Variety review of Deadly Maneuvers

This forum contains discussions about all things Knight Rider.

Moderators: Matthew, neps, Michael Pajaro

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

Variety review of Deadly Maneuvers

Post by Michael Pajaro » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:20 am

I posted Variety’s 1982 review of Knight Rider’s two-hour pilot.

A week later, they published another review of Deadly Maneuvers. The biggest complaint is that for a car show, the stunts aren’t very good. And I actually agree: Deadly Maneuvers was pretty weak in the stunt department. But here’s the strange thing - the reviewer watched Deadly Maneuvers and ONLY that episode. He never watched the pilot, and it sounds like he didn’t even realize there WAS a pilot. So the entire review becomes ridiculous.

October 8, 1982
Telefilm Review
Knight Rider
Deadly Maneuvers

It's been 16 years since the last TV series in the talking-car genre, “My Mother The Car,” left the NBC schedule. And though it’s long time for the network to dream up a second talking-car series that lives up to the genre's tradition, it's new “Knight Rider” can truly be called the “My Mother the Car” of today.

“Knight Rider” stars KITT, a babbling Ponitac that has less character than your average depressed clutch panel. KITT’s human costar, David Hasselhoff, is unable to rise above his no-dimensional role.

It's a case of a kiddie show being done on a fairly childish level. The plotting is far-fetched, the dialogue painfully predictable, the direction listless and the overall production values negligible.

All the sins would be minor, viewed from a commercial perspective, if Knight Rider did a good job of what it's designed to do - crash cars. It does not.
The only impressive stunt in the premiere episode came when KITT maneuvered through a series of planted explosives.

It says a lot about the series lack of ambition that the show’s pivotable car crash was kept off-camera and only implied through routine sound effects.

And if the stunts weren't enough to hold the viewer, surely the plot wasn't. Through a series of silly coincidences, Hasselhoff stumbles onto and unravels a rather mundane plot to paint over nuclear missiles and sell them to other countries.

An unfortunate colonel stumbles onto the plot by accidentally dunking his hand into a can of blue paint. He reacts with utter terror, gasping, “Oh no! My god, no!” - one of the most wonderfully overacted scenes of the year.

The plot proceeds with a similar overabundance of cliché and scarcity of substance. Unfortunately, just as “Knight Rider” avoided telling any particular story, it also avoided telling the audience exactly who Hasselhoff is, what he does for a living or why he has a talking car - questions that might occur to the average viewer.

For this show to have a chance the writers will have to get Hasslehodd more of a character and less of a cliché to work with.

Perhaps a larger role could be worked in for the talented Edward Mulhare, who plays Hasselhoff’s superior and is generally portrayed as being just buffoonish enough to make Hasselhoff’s character seem intelligent by comparison.

Also, the plots must center on more clearcut and plausible conflicts, and the pace of the show must pick up significantly.

Above all, if "Knight Rider” is going to be a car crash show, they better spend a little more on the stunts. Without more impressive stuntwork, NBC really is stuck with nothing more than "My Mother The Car” without a laugh track.

Pretty bizarre, right? The reviewer doesn't know why Michael has a talking car, and doesn't even wonder that hmmm, maybe there was a previous episode. Thirty years later, we get the last laugh.
Join me at Las Vegas Car Stars!
May 14-16 • Las Vegas, NV

User avatar
Posts: 191
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:58 pm

Re: Variety review of Deadly Maneuvers

Post by knightfever » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:35 pm

I'd like to know what this guy thinks about his review now after 4 seasons of the original series, a pretty decent reunion movie, and two spin off series(I don't count 2010), and an internet full of fan fic stories. And not to mention a very successful convention every year. Of course the stunts in the first few episodes weren't spectacular, but they didn't have the budget to do the better stunts yet. They were still on a trial run. I'm glad this guy wasn't in charge of keeping the show on the air. Probably wouldn't have gotten past the first 13 episodes.

User avatar
FLAG Operative
Posts: 1761
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: SD, CA. USA | Web site: (jup's KR game project 'ghosts' here)

Re: Variety review of Deadly Maneuvers

Post by jup » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:58 pm

Hince, why I don't care to go with professional reviewers. It's so nice to have the internet with it's ability to gather multiple reviews from honest, opinionated folks.

Although, I never did regard Deadly Maneuvers as a strong episode. And, always breathed a sigh of relief when the 'Go Army' bumper sticker joke was seen. Most any other episode I'd rather watch then Deadly Maneuvers.

Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2002 7:08 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0

Re: Variety review of Deadly Maneuvers

Post by Amir » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:10 pm

To be fair, he did have some good points. Future car stunts were better and the role of Michael Knight did get, as he asked, "more of a character and less of a cliché to work with". When you look at future episode and seasons it's clearly a case of a show that still had to find itself.

Post Reply