Knight Rider Returns: It's A Smash
Knight Rider appears to be fast-tracked to a regular series slot after it attracted 12.70 million viewers to NBC Sunday night. The two-hour TV movie (described in the industry as a "back-door pilot") based on the '80s series smashed the competition, which included CBS's premiere of Showtime's Dexter, which averaged just 8.1 million viewers. Knight Rider did not perform as well with critics. Writing in today's (Tuesday) Los Angeles Times, Mary McNamara notes that time has not been kind to the series -- that cars actually do talk to their drivers these days. "As with Bionic Woman, technology has out-stripped what was once science fiction. For KITT to have resonance in today's world, the vehicle would have to be equipped for space travel or time travel, read minds or at least have nuclear capabilities. Instead, this car's big claim to fame is it can change colors. Whoopee." Several critics, including McNamara, belittle Val Kilmer's voice-over performance as KITT, the talking car. Matt Roush of TV Guide says that it "served to remind me how William Daniels' haughty line readings was the sole asset of the original series." Kevin Kelly, writing on the sci-fi website io9.com, writes that Kilmer's "monotonal" delivery "lacks all the charm and wit of William Daniels' snotty car voice." He suggests that there's little in the new Knight Rider for sci-fi fans and that if the show actually does become a series, "be sure to look for another weekly opportunity for us to bitch about it."