TEAM KNIGHT TV SERIES
Adapted from the Knight Rider franchise, by Rick Copp and David A. Goodman, Team Knight Rider was a television series that was broadcasted in 1997 and 1998. Glenn A. Larson, who created the original series was also an executive producer for the show. It was distributed by the NBC Universal Television Distribution. It aired for a total of 22 episodes, but was cancelled only after the first season in the face of lukewarm response from the audience.
Foundation for Law and Government, also known as FLAG, is a program of the Knight Industries. It is an organization that has been brought into existence to fight crime. FLAG is already a part of the original plot and Team Knight Riders picks up from there. The plot of the show follows from the original Knight Rider series where Michael Knight (played by David Hasselhoff) is the man of the hour. He and his super robot mobile, KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) are enough to fight crime. However, the man alone is now not enough to win over the villains and a new breed of heroes is ready to take over.
So, this time FLAG puts together a team of five, highly skilled operatives and their supercool vehicles to follow in the path of the Knight Rider. The team has taken over the task of fighting a new breed of criminals that are too smart to otherwise come under the radar of the law.
The team of five was an impressive collection of some of the best soldiers who are the best at what they do. The first member of the Team Knight Rider is Kyle Stewart (portrayed by Brixton Karnes) is a former member of the Central Intelligence Agency (or the CIA). He is also appointed as the leader of the newly formed Team Knight Rider. Christine Steel plays the role of the mysterious Jenny Andrews. She is not only an ex-Marine, but also a veteran of the Gulf War.
She is a particularly interesting member of the team. At a point in the series it was indicated that she might be the daughter of the original Knight Rider, Michael Knight. However, that question was never clearly answered in the series. May be it was in the offing in the later episodes, but the series never saw a second season.
Duane Davis portrays the role of the fiery Duke DePalma, who has not only served his time in the Chicago Police Department, but is also a professional boxer. Then, there is the necessary touch of the blue collar in the form of Erica West. Kathy Trageser plays the role of the outlaw who has been given a second chance. She is shown to have a rap sheet that comprises of theft and fraud. However, her skills are now being used to fight crime. Obviously there has to be a nerd and that space is filled by Nick Wechsler, who portrays the character of Kevin “Trek” Sanders. He is the brains of the team and is a good-looking genius. As for his name, it comes from his parents, who are nerds themselves and huge Star Trek fans too.
Then there are the gadgets, the five vehicles assigned to each of the team members. As the roles of the team have been divided, the vehicles are also designed to complement each member’s skills and objectives. However, they come with a similar artificial intelligence as their Knight Rider counterpart, KITT. Another typical characteristic of these vehicles is the fail-safe mechanisms that they possess. These mobiles have been deliberately made to have one glaring weakness. This is done to ensure control over the team members, in case any of them ditches the program, or if their intentions change. Therefore, they are designed to be inferior to KITT. They are not bulletproof, their body can get badly damaged in an explosion, and so on. Though, they have an impressive auto-repair system, if they happen to suffer severe damages, the vehicles need to be taken to the workshop.
The five vehicles are named Dante, Domino, Attack Beast, Kat, and Plato, which were driven by Kyle, Jenny, Duke, Erica and Trek respectively. All the vehicles have a personality of their own to the delight or annoyance of their owners and the other vehicles around.
Like its driver, Dante is the leader of the vehicles. How much control it has over the other members of its team is another question, but it speaks on behalf of all the vehicles. The SUV does have enough space to carry the entire Knight Riders team and also has the capabilities to become the mobile central command when the need arises. Domino has all the mannerisms of a girl and does have a flirtatious side to it. The incessant chatter, however, is not always endearing and does irritate its fellow vehicles. Duke’s vehicle, Attack Beast, does play the role of its master in the automobile world, by being the muscle of the team.
It may not be the best companion for Duke, since it hardly listens to him, but it is always there when Duke is in need. Surprisingly, the stubborn AI does have a soft corner for Jenny, whom the Beast listens to. Kat and Plato are twin bikes that have the capability to club and form a High Speed Pursuit Vehicle. Kat is a complete opposite personality to its driver, Erica. Plato, on the other hand, could not have mirrored Trek’s personality better, with all the data that it has to offer.
Team Knight Riders had its moments, but it was too ambitious. The sheer number of characters created a lot of confusion. The cast was good, and acted well, but there were just too many of them to do justice to all. There were five main characters and then their five talking vehicles. This made for a total of ten important characters. The limited screen time made it impossible to accommodate all and there were episodes where some characters just did not do anything at all. May be the vision of the producers was grand, but the execution only led to confusion.
While some episodes were original and fast-paced, others were just dull and got a little boring. They were filled with unnecessary dialogues and the run-of-the-mill dialogues took away from the quality of the show. This lack of consistency also cost the show in a big way.
Another big reason behind the show being unable to create buzz was the time at which it was aired. The show was never broadcasted at a prime slot and there was not much effort to promote it either. Given the content of the show, it can only be debated whether the show might have done better if it was given a better time window to be showcased in.