Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Knight Rider - Season One

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight
Edward Mulhare as Devon Miles
Patricia McPherson as Bonnie Barstow
William Daniels as K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand)

Special Features:
Commentary by actor David Hasseloff and creator Gary A. Larson on the pilot episode

All 22 episodes from the 1982-83 season

The TV movie sequel "Knight Rider 2000"

Knight Moves

Knight Sounds

Under the Hood

Stills gallery

Blueprints gallery

Owner manual

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby 2.0 Mono Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 19 Hours 45 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is the complete first season of "Knight Rider”. It aired on NBC from 1982-1983. There are 22 episodes included in this set.

When police detective Michael Long is shot and nearly killed by criminals in Las Vegas, he is rescued by a rich industrialist and given medical care. His face is reconstructed and he is given a new identity as Michael Knight. The industrialist wants Michael to be the lead investigator for a secret foundation that fights crime outside of the legal system. Michael is reluctant to agree, but he relents when the industrialist dies.

Michael is aided by Devon Miles, the assistant to the industrialist and the brains behind the operation. But more importantly Michael is given a high tech car to help him. The car is named K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand). It is bulletproof, filled with gadgets, and equipped with an artificial intelligence that guides Michael on his quests. Thus the hero and the talking car travel across the country helping fight evil wherever it may be.

Knight Rider is not rated.

The Movie:
In yet another blast from the 80's, the first season of Knight Rider arrives on DVD. I don't know who was in charge of programming TV shows back then, but this series was one of many aimed straight at preteen boys like myself. A-Team, Dukes Of Hazzard, B.J. and the Bear, Knight Rider, and others all had cool cars, roving crime fighters, and silly plots that seemed like Shakespeare to young impressionable children. It was no wonder this series was a hit. It was quite a treat to see it again (though I wouldn’t necessarily want to watch all 20 hours of it). I'm not sure I ever saw the 2 hour pilot, so it was cool to see how the series started. You didn't necessarily need to see it in order to follow things, but it helped.

The most noteworthy thing about the show was the car KITT. It was a cool Trans Am was a moving red light on the front that really caught your eye. Between the sassy attitude and the cool gadgets, it was instantly attractive to boys of all ages. (It still looks cool today.) The show also featured KITT in a number of impressive car stunts. You could always count on every episode featuring the car doing some amazing and impossible stunt. Whether it was jumping long distances, going over 200 mph, riding on two wheels, or whatever, the car did it. This all helped to make the car a television icon.

Knight Rider was also noteworthy because it helped kick off the career of David Hasseloff. He played Michael Knight with an appropriate mix of charm, macho, and humor to make the character appealing to everyone. He also had good chemistry with the car which certainly didn't hurt. He was supported by Edward Mulhare as Devon Miles. Mulhare brought a little bit of class to this otherwise preposterous concept. Patricia McPherson also played Bonnie Barstow, the hot car mechanic who I bet many young boys had a crush on. The subtle romance between Michael and Bonnie was one of the nice touches of the show.

Another notable thing from the series was the theme song. Who hasn't had "duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh" stuck in their mind after hearing it? It has ended up being one of the more memorable theme songs ever from a TV series. You even hear it in remixes today.

In all honesty, though, I think this DVD set is more for people who grew up with Knight Rider than anyone else. The show doesn't hold up well over time and some of the plots are so slow and plodding that you fast forward to get to the car chases. Only the sense of nostalgia makes it bearable.

The Extras:
There are a few bonus features included on this DVD set:

Commentary by actor David Hasselhoff and creator Gary A. Larson on the pilot episode – This is an interesting commentary to listen to. The two talk about the early days of the show, how they got the show started, anecdotes about filming, and more. If you're a fan of Knight Rider, you'll enjoy listening to them reminisce.

The TV movie sequel "Knight Rider 2000" – This 1991 film is included as a bonus feature on the DVD. Some years after the TV series in the year 2000, America has locked criminals in cryogenic prisons (Demolition Man, anyone?) and banned all handguns – even for the police. When a criminal shows up with an illegal handgun and shoots the head of a major corporation, the mayor calls in the Knight Foundation to act as independent investigators. Devin pulls Michael Knight out of retirement to fight crime once again. The only problem is that his old partner KITT had been dismantled for parts. Michael reassembles him into a classic 50's Cadillac and they begin their investigations. They team up with a former policewoman to chase the bad guys who happen to be crooked pro-gun cops. The movie (obviously filmed in and around San Antonio) is pretty bad. KITT isn't even seen in his classic form and when he does get an overhaul, the car isn't nearly as impressive as his old Trans Am version. And the ultra-PC, anti-gun theme of the movie is a little silly. Anyway, it was a weak sequel to the series, but it's nice to have here for the sake of completeness.

Knight Moves – Hasselhoff, Larson, and a few others involved with the show talk about how it was created, how Hasselhoff was cast, and other stuff. It's an interesting "making of" feature. This feature also discusses the car and the stunts done on the show. There are some funny stories here about how Hasselhoff and the stunt drivers used to impress kids with KITT.

Knight Sounds – This feature highlights the theme music from the show.

Under the Hood – This feature talks about the other cast members and their roles on the show.

Stills gallery – This is a video feature that shows stills from the show with music playing.

Blueprints gallery – Blueprints flash across the screen here while clips play. Don’t expect to be able to build your own KITT based on what you see here.

Owner manual – This feature shows a mockup of the control panel from KITT and some of the features of the car.

The Bottom Line:
Knight Rider is a fun trip down memory lane for the boys of the 80's. Other people might not "get it", so approach with caution.

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