Category Archives: knight rider

NBC’s Kath and Kim – A Sneak Peek

One of the things that differentiates Universal Studios in Orlando from Walt Disney World is the extraordinary number of folks wanting “just a moment” of one’s time to take a survey, watch a timeshare demonstration or just generally waste one’s time. Sometimes, just sometimes, these things are worth it.

I was grabbed on this most recent trip to Universal to watch a new television program and give my opinion on it. Heh, heh, they don’t know me very well. I had to assure them that I did not work for the media – you know, television, movies, newspapers, etc. I took note that they did not mention any form of online media, especially blogging. Like I said, they don’t know me very well.

It was the kind of thing where, just like on “The Simpsons,” you push a green button when you like what you’re seeing and a red button when you don’t like it. There was also a ‘tune out button’ to push when you reach the point where you would normally change the channel as if you’d had enough or became too bored. The program I watched was the yet-to-be-aired second episode of “Kath and Kim,” the new Molly Shannon sitcom vehicle on NBC. I hit that ‘tune out button’ before the title sequence (which I might add, at only a few seconds was one of the few things about the shows I liked).

Surprisingly this is an American version of one of Australia’s most popular sitcoms. Now, either Australian television viewers have shockingly lower IQs than Americans, or NBC butchered this adaptation. Judging from the few Aussies I know, I would have to go for the second option. Way to go, NBC, now when are you bringing back “Manimal” and “Supertrain?”

The three leads – Shannon, Selma Blair (who is shockingly bad), and John Michael Higgins (do not watch him jog…) – are at best uninteresting and at worst annoying and nerve-grating. I hated this. Shannon has a daughter and is about to marry again. The whole episode virtually revolves around two premises. One is the constant repetitive joke that Shannon’s character is old, and every bad joke and cliché you can think of is thrown into the mix, and none of it is funny. The second plot (and I shudder to even use the word in this circumstance) involves the concept of misunderstanding, a simple-minded one that is as old as sitcom television itself. Woman sees man with other woman and assumes the worst. Come on, this was ancient when “I Love Lucy” and “The Honeymooners” did it.

There are elements that are fun, but the problem is they are only background details. I liked some of the hip hop music inserted in places and the drag queens at the end were interesting characters – why not make the show about them? I hated her character, but there was no denying the charisma and presence of the unnamed actress who played Angel. She showed promise. Where’s her sitcom? Unfortunately she was barely in the thing, and the rest of the show was unfixable in my opinion.

I guess I picked the wrong day to do this survey. The next one was on the new “Knight Rider” which was being thoroughly hyped by the survey folks and had changes noted that, to me at least, did not sound promising. Val Kilmer as KITT? I had heard that a previous survey was about “My Own Worst Enemy,” Christian Slater’s take on the Jekyll/Hyde concept had received high marks. I would have liked to have seen that. As for “Kath and Kim,” avoid it at all costs when it premieres October 9th.

Speed Thrills

Speed Racer ~ Forget the Matrix films, and even forget Bound, this –at least so far- is the crowning achievement of the Wachowski brothers.

Folks have said that it’s too bright, too busy and too fast to watch and that it causes headaches, but my advice is to get used to it. But if memory serves, those are the same complaints made to Toni Basil about her “Mickey” music video waaay back in 1982, and so she toned it down. Now, not only are fast cuts commonplace but that particular video is considered extremely tame. Media will change, and the audiences will get acclimated. With Speed Racer, the Wachowskis have come very close to creating a completely new style of film. Twenty years from now, they will be praised as visionaries. I would bet on it. This is an experience rather than a film.

Speed Racer is busy, and I’m sure multiple viewings will be required to catch every nuance. For this reason I predict its box office as well as DVD rentals and sales will be huge. There are superior performances from Matthew Fox, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci and Rain, and especially all the cars, real CGI or green screen. If I were pressed to find something wrong with the flick I would say at times the Wachowskis make the same mistake NBC made with “Knight Rider.” When in doubt, always remember, the car is the star.

Speed Racer is an incredible film. As a kid who grew up watching the original “Speed Racer” cartoon, and then, like all my friends, replaying out what I’d seen with my Hot Wheels and Matchboxes, this is a dream come true. See it, see it twice, and as they say in lacrosse – you’ll pay for the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge.

Making Cool Cooler


Writers strike or not, there’s a new show coming to NBC in February. Well, maybe not a show yet, but a telemovie pilot destined for series-hood, and it’s also not that new either. Sunday, February 17, 2008, “Knight Rider” returns to television.

The good news is that this is not a horrific re-imagining like NBC’s recent shots at “The Bionic Woman” and “Battlestar Galactica” – this is an update and a sequel to the successful 1980s action/scifi series that launched David Hasselhoff’s career. The Hoff even makes an appearance in the pilot as his character Michael Knight.

While some will say Hasselhoff was the star of “Knight Rider,” those of us who know better will tell you it was really the KITT-2000, the supercar of which the Hoff was only the driver. KITT’s voice was done by the silky and sarcastic William Daniels and had a cool Cylon eye in its Pontiac Trans Am hood. Among other things, KITT could drive itself and was a certified artificial intelligence – the epitome of 1980s TV cool.

But it’s not the 1980s anymore, so how do you make cool cooler? The new KITT-3000 is a Ford Mustang with an artificial intelligence that has cult favorite Will Arnett’s voice and nanotech abilities. Yep, that’s right, this is one badass car o’ the future – not only can it repair itself, it can change shape and color at will. Can’t wait for Feb.

As for a story, it sounds pretty typical, but storytelling was never the forte on this show, the car was. It’s obviously a sequel to the original series, but let’s just hope they ignore previous attempts like “2000,” “2010” and *groan* “Team Knight Rider.”