At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Archive for discussions from 2008. Please post new discussions in the appropriate forum.

Moderators: Matthew, neps, Michael Pajaro

Locked
89 formula
Recruit
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:22 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Chicago, IL

At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by 89 formula » Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:58 am

It took some time, but I was finally able to put my finger on what was really missing from the movie. In the long run, I can probably see past the retro-looking KITT, the plot holes, the “alternative” references, whatever (although Steve Martin’s “The Cruel Shoes” bit is now coming to mind), but there are two things that are essential to the show.

First, the original KR recipe for success:
Near the end of every good episode (especially the pilot), there was this sequence where the arrogant bad guys go from overconfident to full panic mode as this unstoppable black Trans AM just keeps coming at them, blasting through every barrier with sheer brute force. It was KITT to the rescue with the guns blazing. You couldn’t help but go “Yeah KITT!!!” In contrast, the new KI3T spend more running FROM the bad guys rather than running AT them.

Second, the success recipe of every show:
Every successful TV show (from Cheers to Seinfeld) needs a mix of characters that complement each other well. The original KR had that: Devon had the class and sophistication, Bonnie/Pam were the intellectual, KITT nurturing, mother figure, and Michael was this assertive maverick who brought in the charisma, and the street-smarts. Beyond that they all possessed strong values like unselfishness and loyalty. Would anyone from the old show ever leave their body double at the mercy of intruders? No!

I'd also like to go on record stating that the reason why I'm criticizing (yes, I admit, I’m criticizing) the new movie is not just because I wanna be a dick, but rather because I would really like the series back on TV. I’m sure that someone from NBC is reading these posts and perhaps taking notes. I'm convinced that the show will run out of steam quickly unless significant changes are made and it borrows from the recipe that made the original a cult classis. Yes, I realize that our poll indicates that about 90% of us liked the show, however if you look at the numbers you will notice that this 90% is roughly 80 votes out of the hundreds (thousands?) of members of this site. What does it say about the movie, if only 80 of die-hard KR fans took the time to click “I liked it”?

knightny
Rookie
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:20 am

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by knightny » Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:11 am

:roll:

User avatar
GN_WS6
Rookie
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:37 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Contact:

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by GN_WS6 » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:16 am

I agree with 89Formula
The real KITT was born a Trans Am.

User avatar
Kaine
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 314
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by Kaine » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:52 pm

GN_WS6 wrote:I agree with 89Formula


now that is a surprise :shock:

:roll:

Haley
Volunteer
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 9:02 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: A world of criminals who operate above the law

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by Haley » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:25 pm

I agree with your first point, 89 Formula, the new KITT should go on the offence more. As I wrote in another thread, I think that the main characters have some flaws, so that they have room to grow through the series. We've alreday seen this with Mike to some degree.

DevonStyles
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 353
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2003 3:00 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: MI

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by DevonStyles » Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:47 pm

I thought about your post and came to this conclusion.

From the very second that Michael Knight got into Kitt he was testing him. Pushing him to the limits. He told Devon something to the effect of "I'm warning ya Devon, I'm gonna put this thing to the test" if memory serves me correct... lol Michael was on a mission to get the bad guys. Nothing was gonna stop him.

Now mike T on the other hand did no such things. never came close. I'm sure things will change when it goes to series but you know what i'm saying. Honestly it never really seemed to me that MIke was ever gonna drive the car, until he finally did.
edited by the good folks at knightrideronline

User avatar
KnightLady
Operative
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:56 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Show Me State

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by KnightLady » Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:51 am

Good points 89Formula. And since we've waited this long for a new KR, the powers that be need to go back and do their homework and come back better prepared. Hopefully, like someone said in one of the other threads, hopefully someone at NBC is taking note of these forums and taking notes and realize that KR has a very loyal following with very knowledgeable fan base. I hope in some way we all are, "making a difference", with our opinions about the new KR. It would be a shame for the new KR to not last very long because of someone not paying attention to what the fans are telling them.

neoknight
Stranger
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:01 pm

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by neoknight » Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:26 pm

I also agree. After so long, I'd really like to see it done well and not just rushed into production and thrown on the air.

User avatar
goldbug
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:31 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: A world where criminals operate above the law

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by goldbug » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:41 am

89 formula wrote:It was KITT to the rescue with the guns blazing. You couldn’t help but go “Yeah KITT!!!” In contrast, the new KI3T spend more running FROM the bad guys rather than running AT them.

I believe the movie had both these elements.

First, KITT did ultimately save the day. He was brought back online, and with the quick thinking of Mike, they stopped the bad guys (who did have a dumbfounded look on their faces as KITT began to pull in front of them). It was a demonstration of how a combination of Mike and KITT could stop the bad guys.

Second, it is not correct that KITT spent most of the movie "running from" the bad guys. KITT's mission for most of the movie was to unite all the characters which meant he had to go after Sarah, then Mike, then Charles. He was hardly running from anyone - he was fulfilling his mission as Charles instructed him to. KITT's rescue of Sarah is a clear sign that he was not afraid to save the day if he had to.

89 formula wrote:Would anyone from the old show ever leave their body double at the mercy of intruders? No!

I always find it interesting how anyone who brings up this point to criticize the new flick doesn't mention that Charles didn't want to leave but Ben TOLD him to, even saying "It's my job." It's not like Charles went "Ok good, you die for me, thanks buddy!" and ran into the tunnel cackling. Clearly he and Ben established this protocol a long time ago, that if a threat came, Ben's job was to buy Charles time to get away - even at the cost of his own life if necessary.

As for complementing characters, you have that, albeit in slightly different ways than the original series:

Charles: The older, wiser mentor figure and genius.
Mike: Reluctant hero who ultimately wants to do good, but needs a mission to believe in.
Sarah: Idealistic, slightly naive but smart person in charge of KITT's tech (a modern day "Bonnie" role if you will).
Rivai: The strong headed, no nonsense agent. Sure of her mission and purpose.

They contrast a lot and I look forward to more character development as the series goes on.
89 formula wrote:...however if you look at the numbers you will notice that this 90% is roughly 80 votes out of the hundreds (thousands?) of members of this site. What does it say about the movie, if only 80 of die-hard KR fans took the time to click “I liked it”?

There's a saying that those who criticize are often the loudest. Most people who are happy with something rarely go around espousing its virtues (I don't just mean Knight Rider here, but most things in life).

I'm sure there are plenty of registered users on this site who never post at all but just visit for the content. I can also imagine there may be some users here that haven't logged on since the day they signed up. When I used to run a forum there were maybe fifty consistent posters, but I had hundreds of "registered" users.

What DOES speak positively for the movie are its ratings, which were very high. A 5.0 rating with 12.7 million viewers is not bad at all (and its ratings actually went up as the movie went along).

I'm not saying the movie was perfect. There are a lot of bits it needs to fix up, but I believe over the course of a series it can do just that.
"One man can make a difference." - Michael Knight (2008)

Kram061-1
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 458
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:25 pm

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by Kram061-1 » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:03 pm

i wonder if anyone involved in writing/producing the new show ever watched the old show's dvd's?

User avatar
goldbug
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:31 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: A world where criminals operate above the law

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by goldbug » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:01 am

Kram061-1 wrote:i wonder if anyone involved in writing/producing the new show ever watched the old show's dvd's?


From the interview with producer David Bartis: http://knightrideronline.com/news/2008/02/an_exclusive_interview_with_da.php

KRO: What was the process like to write it and start to film? Did you go back to review old stuff? Were you already a fan of Knight Rider?

BARTIS: We got on board really fast with the idea of doing it. And one of the things we did was go get all the DVDs and sit down and lock ourselves in a room and watch as much as we could. We had all watched the original anyway, I'm of the age that I was a teenager when the original came on, so I had an impression in my head but I hadn't looked at an original episode in a long time. So it was really great to go back and look at all the episodes, and then kind of poking around online and seeing what was going on. That's when I started to become aware that there was such a loyal following to the show that I hadn't been tapped into. In addition to going back and watching the episodes it was going to YouTube and seeing like 100 remixes of a scene on YouTube and tuns of fun spoofs and your website - just an incredible fan base.
"One man can make a difference." - Michael Knight (2008)

89 formula
Recruit
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:22 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by 89 formula » Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:17 pm

goldbug wrote:

First, KITT did ultimately save the day. He was brought back online, and with the quick thinking of Mike, they stopped the bad guys (who did have a dumbfounded look on their faces as KITT began to pull in front of them). It was a demonstration of how a combination of Mike and KITT could stop the bad guys.




Goldbug, I will grant you that the final crash scene was 100% true Knight Rider style, as was the scene with the awed semi-driver as KI3T blows past him. But what I was expecting was more than just two quick scenes of that. I mean, watch Knight of the Phoenix, the entire last ten or fifteen minutes are of the bad guys hitting KITT with all they've got but this unstoppable black Trans AM just keeps coming at them. You can see them go from that smurky look to "oh shiiiit!" as desperation and defeat set is.

Yes, Graiman had to be persuaded into leaving his look-alike in peril, but that's the difference between a hero and an average Joe. In true Knight Rider style, he would have risked his own life for that of a friend, or even a stranger for that matter. As a writer, you control the script, allow your main characters to rise to the occasion and then let KITT save the day.

The movie certainly had good ratings because every Knight Rider fan out there, myself included (obviously), watched it. I believe that it will get picked up and I will probably give it a chance, but unless very significant changes are made fast, I think that many will turn away.

In the interest of this thread not becoming another endless ping-pong match between KR fans, I will say this. I thought that the movie was not bad, but for me, it was mediocre and fell way short of the bar set by the original TV series. Apparently, a number of KR fans liked it, although I'm not sure how to interpret: "that's the closest I've seen to the original", as I've read more than once as justification for favoring the movie. If you truly liked it, that's great I wish I could say the same, but if you only liked it because you think this is the best we can get, voice your opinion, the producers are reading these forums.

User avatar
goldbug
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:31 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: A world where criminals operate above the law

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by goldbug » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:24 pm

89 formula wrote:Goldbug, I will grant you that the final crash scene was 100% true Knight Rider style, as was the scene with the awed semi-driver as KI3T blows past him. But what I was expecting was more than just two quick scenes of that. I mean, watch Knight of the Phoenix, the entire last ten or fifteen minutes are of the bad guys hitting KITT with all they've got but this unstoppable black Trans AM just keeps coming at them. You can see them go from that smurky look to "oh shiiiit!" as desperation and defeat set is.

I guess those weren't the only two moments I saw like that. I also think the scene where KITT comes roaring at the bad guys to get Sarah does that for me too. The engine sounds mean, he revs onto the scene and the bad guys get that "Oh crap" look and run for it.
89 formula wrote:Yes, Graiman had to be persuaded into leaving his look-alike in peril, but that's the difference between a hero and an average Joe. In true Knight Rider style, he would have risked his own life for that of a friend, or even a stranger for that matter. As a writer, you control the script, allow your main characters to rise to the occasion and then let KITT save the day.

A writer also has to convey the gravity of a situation. The fact that Graiman, a good man who would hide his family to protect them from harm, would actually abandon someone like that means the stakes are high. Good guys, even heroes sometimes have to make the hard choices - and that can sometimes mean leaving people behind if there's nothing you can do to save them and if it means something bigger (in this case, all out war breaking out) was at stake.
89 formula wrote:I wish I could say the same, but if you only liked it because you think this is the best we can get, voice your opinion, the producers are reading these forums.

I enjoyed it because I felt that it has many elements I loved from the original KR. It can use more certainly, but I don't expect pilots (or "back door" pilots) to be perfect. What this telepic showed me (and I'm guessing others) is that this crew of producers, writers and actors seems to "get" what made KR fun and that's why I have hopes for a series.
"One man can make a difference." - Michael Knight (2008)

DorianX
Recruit
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by DorianX » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:55 am

goldbug wrote:A writer also has to convey the gravity of a situation. The fact that Graiman, a good man who would hide his family to protect them from harm, would actually abandon someone like that means the stakes are high. Good guys, even heroes sometimes have to make the hard choices - and that can sometimes mean leaving people behind if there's nothing you can do to save them and if it means something bigger (in this case, all out war breaking out) was at stake.


Yes, but it only works if we *already* understand what kind of guy Graiman is. But this is really the first time we've even met the real Graiman, so the scene doesn't work very well. Waht we know of Graiman at this point is actually much *less* charitable: we know that he's a workaholic who pushed away his wife and daughter. We haven't had a chance yet to really understand why, and that undermines the scene.

goldbug wrote:I enjoyed it because I felt that it has many elements I loved from the original KR. It can use more certainly, but I don't expect pilots (or "back door" pilots) to be perfect. What this telepic showed me (and I'm guessing others) is that this crew of producers, writers and actors seems to "get" what made KR fun and that's why I have hopes for a series.


I don't expect it to be perfect either, but the whole point of a backdoor pilot is to *convince people to let it go to series*. So you really want to put your best foot forward.

The writing was the real weakness of the pilot. They manage to get the Knight Rider feel pretty easily, but the plot doesn't hang together very well and the characters don't ring true because the show acts as if we already have an emotional investment in them when we've only just met.

So it's like the original series, but for the pilot, you want another Knight of the Phoenix, or Knight of the Juggernaut, or even Goliath. What we got was something more like Voodoo Knight or one of the other episodes where the story was weak (Except that I don't think the original series had any episodes that were quite as poorly thought-out as this pilot)

And it's not just that the pilot wasn't well written: even if it had been done properly, *this* story is not good fodder for a pilot. Think of Junk Yard Dog -- that's one of my favorite original series episodes, but it wouldn't have *worked* if it had been done in the first season, when we didn't already have an investment in KITT, and we didn't already have a very deep understanding that he was acting way out of character because he'd been traumatized. Or imagine doing Scent of the Roses without having already done Let it Be Me and White Bird -- Stevie's death wouldn't have had nearly as much impact because she would have been just another girl-of-the-week instead of *the* girl.

This might have been a perfectly good plot to do some time later in the series, maybe as a season finale. But it's poorly written, and it's a poor choice of story to use as your "origin" story.

User avatar
Michael Pajaro
Advisor
Posts: 3082
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by Michael Pajaro » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:23 am

Dorianx.... am I hearing you correctly that you thought Voo Doo Knight was better written than, or on par with, Knight Rider '08? I understand a lot of the criticisms of the new show, but wow I can't see that comparison at all. For that matter, when was the last time you watched Goliath? Goliath has a special place in all of our hearts but it really has a LOT of problems.

I thought the plot of Knight Rider '08 was very straightforward, as it should be, and I liked the fact that we see Charles as a flawed character. What did we really know about the characters from Knight of the Phoenix? Michael's the reckless loner, Devon's the stuffy boss, hilarity ensues.

I may go so far as to say Charles Graiman is the best-written character in the new show. Part of that is probably because Bruce Davison is the best actor of the bunch, so his aura sort of elevates the writing a bit. He evokes the presence of Devon, but without ever bringing the feeling that he's actually replacing him.

The plot and characters worked for me.
Join me at Las Vegas Car Stars!
May 14-16 • Las Vegas, NV
http://lasvegascarstars.com

DorianX
Recruit
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by DorianX » Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:42 am

Michael Pajaro wrote:Dorianx.... am I hearing you correctly that you thought Voo Doo Knight was better written than, or on par with, Knight Rider '08? I understand a lot of the criticisms of the new show, but wow I can't see that comparison at all. For that matter, when was the last time you watched Goliath? Goliath has a special place in all of our hearts but it really has a LOT of problems.


Oh good lord no. I was just using it as an example of "A Knight Rider episode that isn't very good"

I was also using Goliath as an example of an episode that was very good, and I'm willing to accept that this was a mistake. I would have said 'Junk Yard Dog' but I wanted to save that to use later for "example of a Knight Rider episode that was good, but only because it came in the middle of the series.

Michael Pajaro wrote:I thought the plot of Knight Rider '08 was very straightforward, as it should be, and I liked the fact that we see Charles as a flawed character. What did we really know about the characters from Knight of the Phoenix? Michael's the reckless loner, Devon's the stuffy boss, hilarity ensues.


That's absolutely true, but the difference is that Knight of the Phoenix doesn't lean too heavily on the characters. The "Important Scenes" in KotP are all plot-driven. The characters get revealed to us through how they interact with the plot.

I think this is a good way to start a series, but there are other ways to do it. To pick a random example out of the air, the Gilmore Girls pilot is intensely character driven: the pilot itself is all about introducing us ti the characters and, well, making us love them. So they do that. But plot-wise, almost nothing happens in the pilot.

This was a pretty good pilot, but it would have been a terrible pilot for an action-adventure series. You've only got an hour and a half. You can do character convincingly, or you can plot convincingly. You don't have time to do both. In a plot-driven show, you do character slowly over time, and you do a solid, complete plot every week. In a character driven show, you do good solid character development every week, and you do plots in long, slow arcs.

I think this pilot tried to do both, and as a result, it failed at both. You say the plot is simple. I'll go father and say it was *shallow*. There's large parts of the episode where nothing really happens except that we watch KITT, Sarah, and Mike drive and, essentially, talk about their personality flaws. If we already knew the characters and had some experience with them, this would be "backstory" and it would be okay. But in a pilot, this feels like "The writer is going to strap us in and shout characterization at us." We've got characters like Carrie and Foss who are barely in the episode and don't do very much, and yet the show seems to be treating them as if they're just as important as the "real" characters.

User avatar
goldbug
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:31 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: A world where criminals operate above the law

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by goldbug » Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:50 am

DorianX wrote:Yes, but it only works if we *already* understand what kind of guy Graiman is.

Guess I disagree with this, though I concede it may be a personal taste in the types of story I enjoy. The first teaser scene tells us that he's the victim, that the Black River guys are the bad guys (thanks in part to the callous attitude towards Ben's death). Part of the mystery of the movie is why Graiman is so important and I enjoyed seeing that mystery uncovered. I would have actually found it a bit more dull if we knew right off the bat what Graiman's role/importance was. As part of that point, we can think at first (and I did) "Why would he leave his friend like that?" but later you discover all out war is at stake and I thought "Oooh, I get it, that makes sense."

DorianX wrote:...but the plot doesn't hang together very well and the characters don't ring true because the show acts as if we already have an emotional investment in them when we've only just met.

I might be mistaking your meaning. The way I saw it, the movie didn't expect is to "already" have an emotional investment, it wanted to build one up over the course of the show. While we certainly rooted for Mike as he fought the baddies or smiled as he bantered with KITT, when you see his face as Jenny passes, that's meant to be the point we know that makes his life take a hard right turn. We see just as his father before him he suffers a loss that redefines his life. With Sarah, we see her torment over her fractured family and her hope to put it back together by the end of the movie. I'm only invested in them because I've watched the whole thing through, I didn't really "care" about them on any emotional level until probably a good 20 minutes into the film.
"One man can make a difference." - Michael Knight (2008)

89 formula
Recruit
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:22 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by 89 formula » Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:18 am

Michael Pajaro wrote:I may go so far as to say Charles Graiman is the best-written character in the new show. Part of that is probably because Bruce Davison is the best actor of the bunch, so his aura sort of elevates the writing a bit. He evokes the presence of Devon, but without ever bringing the feeling that he's actually replacing him.

The plot and characters worked for me.


See, to me, Graiman's personality is more fitting of a "behind the scenes scientist". Yes, he's very intelligent but that's about it. He lacks the persona and assertiveness which would elevate him to a more memorable individual. I actually thought that Graiman's look-alike would have made a better main character. He took control of the situation at the cabin (basically told Graiman to "run away and I'll take care of this"), and actually had the balls to stay and face the villains, that's the type of personality you want for a crime-fighting team.

I'm really surprised that that your first impression of Devon was a "stuffy boss". I suppose that there's a fine line between sophistication and stuffiness, but I never thought he was stuffy. To me, Devon was always in control but never bossy. He stood his ground but could usually be persuaded with evidence....okay, except for those times when Michael would simply say "you're breaking up Devon", and would shut off the monitor.

User avatar
goldbug
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:31 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: A world where criminals operate above the law

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by goldbug » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:00 am

89 formula wrote:He lacks the persona and assertiveness which would elevate him to a more memorable individual.

I never got that sense. Time and time again in the episode he showed that he was a guy who could think on his feet. He deployed KITT to get Sarah while he sought out Jenny. He took the initiative to not only build a new KITT, but bring the FBI in on the situation as well (hence, Rivai's involvement). While captive, he tried to stop the Corrupt Sheriff(tm) from shooting and he gave the "false" password to stop the bad guys for a bit. By the end, it's Charles who decides to restart the Foundation and recruit Mike. Almost every step of the way the story moved forward due in part to his machinations, making him very memorable IMO.
"One man can make a difference." - Michael Knight (2008)

DorianX
Recruit
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by DorianX » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:12 am

goldbug wrote:Guess I disagree with this, though I concede it may be a personal taste in the types of story I enjoy. The first teaser scene tells us that he's the victim, that the Black River guys are the bad guys (thanks in part to the callous attitude towards Ben's death). Part of the mystery of the movie is why Graiman is so important and I enjoyed seeing that mystery uncovered. I would have actually found it a bit more dull if we knew right off the bat what Graiman's role/importance was. As part of that point, we can think at first (and I did) "Why would he leave his friend like that?" but later you discover all out war is at stake and I thought "Oooh, I get it, that makes sense."


Right. See, for me, that thinking relies on knowing the character better. You consider it a mystery that "Why would he leave his friend like that?" Instead, what I see is "There are men coming to kill him, so he sacrifices his decoy to save his own bacon." Later it turns out that, yes, he had a good reason, but at the time, we didn't know Charles well enough for me to give him the benefit of the doubt. We don't really have much evidence that they're "friends", and what evidence we *do* have suggests not that "Charles is a good man, but the stakes are high so he does what he has to," but rather, "Charles is the sort of guy who put his work ahead of his wife, so it's no surprise that he'd sacrifice an *employee* like that."

You're right that it *should* have been a scene where we found Charles actions surprising, and therefore a red flag as to the severity of what is at stake. But for me, that just didn't happen, because at this point in the episode, we don't know enough about Charles to know that what he did was out of character.

goldbug wrote:I might be mistaking your meaning. The way I saw it, the movie didn't expect is to "already" have an emotional investment, it wanted to build one up over the course of the show. While we certainly rooted for Mike as he fought the baddies or smiled as he bantered with KITT, when you see his face as Jenny passes, that's meant to be the point we know that makes his life take a hard right turn. We see just as his father before him he suffers a loss that redefines his life. With Sarah, we see her torment over her fractured family and her hope to put it back together by the end of the movie. I'm only invested in them because I've watched the whole thing through, I didn't really "care" about them on any emotional level until probably a good 20 minutes into the film.


It may have something to do with the way we watch television: for me, even if "it all works out in the end", that doesn't change the fact that the middle didn't work at the time. You clearly grew to care about the characters because of the things that happened to them in the episode. That's a good thing, and that's the way it's *supposed* to be. I, on the other hand, felt like we were supposed to care about *the things that happened* because we cared about the characters. And this is backwards. For example, the scenes where Sarah and KITT or Mike and KITT just spend a few minutes talking about their, well, personal issues. Those scenes give us some background to the character and help flesh them out.

I normally like scenes like that. But I only like a scene like that if the character is someone I care about and am therefore interested in. If it was a character I wasn't yet interested in, though, such a scene is boring and tedious.

A lot of what was in this episode felt too mechanistic and too manipulative, I kept feeling like the writer might come out and say "Now, the purpose of this scene was..."

Show Mike in bed with two women so we know he's cool and not into monogamy. Show Sarah teaching a class on nanotech so we know she's smart and doesn't get on with her dad. Show Carrie getting read for work so we know she's a lesbian. It's like the writer just had a checklist titled "Things the audience needs to know" and just wrote scenes in order to meet that list, without any real thought toward how it all hangs together. It doesn't even stop at character development: The gas station scene, for example, serves no purpose other than to justify KITT telling us about his power system. The near-head-on collision during the first chase scene (Which, but the way, seemed like kind of a slapstick scene with the whole "screech to a halt just inches from the truck" thing) felt like it was there just so that KITT could explain his prime directive. And then there's the scene where *in the middle of their tense escape*, Mike, Graiman, and Ma Traceur all *stop for a minute* to tell us about Mike's dad and the first KITT, things which the audience already knows and Mike has no particular reason to care about (I mean, sure, he might be interested in knowing a bit about his father, but he actually seems to (a) *not* be, having come to terms with his father's abandonment a long time ago, and (b) is rather busy just now) -- the scene is clearly there just because Mom is going to die in the next scene, and this is therefore the only time the two of them will be in a scene together.

And I think a lot of things "assume" characterization instead of "provide" characterization. Like, I think it's pretty clear that Carrie is meant to be a serious character, and Foss is meant to be kind of a comic character (or at least a lighter one). But what do we actually see them do: Foss insists that he doesn't want to run away from his problems, and also has his life threatened by some thugs whose only real purpose in the story is to give Mike something to do until KITT shows up (Again, they're in one scene, then they get dealt with quietly, off-screen, through the simple expedient of a wire transfer). Carrie, on the other hand, we see: bedding someone she's just met, then leaving her alone in her house; not once but *twice* leaking important information to the bad guys; actually *giving one of them a ride to the place where they capture Graiman*; and when Sarah and Mike zip off for revenge, does it even occur to her that, what with her being an FBI agent, she *might* just be better qualified and more legally empowered to deal with these criminals than a racecar driver and a physicist? No, she just looks on with a sort of dull surprise as they drive off. It felt like the only thing the writer really wanted us to know about Carrie was that she was (1) an FBI agent, and (2) gay. And once that was taken care of, he didn't think much more about her actual role in the episode.

I know that all TV is "manipulative" to some degree, and that it's all "really" fake, and maybe it's just a matter of my being more sensitive to it, but to me, it felt too blatant: I could "see the strings", as it were, and it ruined the illusion for me.

89 formula
Recruit
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:22 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by 89 formula » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:37 am

DorianX wrote:
I was also using Goliath as an example of an episode that was very good, and I'm willing to accept that this was a mistake.




I'm digressing here, but despite it's flaws, I loved the Goliath episode. It falls into what I call "the wounded beast" category of episodes, where KITT gets hurt and ends up limping home. That whole desert sequence, where Michael rigs KITT to run on pure turbine power was just awesome. Ring of Fire also falls into that same category and is probably my favorite KR episode.

89 formula
Recruit
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:22 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by 89 formula » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:04 pm

goldbug wrote:
89 formula wrote:He lacks the persona and assertiveness which would elevate him to a more memorable individual.

I never got that sense. Time and time again in the episode he showed that he was a guy who could think on his feet. He deployed KITT to get Sarah while he sought out Jenny. He took the initiative to not only build a new KITT, but bring the FBI in on the situation as well (hence, Rivai's involvement). While captive, he tried to stop the Corrupt Sheriff(tm) from shooting and he gave the "false" password to stop the bad guys for a bit. By the end, it's Charles who decides to restart the Foundation and recruit Mike. Almost every step of the way the story moved forward due in part to his machinations, making him very memorable IMO.



I wrote that paragraph as rebuttal to Michael's statement that Graiman was the best-written character on the show. There's no doubt that Graiman is very intelligent, and perceptive enough to prepare for a contingency ahead of time. Yes, he did some things right, but to me, this does not give him a persona or prove his assertiveness. Graiman has a place on the show, but I don't see how he's all that well-written for a lead character.

User avatar
Michael Pajaro
Advisor
Posts: 3082
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by Michael Pajaro » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:15 pm

Both Mike and Charles are flawed. That's good; flawed characters tend to be interesting characters. But all of Mike's flaws are presented to us as one big joke. The women, the racing, the gambling... none of it is taken seriously. Charles is brilliant, obsessive, paranoid... and it cost him his wife, his daughter, and his friend. Sounds pretty serious to me.

Whose backstory are you more interested in? i'm sure one of Mike's old gambling associates will pay him a visit in the future, but is anyone really desperate to know more about his past? Maybe we'd like to see how a respected Ranger could fall into the life of a lonely swinger. Do we want to know more about Charles' past? Absolutely! He knew Wilton. And the original KITT. Probably Devon. His backstory will somehow reveal what happened to the Foundation. He also knows what happened to KITT.

Mike's problems were solved when Sarah wrote a check. He doesn't have to prove anything to anybody, except maybe winning Sarah back and it looks like he may have already done that. Charles has the weight of Wilton's dream on his shoulders, and he's let down so many people in the past. I think he has more to prove.

I'm afraid to say this and have people think that I don't care about character development, because I know that's the key to a good series. But I don't really WANT to know a lot of really deep things about Mike. Mostly, I want him to drive fast and jump out of KITT and beat up some bad guys. And along the way I'm sure we'll get to know him better. But from what we have seen so far, Charles is the more interesting character.
Join me at Las Vegas Car Stars!
May 14-16 • Las Vegas, NV
http://lasvegascarstars.com

User avatar
Victor Kros
FLAG Operative
Posts: 1600
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:10 am
antispam: No
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 1982
Location: Knight Manor

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by Victor Kros » Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:13 am

While I respect Mike's opinion, I disagree that Charles Graiman had the most character development in the pilot and here is why...

When you have a potential pilot where the main character (Mike) has to compete for attention with another main character (Charles) That's a problem. If the focus here is continuing the legacy of Michael Knight and KITT with a new generation, there shouldn't be so much "extended" focus on Charles. We should know right off the bat what his connection is to the past, not make it some sort of cryptic game that will force people to be strung along to find out more about him simply because this is about MIKE TRACEUR. It's not the "Charles Graiman and his pal K3000" show here.

I believe in flawed characters but I think the overall problem with character development here is focus. Who needs it more? I would think Mike would compared to some guy who has stayed locked up in his mansion for years on end and has no VISUAL connection to Wilton or Devon, other then a brief glimpse on a dash graphic and the KI text logo on the ramp of a plane. I wanted to see something that would make me believe this guy could have really been involved from an original Knight Industries Horsehead emblem to some schematics of the older KITT or at the very least a portrait of the original cast or painting of Devon or Wilton but there was NOTHING.

Yes there were three other KITTs in his garage but that's not enough. He could have been a replica builder for all we know. Those were there to please the fans, if they were more important then we would have seen more emphasis placed on them.

Keep in mind, the now classic "We'll fix it later in the series" approach does not apply to what we've seen in the backdoor pilot, a pilot that was never guranteed to go to series in the first place. I'm viewing this as a self contained two hour made for tv movie.

If Andron wanted to make Charles really believable, he would have taken the extra step to involve him more with the history of the original show. As I've stated before, Charles does not mention Wilton or Devon by name it's the other characters who refer to it. If Charles was in the middle of all this "back in the day" I don't see his reluctance to mention it to Mike or Sarah.

Charles is connected more so to the "car" aspect of Knight Industries and not to the PEOPLE who made it happen in the first place. Every reference to Charles that involves him with Knight Industries in the original series is some remark about THE CAR.

In my opinion, that is not good character development, that's just using revisionist history to squeeze in a new character who was never meant to be there in the first place. I can understand the need to find a bridge back to the older series but really take some time to pay attention. Don't insult our intelligence by saying the guy was there the entire time and not give enough connection to back it up.

This isn't a remake, this is a continuation and tossing in David Hassellhoff isn't enough, it just makes you miss the original KITT and Michael Knight even more, rather then getting the audience to accept this new direction because of the lack of explaination of why Michael left in the first place. It doesn't work.

I would say the one character who would have had the most character development in this pilot was Mike Traceur (as it should be). We get why he's reluctant to commit to a monogomous relationship. We get that he can hold his own in a fight. We get that he has personal demons to face and that he's not a cookie cutter hero type who will always make the right choices or decisions.

I think for what it's worth Andron did a decent job for reworking the franchise but given the limits of the strike deadline at the time, I am pretty confident that even he knows he could have did a better job and will most likely take the story to the next level if given the opportunity to do so in the future. Let's hope he does actually "get it" because if he doesn't and his writing staff doesn't, this show isn't going to last long.

It's a decent effort the first time out, despite it's glaring faults. I've said this before and I stand by it that for better or worse this backdoor pilot was far superior to the other half-brained spin off attempts. I don't think ratings matter either, I think the high ratings was because people were curious to see what they were going to do. I predicted the encore presentation ratings would be cut in half. Whether it's a Saturday or a Sunday isn't the point...the point is rewatch value. Time will tell if they can maintain the following needed to get it to go more then one season. I really have no doubts it will be picked up for a season, simply because NBCU needs new content to sustain their ratings.

What matters here is what happens in the long run, not the short term.

People will like what they like and feel how they feel so I'm not trying to discredit anyone or whatever, just giving my perspective of it based on what has been seen or addressed.

=VK=
:dash:

User avatar
Lost Knight
FLAG Special Ops
Posts: 2716
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:45 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Long Island, NY

Re: At least fix 2 things (I waited 26 years for this?? part 2)

Post by Lost Knight » Sun Mar 09, 2008 1:11 am

victor kros wrote:Keep in mind, the now classic "We'll fix it later in the series" approach does not apply to what we've seen in the backdoor pilot, a pilot that was never guranteed to go to series in the first place. I'm viewing this as a self contained two hour made for tv movie.


I've thought about this the past few days, actually. But if this is going to be a stand-alone movie, it would just screw up the continuity even further. Unless the series pays as much attention to this telepic as the telepic itself paid to Team Knight Rider and Knight Rider 2000's existence. Perhaps following the same method that the original series did (the first episode took place after Michael and K.I.T.T. already went on several missions) should be the way to go after all. It would be a bit of a cop-out, but I could excuse it for the sake of moving forward with a lot of things being new and improved.

victor kros wrote:This isn't a remake, this is a continuation and tossing in David Hassellhoff isn't enough, it just makes you miss the original KITT and Michael Knight even more, rather then getting the audience to accept this new direction because of the lack of explaination of why Michael left in the first place. It doesn't work.


Absolutely.

victor kros wrote:I don't think ratings matter either, I think the high ratings was because people were curious to see what they were going to do. I predicted the encore presentation ratings would be cut in half. Whether it's a Saturday or a Sunday isn't the point...the point is rewatch value. Time will tell if they can maintain the following needed to get it to go more then one season. I really have no doubts it will be picked up for a season, simply because NBCU needs new content to sustain their ratings.


While I agree about curiosity being the main reason for the high ratings the first time, I disagree about your rewatch value point. I don't believe for a second that most of the averaged 12.7 million viewers (aside from the die-hard fans like myself) would dedicate the time to watch the movie again on a Saturday night, no matter how good it was or how much rewatch value it had. I predicted that the viewership would probably only be half of what it was, too, because Saturday night is a dead night for ratings, regardless of how good the programming is. I still believe that's why the viewership was less than half of what it was the first time. I personally watched it again only to record a better DVD copy than I was able to the first time, with the intent of cutting the commercials out.
“Gimme maximum turbo thrust and blast me outta here, will ya!?”
:kitt: :dash4:

Locked