In defense of the show

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Shapeshifter
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In defense of the show

Post by Shapeshifter » Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:01 am

I've been a little quiet, trying to digest all the criticism and coming to grips with some of my own. It definitely wasn't perfect, I don't think anyone would deny that. I DO know a few things that perhaps should be thrown into the mix.

The original approved script was 90 pages, that translates to a nice 90 minute movie and would have cost about 12 1/2 million to make. Then the money guys came in and said "you can have 8 million. That's our budget for a pilot." the producers said "it's a two hour action movie, not a one hour pilot. It will cost 12 1/2 million." The money guys said "Fine. you can have 9 million." Budgets translate into days of shooting. They no longer had the time to shoot a 90 minute script. They had to shoot a 79 minute script. What had to go was a lot of exposition. There was a whole race car sequence with Mike crashing his car, which laid a lot more foundation for his character. Also, originally there were twice as many bad guys. So, you wonder about all the plot holes? A lot of that was stuff they couldn't afford to shoot. And because of the writer's strike, there wasn't time to extensively re-write, they just had to cut what was there.

Other production difficulties. I'm sure all shows have their share of problems, but losing a month of post production because of an injury to your star AND having your voice talent drop out at the last second has to be somewhat unique. The show was finished the day before it aired. That's cutting it pretty close.

There has a lot of comment about the voice not sounding like it came from the car. Here's an interesting explanation. On the original show, because of technological limitations, they could not shoot intimate car action from outside the car. Now, they can. But what do you do to make the voice POV realistic while you're OUTSIDE the car? Think about it, they have. The solution they arrived at was to make the voice quality more omnipresent so you buy it either inside or outside the car.

These things don't explain away all the problems, but perhaps they give you some appreciation of just how hard it can be to get the tone right.

Something else that really didn't come across well but will if the show goes to series--this KITT, as an entity, is like a baby; curious, growing, learning, developing. This will be explored a lot more.

There is acknowlegement that KITT needs to do something else spectacular. I can't speak for the producers, but it's safe to say they have some things planned.

It's interesting to see that a majority of the criticism is coming from very new posters. I'm not sure the motivation of someone who joined the day of the show can and should be trusted.

That's all for now.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by neps » Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:15 am

Thanks so much for commenting on publicly. Your explanations make a lot of sense to me, and hopefully it will go some way to quite some of these new untrusted voices we have here.

The fact of the mater is that it was the number 8 show last week in the Nielson ratings - and did huge for it's demographic. The Cast & Crew involved in this want success and happy fans with this, they will do everything the can to make it a success.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Garthe Knight » Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:29 am

See, I am around for some time now, and this board was never so negative like it is during the last days. And that's mostly because of some guys just registering to flame the new movie.

Like you said, the movie was not perfect, but I really really liked it. And apart from the low budget and all the problems, the cast and crew did a really good job. The movie was entertaining and makes me wish for more, and it attracted many viewers, and that was its goal, right?

Of course I am discussing things I didn't like so much and what I would do better. This is my opinion and maybe someone joins in and in the end we get an improved tv show.

Just don't argue with those "KITT should be a Trans Am and The Hoff should drive it" guys. Doesn't make sense :cry:

Keep up riding :kitt2:
(and if there was any, I would have added a Knight 3000 Smiley)

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by ck37 » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:04 pm

Shapeshifter, great post.

Well I think what they did with the voice plaecement in terms of sound is better than some people have thought. Especially when KITT followed Mike and Sarah on the bridge. The voice did sound like it was coming from inside the car. Anyone who has a car that talks will know the difference in levels if they stand outside the vehicle. So in defense I think it was more realistic.

As far as comparing KITT to a babe I agree. It is evident in certain situations. To me the Ford commercials where KITT follows Mike on his date were great and really showed that attachment, need to understand etc. Actually its a really good commercial. Okay its a fiesta he is driving, big deal, the humor to me overides it.

I think it's worth it to everyone to watch it online without so many commercials to get a better flow of the story and show overall. It does work better that way. I didn't see the actual telecast being overseas at this time, but watching it online you can see where all the breaks are, and I cant imagine how frustrating it was to the viewers who start getting into a scene or two to have to be constantly interrupted. You naturally become more critical and agitated.

Thanks again for giving us some insight.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by justinbrueningnet » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:05 pm

I really enjoyed the movie. One of the best things Ive seen in a long time. And there were a lot of setbacks, didnt realize there were as many, just knew of the writer's strike, the injury and the Will Arnett/Val Kimmer. But I think, for everything that the production has gone through in order to get the movie completed and released on the set date, it was done extremely well.

Sure, there may be people complaining and trying to cause trouble, but thats what people do. They want to complain and purposely search for things to complain about instead of things to compliment about in order to gain attention and drive people crazy. Also some of those people wouldnt be complaining if they had looked up the pilot prior.

Looking on the NBC board lately Im noticing there are more positive posts than negative which is great. And everyone Ive talked to in person enjoyed the pilot. The online community discussing this pilot, as well as practically every other program, does not make up a huge number of the viewers, and therefore only represent a small portion of the fans of this, and every other program. And the people who are criticizing the pilot are also likely to tune in, either to stop and take the time to actually enjoy what they are watching, or to poke at every little detail to gain attention. There are just some people who no matter what is done, wont be satisfied and that is because they dont want to be. They will avoid it every way possible.

I do want to to see this go to series. It was a great movie, it has a great cast, plot, entertainment value. With the writer's strike over, the cast set, I believe it will do great!

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by sarfraz » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:59 pm

As far as I'm concerned I already figured out that losing cast members to injury and contractual obligations was always going to hinder the project. The Will Arnett thing in particular was always going to create a rush situation on the KITT voice, not everyone is so understanding.

The locked script (thanks to the strike) was again guaranteed to cause issues on set. I could imagine right now the writer tearing his hair out seeing a better way to do the scene but wasn't allowed to do so. The natural evolution of the script was hampered but its a testament to the script that it was as good as it was.

Budget = more explosions....simple hollywood ethos but I can see a reduced budget hampering choices of stunts and what not.

Anyway, just like to reiterate. I loved the pilot. I watched it (twice now) without the ad-breaks so I'm probably in the minority who weren't annoyed by the constant breaks. The pilot has laid a good foundation for the series and we know theres more to come.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by snafu » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:06 pm

I liked the pilot even through my terrible TV reception (upstairs neighbors running appliances all night- ARGH!!) and I watched parts on Youtube later and LOVED it.
It may not be perfect, but it is SO much better than the alternative of no KR things whatsoever.
Besides, I enjoy honking at every black mustang and startling the driver. They'll figure it out someday...
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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Stinch » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:11 pm

Its just nice to read some posts by people who enjoyed the movie!!

I loved it I thought Justin was great and will fill the role well! I really like Val Kilmers voice as KITT and with a bigger budget and no strike I think this is going to be great TV!!!

Fingers crossed the big wigs at NBC agree!

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by libolt » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:12 pm

I agree that the movie was pretty enjoyable to watch, especially considering the limitations mentioned above. I have watched it 3 or 4 times now thanks to my DVR. Each time I watch it I catch more details that I've missed and find myself wanting to watch it again. I even went through once with the commercials so I could watch the Ford commercials again. They were hilarious.

Here's looking forward to a series coming soon, hopefully.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by David » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:24 pm

Great post Shapeshifter. I wonder if it would be possible to post the original script here so we could compare what was on the page to what made it onto the screen?

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Duster » Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:01 pm

Thanks again, Shapeshifter, for giving us your insights.
The part with the script being cut down because of budget and time reasons was completly new to me. In my opinion this fact shows how good the script and the production was, since this pilot still is so much fun.
I do believe that the series will be even better in so many ways, since it won't be that rushed and they know with what amount of budget they can plan.

I watched the movie three times now and I really, really like it. It's not just that "this KR is better than no KR" thing, this show is quality and it is fun as a Knight Rider series should be. Although there are many things that have been criticised, I hope the producers stay true to their vision. I think they know what things have to be worked on - and they will work on that - but there are just so many point criticised that are just bulls**t (speaking of those flame-users).

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Shapeshifter » Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:27 pm

David wrote:Great post Shapeshifter. I wonder if it would be possible to post the original script here so we could compare what was on the page to what made it onto the screen?


I'm afraid I can't do that; I don't have the approved script that was cut down, and I'm not comfortable putting up what I have. Sorry.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by PHOENIXZERO » Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:21 pm

What can you do about the complainers who's biggest complaint STILL is that it's a Ford product and not a well out of production Trans-AM? :roll: Not to mention certain other things that are just ignorant and petty.

Overall I liked the movie, some things bugged me a bit with the story and even though I expected the whole emblem attention I still reallllllly could have done without it. The Knight Rider Ford commercials though were good stuff. I watched it a second time without commercials and that at least made it a lot less frustrating, story problems I had also were alleviated some, specifically the hacking issue, seeing it a second time helped it work a lot better for me. My original "rating" was an 8/10 but after a second viewing I've raised it to an 8.5. Certainly not perfect, but by far the best Knight Rider related product to come out in the last 21+ years...

When it goes to series (and it looks like that's a certainty) I hope Charles Graiman's past is further explained and expanded to hopefully say he wasn't alone in building the car/KITT (a mention of KARR would be nice) along with Mike's to fit things better in with history. I'm kind of tired of writing my own attempts to fill things in, doesn't matter what I say anyway (as much as I wish it did, heh) and this is not the place for it. I can't wait to see where they go with it, hopefully they take the ball and run with it well without dropping it like so many updated series/movies have, most recent being Bionic Woman.
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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Valdez » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:00 pm

Thank you shapeshifter so much for your post. I can't believe how many negative people have joined this board over the last few days, I knew that we'd acquire new members, but I never thought the majority would be flamers and trolls...or at least, appear so far to be flamers and trolls. Or people who can't understand the limitations this show had and the setbacks it went through. Again, thank you.
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Re: In defense of the show

Post by davejames » Thu Feb 21, 2008 7:36 pm

Well I guess it's not a surprise that NBC would go the cheap route with this movie. That definitely explains the lack of stunts and cool features for KITT. :(

Unfortunately, I don't know if that really bodes well for the future. Obviously I know the days of big 80s car stunts are long over, but is NBC going to give them enough money to do ANYTHING worthwhile if this goes to series?

Or are we pretty much stuck with CG-created features and a bunch of safe car chases where there's no risk of the cars getting scratched or dented?

In other words... another Viper.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Michael Pajaro » Thu Feb 21, 2008 7:51 pm

davejames... The budget issues were brought up in our interviews with Sam Nicholson, the visual effects supervisor. I'm adding a lot of my own perspective here, but I think it's valid:

Normally when you do a series, they have a budget for a certain number of episodes. Long ago it was 26 episodes or more, then 13 became standard... nowadays it can be 6 or fewer. But what the production team will do is "borrow" money from future episode budgets to spend on the Pilot episode. With Knight Rider, they didn't have a series commitment. Although it was written and produced as a potential series, they had a fixed, one-time budget (granted, it was much more than a typical 1-hour episode would get.)

But now, most of the work has been done. The sets have been built. The CG models have been created. The computer software has been developed and the remote-control car has been built. When it goes to series, they will get a brand new per-episode budget and won't have to worry about any of the start-up costs that normally go with a new series. And they have said they are planning on having the car evolve. The CG group plans on doing a lot more, and the physical KITT builder also said they plan on adding more features to the car as well.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by davejames » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:05 pm

Maybe, but even with a full series commitment, I seriously doubt we're going to see anything close to the same level of action and stuntwork as the original series.

We haven't seen any big action shows like that for awhile, and a big part of that was because they were just expensive as heck to do. Even the original had to resort to using SPM and models halfway through.

Unless this series gets astronomical ratings, I suspect most of what we see KITT do is going to be achieved, in one way or another, through CGI.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Michael Pajaro » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:14 pm

True, the big action shows are expensive. But from what I saw on Sunday, I'm convinced that a CG turbo boost (or other crazy stunt) would look just fine.

I have no doubt that a CG turbo boost would look better than some of the model jumps we saw in the later seasons.

The question for me is, which would look better: A CG turbo boost where you can kind of tell it's a computer model, but you see the complete lift off, flight, and landing in one continuous shot, or a "real" jump with hidden ramps and some poor editing between the take-off and landing? Don't get me wrong, the original Turbo Boosts were THE signature of the series. But many of them were not very convincing.

I'm totally ready to accept some CG jumping, if they'll give it to us.
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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Niggle Snoosh » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:33 pm

I would also like to thank you for your post Shapeshifter, it was nice to see someone defend NBC since most either only defend the pilot or attack both. We do forget that just getting a Knight Rider project off the ground was a mammoth task in itself. It was interesting to know details about the cost and original intended length of the movie
Plus there is the fact that you already have a huge fan base that will guarentee people will be watching but they're ready and willing to tear you apart if you can't deliver what they expect or demand as the negative feedback from some has shown.

justinbrueningnet wrote:There are just some people who no matter what is done, wont be satisfied and that is because they dont want to be.


On the otherside of the coin the reason they vent out in this way is simply because the show meant so much to them. Thats why i cant feel too angry at them for their overly negative attitude towards the pilot, hopefully when the tension has died down they will embrace the pilot and possible new series.

I know i got a bit petty when i first heard about the Mustang being KI3T and i whined to my friends about it (who didn't care because they don't like Knight Rider), then i learned Val Kilmer was replacing Will Arnett late in the day (and of course my dreams of seeing William Daniels reprise his role were shattered, man that guy has a cool voice) and complained again to my friends (who still didn't care). However once i let the new information sink in i accepted that i should just shut up and give the Pilot a chance and i'm glad i did because i really enjoyed it.

I'm sure for all of us here on this forum, the show is something that touched us when we were kids but not grown out of (like i'm sure a lot of our friends have). Since we associate the show with happy viewing from our childhood it's that feel good feeling that keeps us overlooking the original series cheesyness and flaws.

However the new series doesn't have that feel good feeling protecting it making it far to easy to be critical of its flaws (which in my eyes are pretty minor really). To me the flaws that bugged me i can simply put down to it being cut down in some manner just as Shapeshifter said did happen, that along with the writers strike having an effect. That being done i can just accept the pilot, enjoy it for what it is and believe the series (if commissioned) can only get better and sit back embrace a new chapter in the world of Knight Rider :)

I for one am still in a state of giddyness that Knight Rider has made in back on the air in any form. :D
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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Niggle Snoosh » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:42 pm

Michael Pajaro wrote:Don't get me wrong, the original Turbo Boosts were THE signature of the series. But many of them were not very convincing.

I'm totally ready to accept some CG jumping, if they'll give it to us.


I think we all want Turbo Boost back in one form of the other :)
Now i'm gonna tread careful here because i know this may annoy some, as cool as Turbo Boosts were i do feel they overused them and would welcome a larger collection of alternate modes and gadgets to be used throughout the series.
Don't get me wrong, i still want too see the abilty used fairly often but only when it feels like you really need it, to me that means when it does happens it feels far more special and super cool
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Re: In defense of the show

Post by GTiGirl » Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:13 pm

Thanks Shapeshifter, great post. Finally i found one post where everyone follow the same way and share the same point of view.

I think now we should be concentrated in defend the pilot show with all our forces, so that we can soon enjoy the new series. In Portugal, I am doing all I can to meet increasingly fans. And after making a website dedicated to Knight Rider, I eagerly hope the debut of the show in Portuguese channels.

Best regards,

Ana

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by greelywinger » Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:24 pm

I just got done watching it online & enjoyed it.
Sure there were plot holes, but hopefully these can be worked out in the series.
I can see connections to KR2K. Just wish KR2K had Bonnie (or at least mentioned her).
I still can't watch Devon being killed.
It's like watching your father being senslessly murdered.
They did a good job bringing KR into the 21st Century.
I also liked that KITT has a dry humour.
Sarah- "Are you crazy?
KITT- "I do not believe so."
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Re: In defense of the show

Post by knightprobe89 » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:27 am

thanks for the post shapeshifter, i have to say the pilot was pretty good, i'm sure when it goes to series that they will make things better and hopefully we will get our turbo boost. a cgi turbo boost would be awesome.
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Re: In defense of the show

Post by Knight6000 » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:50 am

Great job there Shapeshifter.

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Re: In defense of the show

Post by PHOENIXZERO » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:52 am

If they do go a CG route with it a lot and I mean A LOT of work will have to be put into getting the effect right because a lot CG stunts look terrible in motion, dare I say mechanical and clunky. In this day and age there are still problems with that and they'd have to put a lot of work into getting it right, it'd probably be quicker (though maybe less cost effective) just to do the physical stunt unless they start working on it before shooting and are able to do it quick and make it look good and realistic. By realistic, I mean you don't immediately notice that it's a CG car being placed into a "real world" shot.

I do agree that it's something that needs to be used a lot less than it was in the original show, no more than maybe once every three or four episodes.
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