Don't ask me how or why, but this weekend found me watching the new Knight Rider with my parents. In my defense, the television pickings are always slim at Castle Sri. My parents have stuck with the old console TV they bought in the late 80's, and they don't have cable. And yet, we probably would've been better off watching ABC, which is usually nothing but static, or Ion TV, which for some reason comes in loud and clear.
This nostalgic back-drop was not enough to make the Knight Rider remake palatable. The characters were one-dimensional stereotypes, the writing was terrible and the plot was merely an excuse for explosions to happen. Oh, and for women to wear bikinis.
Knight Rider: When my manly tattoo presses against the hood of my super-computer car, classified information on my shadowy past is revealed!
Bikini-clad Cohort: Look out, here come some bad guys!
Bad Guys: *menace menace menace*
KR: Woman, can't you see I'm busy?
BCC: I will be forced to make out with you on top of the car, thus concealing the classified information from sight!
KR: ... well, if you insist.
KITT: Michael, this is far from sanitary.
The special effects could have redeemed the show somewhat, but were ruined by sheer self-indulgence. Kit is hit by a missile, catches on fire, and races towards the secret base all ablaze. The team has to trap Kit in a vacuum-sealed chamber to smother the flames. Meanwhile the people inside the car try to stay cool by stripping down to their underwear, as if two layers of cloth would make a difference when you're suffocating.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh. When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. When all you have is an AI Mustang, every problem looks like a drag race. Somehow, I remember that the original Knight Rider made this premise work. It was a simpler time when a talking car was the stuff of outrageous science fiction. In the era of GPS systems and voice-activated controls Knight Rider has lost a lot of its "wow" factor. The new series has tried to replace this with a subplot in which the protagonist was a member of Special Forces Black Ops in Iraq and somehow lost his memory. It comes off as heavy-handed and unnecessary. No surprise here, but I do not brake for the new Knight Rider.