Knight Rider made its return to primetime television on NBC last night, and the reviews have been flooding in. Predictably, the majority of them have not been favourable, criticising the young cast (especially Justin Bruening and Deanna Russo), Gary Scott Thompson’s script and the action sequences.
Ain’t It Cool News have declared the show “the Fall’s worst new scripted hourlong so far” and rounded up several bad reviews from the press. UK site Den of Geek describe the show as “moronic”, and are staggered that “they’ve been able to nimbly limbo under the incredibly low bar that the pilot set… I was frankly shocked how much of a clunker a script they cobbled together for this show. It makes some of this years other new shows seem like they’ve been written by channeling Ernest Hemingway. I’ll go as far to say that this is actually worse than a really bad Hoff-era episode, and that’s saying something.”
BuddyTV.com have a more positive, and realistic outlook: “TV critics seem determined to mock its cheesiness, implausibility and general lack of coherence. The frustrating thing is that those critics don’t seem to understand the context in which Knight Rider should be viewed. To compare the series to other serious dramas is a mistake. One cannot review Knight Rider using the same criteria one uses when reviewing Mad Men or Lost. Is Knight Rider cheesy? Of course it is, but why should that surprise anyone? This is a show about a talking car that solves crimes.” They suggest that “a more accurate review would judge Knight Rider on the basis of what it’s trying to accomplish. The show has no delusions that it will win an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series or top the critics’ “best of” lists at the end of the year. Knight Rider is about fun. It’s a show with sexy stars in ridiculously dire circumstances getting into fast car chases. On that basis, Knight Rider is a rousing success.”
SyFyPortal call the show “television’s most promising series of the year.” Writer Michael Hinman goes on to say, “there was just enough in this first episode of Knight Rider to get me wanting to come back for more. I am not sure exactly what more I can expect… I think I’m not quite ready to give up on Knight Rider just yet.”
As the screenwriter William Goldman once said, “Nobody knows anything” — it’s how the audience responds that counts. We’ll know soon how many tuned in to see the premiere, and in a few weeks we’ll know how well the show retains its audience. In the meantime, here’s what David Hasselhoff had to say about the reaction to the Original Series: “You know, I read all this stuff and said, ‘Hey, we got bad reviews. That means we’re gonna be a hit.’ I don’t know why, but it seems to be a formula every time.”