don’t like the new show, yet I can also understand why people do. At first I was not impressed with the movie in February at all, and all the changes I was saying to my friends that should be made, were made. I do agree that KITT transforming is way out there and too far from the original. I don’t mind attack mode, since it’s similar to Super Pursuit Mode in the original. I do like Val as the voice, however I agree he needs to still bring more emotion into the role. You just can’t beat William Daniels. I’m not a fan of KITT being a Mustang now, but it has grown on me. The idea and attempt is good, but I don’t see it lasting. I do watch it every week, but I won’t be surprised if it gets yanked. As an old fan I’m separating myself from the original because nothing can ever compare to it, and by doing that I’ve been able to enjoy it. I don’t mind them having a team to look after KITT, he is more advanced now and should have a team, however don’t always show them now. What happened to the “one man can make a difference”, and even Michael passed that onto Mike at the end of the pilot.

  • Luke

    I agree I agree. I have tuned in to the show whenever I happen to pass it during commercials and, well, . The script is pure cheese…”dude, we rock” The camera work makes absolutely no sense to me. I am especially offended by the horrible in-car shots. And Justin Bruening is horrrrilbe!!! I wouldn’t watch it if I was getting paid.

  • Tanion

    Anyone who actually thinks the new Knight Rider is better than the old needs to have their brain examined. As cheesy as the original was, the new one takes the cheese factor to a whole new level. As a fan of the original I had hopes for the new show. The pilot was actually better than the premier or subsequent episodes in my opinion. I will not be watching this one any more. Believe it or not The Bionic Woman was actually better.

    Characters = dumb beyond belief
    Acting = Horrible
    Sets = Horrendous
    Story = pathetic
    KITT = way overdone, too unrealistic, no personality

  • Dale Parson

    The car is more believable (because of modern technology) than the actors.
    Otherwise it is deja vu with a modern twist which is not enough to save it.

    The original was corny enough to be funny for the times, and far out enough to provide some fantasy. Now it is a show that takes itself too serious in the context of today’s technology, and too light for today’s sophisticated audiences.

    Convert it to an animated feature on Toons and it might survive a little longer, but I doubt it.

  • Daniel

    I actually like the Pilot film a lot, or at least I could see a lot of promise.
    But the actuall show was dreadful and cheesy (wtf is the attack mode all about with all the LEDs and stuff).

    BUT I think it may just be aimed at a yunger audience who will actually love it.

  • Knight Rider is the BEST SHOW EVER EXISTED, if you actually give the show a chance you would see how the plot is very well developed and has a point to it. Since i gave it a chance i saw the turn point of the show and it made me more and more interested than ever. I still can’t believe it is going off air since the episodes are getting more and more interesting,


  • mark

    new car is great , writers suck , dash needs work . i think the writers hate fords . had it break down alot , couldnt out run or catch anything . get new writers ……

  • Johnny Hughes

    out here in the UK, we are only soemthing like 6 episodes in. Truth be told, I hated it the first time i saw the pilot. But caught bits of the show every now and again and yes, the actors are wooden, and yes, KITT transforming is NUTS ubt c’mon what do you expect?? The West Wing??? it is what it is…. daft escapism. Surely anyone who expected anything else is taking themselves (and both old and new shows) way too seriously!!! (plus Airwolf was way better than than the old show).