From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Sofa Sunday: Knight Rider Shows Off Its Geek Cred

I’ll admit something embarrassing: I watch the new Knight Rider. I know, I know! Shame on me! But here’s something you might not know about the show: it doesn’t totally suck. In fact, when comparing it to the original show, it’s not any more cheesy or less well-written. It’s not great TV, but it’s not My Own Worst Enemy bad.

Why do I watch it, you ask? I have to admit it was a combination of boredom and curiosity. The first episode was the curiosity — how bad will it be? I wondered. Not as bad as I assumed. But the guy playing Michael Knight (son of the Hoff’s original character) isn’t bad to look at, and neither is Sydney Tamiia Poitier. Plus Bruce Davidson is always good for a laugh.

The boredom part comes in late at night, when I’ve watched all the good shows on Hulu and, and need something to get me through the final part of my knitting. Knight Rider is more fun to watch than ALF… most of the time.

Like last week’s episode, “Knight of the Living Dead” (yes, all titles are puns on the word Knight… ugh), where the employees of Knight Industries dress up for Halloween. The show opens on one of the techs (Billy, a slightly geeky dude who always manages to reverse the polarity or whatever at the last minute) prancing around in a long coat. When I first saw this, I was like, “Why does that look so familiar?” Then I realized why and my brain turned inside out.

Dude was dressed at Captain Jack Harkness.

And then he says it!! “I’m Captain Jack! …you know, Torchwood, Doctor Who, c’mon!”

Then begins a discussion as to whether Jack is gay or not and if Billy is trying to tell them all something with his costume.

The episode pretty much goes downhill from there. (Evil infiltrator is evil. Also, there was once a Knight Industries project called KARR. KARR. Jesus.) But those few minutes filled me with a respect for the show’s writers. Too often with shows like this — centered around some clearly SFnal object but otherwise based in reality — the creators try to convince the audience that they aren’t SF or geeky or anything but mainstream. In this episode they waved a big rainbow flag, shouting, “Look how f’ing geeky we are, we watch Doctor Who!” That is all kinds of awesome.

Check it out for yourself below. The Captain Jack joke happens in the first 3 minutes, so you can stop after that. Or you can keep watching to see KITT’s Halloween costume and hear Bruce Davidson say earnestly, “Of course I put a secret self-destruct program in KITT, I don’t want to have another KARR on my hands!!”


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