Knight Rider (The Complete Series) – Blu-Ray/DVD Review
You know the theme song. You know ‘da Hoff. You know the car.
Do you know the series?
Most, will not clearly remember the popular 80’s series created and produced by Glenn A. Larson (Battlestar Galactica). Thanks to Mill Creek their affordable Blu-Ray/DVD Release of Knight Rider it’s a perfect time to reacquaint yourself with the series. The box set entails all 90 episodes of the 4 seasons of the action sci-fi TV series.
The premise is all 80’s goodness. A billionaire named Wilton Knight, save a cop, changes his identity and makes him the First (and only) Agent of FLAG aka Foundation for Law and Government. Armed with his wits (which he’s no MacGuyver) and a sentient car named K.I,T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand), newly minted Michael Knight goes around basically taking names and kick some serious tail pipe for said 90 episodes.
Larson loved mashing social issues with science fiction (the original BSG had social context, though not as complex as the BSG remake), here is no different. There’s a sense of 80’s Reagan-era justice going on that’s antiquated but quite fun. There’s something heartfelt about the entire series (including the last season which is questionable in quality) that is endearing. Much like The A-Team this is a show though cheesy in sections is still quality entertainment.
Part of the reason the whole enterprise works is because of David Hasselhoff. Many want to make jokes about Sharknado and other lesser quality pictures he’s been involved with. That should not be applied to Knight Rider. Here it is Hasselhoff and he alone that makes you believe that K.I.T.T. is an actual sentient car that is essentially his partner. Much in the way that Mark Hamill may never get credit for his part in making us believe Yoda was real in Empire Strikes Back, Hasselhoff may never get the credit he’s due.
The cast is good as an ensemble though season 1 is littered with Hasselhoff’s hitting on Patricia McPherson playing Dr. Bonnie Barstow which isn’t cute or fun the way that Moonlighting’s back and forth banter was during the same era. Thought she wasn’t there for season 2, she did come back in season 3. The annoyance of that “80’s guy hitting on women”-troupe was not as present much to the benefit to all. The interplay and dynamics of the team (which is something I had forgotten) is key to the film’s success in season 2-4. Many will only remember The Hoff and the car but there is some genuinely good supporting work done by Edward Mulhare as Nick Fury… I mean Devon Miles Agent of FLAG and Williams Daniels as the voice of K.I.T.T.
The series manages to continue its quality through the first three seasons but the last season is definitely questionable. Season 2 is the golden season, opening with the Legendary Goliath Part 1 and Part 2. That season opener is the most striking memory I have from the series. Seeing KITT go against Goliath and the outcome of the first part was a thing of nightmare for a seven year old that loved this show as much as he loved anything else. From the opening moments of season 2 to its season finale it’s a winner. Most of my memories are from the second season of the show. The series as a whole is greater than maybe anyone remembers. Larson didn’t meet a high concept he didn’t love and push towards something more and Knight Rider is no different.
The transfers on the disc are pretty good. Some definite care and time went into transferring these to home video for upped resolution. Shot on 35mm they also kept the show in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with bars vertically rather than filling the screen or vertically. The set comes with no special features, it’s just the series.
All in all this set is well worthy of your time especially if you’re a Knight Rider fan.