Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Knight Rider - Knight of the Phoenix

Knight Rider - Knight of the Phoenix
Original Airdate: September 26, 1982

 Hoff Behind the Wheel
Episode Description:
When police officer Michael Long is shot and left for dead, his dying body is found by the Foundation for Law and Government.  Rather than take him to a hospital, they abduct him to the mansion of weirdo billionaire Wilton Knight, who has his own team of doctors perform plastic surgery on Long without his consent, in order to make him look identical to Wilton's evil criminal son Garthe Knight.  To make up for this horrible violation, they give a Michael a new identity as Michael Knight, and a talking car with super powers.  Michael is then able to use his new face and super-car to bring his own "murderers" to justice, and then teams up with the Foundation to fight crime as "Knight Rider."
Wait, what?  They brought in OSCAR GOLDMAN to perform Michael's reconstructive surgery!  Does that mean Michael is BIONIC?  If so, does that mean that Michael is performing all of the Turbo Boosts and stuff himself, and his car is just a regular Trans Am?  That would make the talking KITT just a hallucination of his brain, which can't cope with the idea that he has a different face AND super powers!  Hopefully I just blew your mind, readers.

So, this is the first episode of Knight Rider, and it's some fun, but strange, stuff.  First off, they did a great job of casting the actor who plays Michael Long, before he gets plastic surger-fied into David Hassellhoff.  The resemblance is close enough that you can believe it's the same guy just looking a little different.  The whole plastic surgery thing is weird, though.  The part where he is made to look exactly like Wilton Knight's evil son Garthe is not actually mentioned in the episode, I think that's actually a retcon that they added in season 2.  Instead, they claim they didn't know what he looked like and the surgeons had to reconstruct his face taking a best guess as to how he should look.  But that is nonsense, they knew he was police officer Michael Long, certainly there must be drivers license photos, other photos, fellow police officers who knew him and could describe him... it just doesn't make any sense.

David Hasselhoff summons every ounce of emotion from his actors' toolbox to show the confusion and dismay his character feels to wake up with a new face.
Second, Michael Long drove a Trans Am, and when he sees KITT, he is convinced that it is his Trans Am.  But it's clearly not the same car.  Long's car did not have a glowing red Cylon eye on the front, or a crazy high-tech dash board.  Does he just assume that every black Trans Am he sees is his?  This also doesn't make sense.

In a darkened room, KITT's Cylon eye stares at Michael... framed between his legs.  This seems oddly eroticized.  Are we sure that Michael and KITT are just friends?
Of course, I'm complaining abou logic in a "buddy cop" show where one of the buddies is a magical* talking car with super powers, so I'm clearly missing the point.  It's just a bunch of fun, 1980s nonsense, and on that score the show is a great success.

* Yes, I know, it's not "magic," it's science fiction.  But it's not really SCIENCE science-fiction, now is it?  The car basically does whatever nonsense they need it to do from episode to episode.


More screencaps after the break...

"Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law."

"Starring David Hasselhoff, former soap opera star and Speedo model, as Michael Knight Rider!"

"Las Vegas, Las Vegas, that toddlin' town..."

 Phyllis Diller?!   Ah hell no!  Oh wait... Phyllis DAVIS.  Well that's O.K., I guess.

It just isn't a Vegas montage without Wayne Newton.

Always bet on black!  ...Or red!  One of the two, for sure!

Lounge Singers

Micro Camera Espionage!

Rainbow colored computer cable thing!

Look out criminals, Fenton Hardy is on the case!

Welcome to Hogwart's, Michael!

Earthquake Lie Detector

"Medical Equipment"


KITT's garage is guarded by DEVO!

Time for Hasselhoff's Big Musical Number

"Hello, thank you for calling COMPTRON, how may I take your order?"

As a running gag, a jive-talking black man and a thick-accented Hispanic constantly try and steal KITT throughout the episode.  Because apparently racism was considered to be light-hearted entertainment in 1982.

KITT Breaks Michael out of Jail

Cops try to kill Michael

Ka-Boom!  The End!

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