Cars as characters: why NBC might get it right this time

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Cars as characters: why NBC might get it right this time

Post by Michael Pajaro » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:00 am

One of the unique things about Knight Rider that distinguishes it from the other hi-tech vehicle shows is that KITT is specifically an individual character. He can act independently of Michael. He might race to rescue Michael, or go off on his own to create a diversion, or chase after an escaping bad guy.

Surprisingly, in all of the other Knight Rider incarnations, we rarely see the vehicles driving themselves. KIFT drove himself about 100 feet in a parking lot at the very end of Knight Rider 2000. Knight Rider 2010 was more interested in Hannah wandering around cyberspace. I can think of one scene each of Dante and Domino driving themselves in TKR, and they weren't done very well. All of these vehicles are mostly treated like tools for their drivers, rather than unique characters.

NBC built a remote-control KITT for their new movie. I can't imagine they would go to all that trouble for one quick shot of KITT driving himself. It strongly suggests that we'll be seeing KITT do quite a few things on his own. That is SO important for us to believe that KITT is a free-thinking individual, and it's something we have rarely seen since the original series.

It's a small detail, but an important one.

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Post by young-nyc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:33 am

sure i agree with what you're saying,
everyone had feelings/ reactions to kitt especially during season finale's when he was injured/ damaged..he was just like another character.

but where NBC messed up is they picked the wrong car to do it in...

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Post by Knight Rider Archive » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:05 am

I was amazed that NBC actually took the step of building the remote-controlled K.I.T.T.! I fully expected the hidden-driver-in-the-seat mechanisms that the other shows had used, especially since that process has become so refined now. (I dare say some shots will use that technique where the remote-K.I.T.T. isn't suitable.) So, yes, the "illusion" of K.I.T.T. being "real" is a step closer... we just have to hope that Will Arnett fulfils his end of the bargain and makes us believe in the personality.

Sure, the network have produced special custom vehicles for the other Knight Rider projects in the past (The Knight 4000, McQueen's "Knight Rider Car" in Knight Rider 2010), but the scale of this suggests to me that they fully intend for this to go to series.

but where NBC messed up is they picked the wrong car to do it in...


As soon as this project was announced, I got the feeling that this K.I.T.T. would be a "muscle" car. That's just the times we live in. This K.I.T.T. is going to be facing different challenges to the Knight 2000, so I think we need to be objective about it. It's not the Trans Am, inside or out, but I have high hopes that the movie will deliver.

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Post by young-nyc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:17 am

well i agree, i really do,
and changing times probably asks for a different car...for example look at the new batmobile with bale, that's a tank if anything nothing remotely similiar to the highspeed sleek batmobiles we're used to, but it works. and it works because batmobile wasn't a sports car it was a SUV a completely different vehicle all together. and it wasn't trying to be.

now the mustang is a muscle car,
but tell me what is the difference between a mustang and well let's say the corvette (which i believe is more KITT than anything else)?
well function wise nothing. both 2 door automobiles with high HP. whatever the mustang can do i'm sure the corvette can do as well if not better. i just don't see the reason for the mustang except that it's a very common car, but wait..so is the corvette...hmmm

whatever the case is...mustang was a poor choice..
but is this going to stop me from watching the show? probably not.
if it takes off, maybe KITT can be destroyed and re-vamped as a slick vehicle for season 2? hehe

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Post by Knight Rider Archive » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:32 am

Take a look at the first season on the original series... there were constant modifications both to the car itself and what the car could do: Oxygen Vent, Grappling Hook, Microwave Jammer, the flashing voice modulator to the 3-bar LED voice modulator... and so on.

I don't think the new Knight Rider will be any different. Think of the car as a work in progress. Who knows what will happen if it goes to series, or what it will look like a year from now.

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Post by young-nyc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:41 am

well the problem is,
it's still a mustang regardless of what they do to it.

the trans am, although modified from episode to episode, was still a sexy trans am.

i'm still hoping kitt gets destroyed and gets revamped as a sexy car.. :)

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Post by Solid Snake » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:43 am

I still think saying that a new KR should be a TA by default is a bit short visioned, I said it in different threads already, if this car was supposed to house the original CPU I agree that the car should be along the lines of the TA, but as this car is a totally new design with a new personality and a new CPU I really don`t see why it can not be a different car altogether... I for one love the fact that they were willing to take a chance and not go a safe route like The Dukes of Hazzard using the same car... or Starsky and Hutch and screwing up the script instead... I think its kick ass (pardon my French) that KI is keeping up with modern times. To clarify my point a bit more... the 82 TA and the 82 Corvette were very similar styling wise... why did Glen pick the TA over the Corvette back then? ... and lets not forget the TA was also JUST a pony car, just as much as the Stang. Let´s just wait and see some actual action footage of the car (I am sure it will work in motion), then judge.

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Post by Mango19 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:08 am

First all all, you can forget GM. GM is totally vested in Transformers (and Michael Bay would get first crack at all the cool stuff anyway). All this talk about TAs and Camaros is just a fantasy. Not gonna happen, gotta move on.

So, if you want KITT to be an American car, you're left with Ford or Dodge. Pick one.

Then count on one hand the number of cars that fit the bill. Or one finger of one hand, actually.

Secondly, isn't it a fact that GM wasn't very supportive of the first series, anyway? Didn't they demand the car be stripped of all the logos and was never, ever to be refered to as a Pontiac or Trans Am? Nostalgia aside, I'm a little surprised some of you want to give GM another crack at the franchise when they clearly didn't care about it the first time around.

Say what you will, but at least Ford seems to be into it. Hell, their rep is even announcing that you'll be able by a version of the car in showrooms. Pretty big difference from the way Pontiac treated KITT.

I think you'd want to be working with a car company that's enthusiastic about the project and willing to showcase it. And if you think the new series disrespects the original, remember how GM treated the original, too.

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Post by young-nyc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:24 pm

yes i do remember hearing that pontiac didn't want KITT to be referred as a Trans Am because so many people came into the showrooms asking for one...
It was GM's mistake not to have a good marketing team in place to sell their T/A's back then

I'm sure GM was probably kicking themselves for not being able to grab a bigger piece of the pie when KR was popular too.

GM made a mistake, and look at them now, almost every commericial is associated with the Transformers movie...haha

anyways...Mustang wasn't the right choice for KITT...
oh wells, got to move on...

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Post by goldbug » Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:44 pm

I'm not bashing opinions or anything (not my style), but I need to ask - why is the Mustang wrong for KITT? This isn't the Two Thousand in a new shell a la KIFT, this is the Three Thousand with a new body, a new AI, new voice, new driver etc. I don't understand why everything must be a clone of what came before. If that was so, then we'd never see anything change.

Plus, this is the third time a KR car has been a Mustang, so it's hardly a breakthrough idea. I'm also in that minority of fans that likes the Mustang a lot. It is a tough looking car with classic lines and a modern sensibility. And in our post-"Fast and the Furious" age where popular movies and video games both feature muscle cars, this choice is hardly surprising.
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Re: Cars as characters: why NBC might get it right this time

Post by Mango19 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:05 pm

Michael Pajaro wrote:One of the unique things about Knight Rider that distinguishes it from the other hi-tech vehicle shows is that KITT is specifically an individual character. He can act independently of Michael. He might race to rescue Michael, or go off on his own to create a diversion, or chase after an escaping bad guy.

Surprisingly, in all of the other Knight Rider incarnations, we rarely see the vehicles driving themselves. KIFT drove himself about 100 feet in a parking lot at the very end of Knight Rider 2000. Knight Rider 2010 was more interested in Hannah wandering around cyberspace. I can think of one scene each of Dante and Domino driving themselves in TKR, and they weren't done very well. All of these vehicles are mostly treated like tools for their drivers, rather than unique characters.

NBC built a remote-control KITT for their new movie. I can't imagine they would go to all that trouble for one quick shot of KITT driving himself. It strongly suggests that we'll be seeing KITT do quite a few things on his own. That is SO important for us to believe that KITT is a free-thinking individual, and it's something we have rarely seen since the original series.

It's a small detail, but an important one.


Michael has a good point. From what I understand, KITT doesn't even have a driver for the first half of the pilot.

This could also be why the windows aren't tinted dark all the time. Apparently the actors' expressions as the driverless KITT dodges semis at 90 mph is priceless.

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Post by young-nyc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:16 pm

goldbug,
i believe the mustang wasn't the right choice because to me KITT is a car that is sleek and sexy. Mustang doesn't embody that. not to me at least. It's not to say the mustang is a bad car, i actually like this mustang best out of all the other generations. But to me and i believe to many fans out there, it's hard to see KITT in this form. We are not used to it. It's a bold bold change. If you're a car person, you would know that changes in design happen every 4-6 years. now BMW for example was conservative company. every car model that was released, was pretty similiar or had some kind of design connection. Finally when the new 7 series and the 5 series came out..it was pretty gawd awful, well at least to many BMW enthusiasts (it is an opinion, because others believe it's a great looking automobile). Sales were pretty bad, and i believe BMW lost a lot of their loyal customers, i being one of them. The 3 series bmw was released. What do they do? they try to make the car similiar to what it's predecessors looked like. because they knew the new changes didn't work out too well. Same goes with porsche. The 997 was a good car, many many people complained and now the current 911 actually seems to have moved back a step and have made it look more similiar to the original 911 now.
Change is good, but i don't believe people, fans are ready for TOO much of a change.

so there for KITT being a mustang is a big change, it's like making him into a SUV :)

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Post by MJknight » Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:32 pm

In case some of you don't know; GM is obviously supportive of this as GM is the parent company of Ford.

They've got Pontiac, Chevrolet and Ford and Vauxhall if I'm not mistaken.
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Post by Solid Snake » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:03 pm

MJknight wrote:In case some of you don't know; GM is obviously supportive of this as GM is the parent company of Ford.

They've got Pontiac, Chevrolet and Ford and Vauxhall if I'm not mistaken.


Ford is NOT part of GM never was never will be, Ford is the nr.2 in the US car industry owning: Mazda, Volvo, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, Land Rover and a small stake in Aston Martin.

GM currently has: Pontiac, GMC, Chevrolet, Saturn, Cadilac, Buick, Opel, Vauxhall, Holden and Saab.

I agree with my whole heart, that this NEW Knight 3000 can be a new car (in this case a Mustang) which does look sexy to me... but here is the real cool thing about the world we live in... everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Also about the car being available commercially... the car which will go onsale is the Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR (stands for King Road, though I think we might see versions popping up being marketed as Knight Rider), that is the STOCK KITT. The attack KITT is not confirmed to go onsale, not yet anyway.

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Post by Valleyboy » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:29 pm

Gm is Ford's parent company?? and by parent company, I assume you mean direct rival and mortal enemy?

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Post by JJSoCrazy » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:46 pm

Solid Snake wrote:
MJknight wrote:In case some of you don't know; GM is obviously supportive of this as GM is the parent company of Ford.

They've got Pontiac, Chevrolet and Ford and Vauxhall if I'm not mistaken.


Ford is NOT part of GM never was never will be, Ford is the nr.2 in the US car industry owning: Mazda, Volvo, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, Land Rover and a small stake in Aston Martin.

GM currently has: Pontiac, GMC, Chevrolet, Saturn, Cadilac, Buick, Opel, Vauxhall, Holden and Saab.

I agree with my whole heart, that this NEW Knight 3000 can be a new car (in this case a Mustang) which does look sexy to me... but here is the real cool thing about the world we live in... everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Also about the car being available commercially... the car which will go onsale is the Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR (stands for King Road, though I think we might see versions popping up being marketed as Knight Rider), that is the STOCK KITT. The attack KITT is not confirmed to go onsale, not yet anyway.


GM is actually number 2 in the auto industry and will soon be number 1 again.

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Post by gold333 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:01 pm

This is just an open question but when did KITT start becoming cool to you?

If I start telling people my car can talk, and has a personality and tells jokes, that just sounds childish.

If you think about it, a talking, joking car is actually a concept for preteen children, like Pixar's Lightning McQueen.

What made KITT cool for me was the technology that made it believable.

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Post by young-nyc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:18 pm

definitely KITT was cool for it's gadetry/ electronics.
It's one of the main reasons i love hooking my car up with technology. =)

oh btw..ford sold aston martin..
and yes everyone is entitled to their own opinions..that's why we live in the free world =P
well since KITT isn't the old two thousand model and consists of a whole new cast...even the voice not being william daniels...i could sorta live with KITT being a mustang..not too happy, but can live with it.
but my 2 cents..Mustang isn't the right car...;-)

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Re: Cars as characters: why NBC might get it right this time

Post by Toni Nummela » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:27 am

Michael Pajaro wrote:NBC built a remote-control KITT for their new movie. I can't imagine they would go to all that trouble for one quick shot of KITT driving himself.


Just thinking. Would I act with a car that is remote controlled?

That sounds like something dangerous when I've read how hard it was to get remote controlled R2-D2 to co-operate in Star Wars. Maybe RC isn't nowadays what it used to be.

Hopefully there will be no injuries.

But back on topic: I agree with you Mike on this car as a character aspect.

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Post by Solid Snake » Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:03 am

I was talking about the American car manufacturers not including the ones from abroad.

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Post by Solid Snake » Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:08 am

young-nyc wrote:definitely KITT was cool for it's gadetry/ electronics.
It's one of the main reasons i love hooking my car up with technology. =)

oh btw..ford sold aston martin..
and yes everyone is entitled to their own opinions..that's why we live in the free world =P
well since KITT isn't the old two thousand model and consists of a whole new cast...even the voice not being william daniels...i could sorta live with KITT being a mustang..not too happy, but can live with it.
but my 2 cents..Mustang isn't the right car...;-)


Ford still owns 10% of Aston Martin shares, but that´s irrelevant here...
I am glad that you see what I mean when I say that its a logical choice to pick a new car for a totally different KITT, I think though naming the car KITT again only adds to the confusion a bit as this new KITT is not the old KITT it is a new character... thus new voice and car... looking back at my comment I am affraid I added to the confusion even more :lol: Kidding.

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Post by MJknight » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:24 pm

Solid Snake wrote:
MJknight wrote:In case some of you don't know; GM is obviously supportive of this as GM is the parent company of Ford.

They've got Pontiac, Chevrolet and Ford and Vauxhall if I'm not mistaken.


Ford is NOT part of GM never was never will be, Ford is the nr.2 in the US car industry owning: Mazda, Volvo, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, Land Rover and a small stake in Aston Martin.

GM currently has: Pontiac, GMC, Chevrolet, Saturn, Cadilac, Buick, Opel, Vauxhall, Holden and Saab.

I agree with my whole heart, that this NEW Knight 3000 can be a new car (in this case a Mustang) which does look sexy to me... but here is the real cool thing about the world we live in... everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Also about the car being available commercially... the car which will go onsale is the Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR (stands for King Road, though I think we might see versions popping up being marketed as Knight Rider), that is the STOCK KITT. The attack KITT is not confirmed to go onsale, not yet anyway.


I stand corrected, Solid Snake. Just looked it up on Wiki. Mind you, I could've sworn that GM owned Ford, I mean, they own everyone else.
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Re: Cars as characters: why NBC might get it right this time

Post by gold333 » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:36 pm

Toni Nummela wrote:
Michael Pajaro wrote:NBC built a remote-control KITT for their new movie. I can't imagine they would go to all that trouble for one quick shot of KITT driving himself.


Just thinking. Would I act with a car that is remote controlled?

That sounds like something dangerous when I've read how hard it was to get remote controlled R2-D2 to co-operate in Star Wars. Maybe RC isn't nowadays what it used to be.

Hopefully there will be no injuries.

But back on topic: I agree with you Mike on this car as a character aspect.


Making a car R/C is actually easy. You replace the steering, throttle and brakes with radio controlled potentiometers. With the right parts the whole proces should take no more than a few hours on an automatic (foolish to R/C a manual transmission car). I don't know why everyone is so amazed at a remote controlled car, from a special effects pov it's actually a piece of cake.

You must have seen that episode of mythbusters where they R/C'd an old oldsmobile in like 2 hours.

The difficulty lies in adding multi tier fail safe systems, on independant powercircuitry for things like emergency stops. So that if one fuse blows they have a whole independant power system that can still apply the brakes.

It should be totally safe for the actors as for close up work, or stunts near exposed bodies they'd never go the R/C route.

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Post by Lost Knight » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:50 pm

Solid Snake wrote:I am glad that you see what I mean when I say that its a logical choice to pick a new car for a totally different KITT, I think though naming the car KITT again only adds to the confusion a bit as this new KITT is not the old KITT it is a new character... thus new voice and car... looking back at my comment I am affraid I added to the confusion even more :lol: Kidding.


Well, if the producers are to continue the tradition with the acronyms (excluding Team Knight Rider here), there's not very many choices they have. The Knight 4000 was already introduced, and would be named K.I.F.T.; and so would a theoretical Knight 5000; or, if they decided to make each Knight vehicle with only even numbers, the next one up would be the Knight 6000, K.I.S.T. The acronyms would just get weirder and weirder.

And if they decided to go the TKR route and just give the car a flat out name and avoid an acronym altogether, fans would complain that the name doesn't stand for anything. So, having the Knight 3000 retain the same name is OK with me, but it does get confusing. That's why I'm going to call the original K.I.T.T. by his name and the Mustang simply the Knight 3000.
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Re: Cars as characters: why NBC might get it right this time

Post by Michael Pajaro » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:55 pm

gold333 wrote:I don't know why everyone is so amazed at a remote controlled car, from a special effects pov it's actually a piece of cake.


We are not amazed at the technology; I think you misunderstood my post. The issue I was bringing up is that we rarely saw driverless vehicles - using any technique at all - in the other Knight Rider spin-offs. The fact that they built an RC KITT for this movie, rather than using an old blanket to cover up the driver, suggests that we will see a lot more of the self-driving car.

You don't build something and not use it.

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