Knight Rider (2008)

Common Sense Media says

Racy, action-heavy '80s retread isn't for kids.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Michael and KITT work for a shadowy organization dedicated to fighting bad guys, and though the lines between good and evil are clearly drawn, the missions are vague. It's not always clear why Michael needs to retrieve some data file or obtain some briefcase -- but when the thuggish bad guys appear, brandishing heavy weapons, needles full of nasty-looking drugs, or just a bad attitude, it couldn't be more clear that these are villains who need to be "taken out." What's much less clear is what doing that will achieve, or how it will make the world a better place.

Violence

Lots and lots of car chases, usually at high speed and sometimes weaving through traffic. Other action includes shootouts, fistfights, martial arts combat, and other battles, though there's little blood or gore and few injuries (in some cases, the lack of blood is quite unrealistic, given the type of injuries that are incurred). Many of the villains are clichéd thugs who are happy to menace and intimidate others using weapons and the threat of violence.

Sex

Michael is an incorrigible womanizer and is frequently shown flirting with women (and sometimes more). In some scenes he wakes up in bed with one or more women, and several characters discuss his bedroom habits. Other characters are also shown in bed, implying sexual behavior that includes one-night stands. Women are often shown in slinky attire, as well as sometimes changing clothes or in their underwear, and the men ogle them -- though there's no nudity. Some characters flirt shamelessly (often using very suggestive innuendo) and discuss pornography.

Language

Some use of words like "damn" and "hell."

Consumerism

Though KITT can transform itself into many types of vehicles, its preferred form is a Ford Mustang GT500KR. Just to make sure nobody misses this, the logo is emblazoned on the headrests and is highly visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking at parties and talk of drinking. Characters occasionally wake up amid the detritus of a party, including many empty beer bottles.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this retread of the well-known '80s series is too racy for this generation of kids -- and too poorly made to please old-school fans. In addition to very frequent car chases, there's plenty of other action featuring fists, guns, and other weapons. Plus, hero Michael Traceur is a lot more promiscuous than David Hasselhoff's Michael Knight was in the '80s, sometimes ending up in bed with one or more women. For no apparent reason, women also often appear in slinky outfits and sometimes in their underwear, and there's a fair bit of sexual innuendo, some heavily charged flirting, occasional drinking, and one very, very obvious product placement (hint: it's the car).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A former Army Ranger with several blank spots in his memory, a background as a race car driver, and plenty of derring-do, Michael Traceur (Justin Bruening) is the estranged son of Michael Knight, hero of the original Knight Rider. Just like his father, Traceur carries out dangerous missions with the help of a very special artificial-intelligence vehicle, the Knight Industries Three Thousand -- aka KITT (voiced by Val Kilmer). The car's powerful systems offer Traceur plenty of help: Its sensors can locate missing people; it can spot the bad guys inside a building and transmit step-by-step directions to a tiny receiver in Traceur's ear; it's heavily armed, bulletproof, and really, really fast (which sure comes in handy during the frequent car chases); and, when necessary, it can completely transform itself into several other types of vehicles.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Sure, it's cool, but almost a decade into the 21st century -- when everyone has a cell phone, GPS systems provide directions, and people can use the Internet to find out almost anything about anyone -- a talking car just doesn't seem that special anymore. So when Traceur heads off on his generic missions (download files from a foreign embassy's computers, retrieve some "package," etc.), KITT doesn't always seem to give him much of an edge over the bad guys. While the transforming vehicle effect is pretty neat, even that comes straight out of Transformers, where it was done much better. And the spy sequences all come from the same playbook as Mission: Impossible.

And, unfortunately, there's not much else to the series besides the cool car (which is obviously and repeatedly identified as a Ford Mustang GT500KR) and the careworn formula of a mysterious loner tapped by some shadowy agency to take on dangerous tasks of urgent importance with the help of some really nifty gadgets. The original show was fun but seems dated today, while this new version is flat and uninspired. Traceur's tasks seem bolted onto the script to provide some transition between the action scenes -- car chases, martial arts fights, and shootouts -- and what passes as a romantic subplot between incorrigible womanizer Traceur and colleague/former girlfriend Sarah Graiman (Deanna Russo), who often appears in her underwear for no obvious reason and whose scientist father, Charles Graiman (Bruce Davison), developed both KITTs. While the original series drove off into the sunset as a hit, this one doesn't even get out of the garage.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why producers decided to make the new version of this show so much edgier than the original. What audience do you think they're trying to appeal to -- today's young fans, or people who watched the '80s show when they were young? Why do you think this show was chosen for an update in the first place? A thinking car seemed pretty far-fetched in the '80s, which was part of its appeal. Does the idea still seem futuristic, or does the new version of KITT seem plausible, given the 21st-century technology that's already available? Families can also discuss what makes one action/thriller show stand out from another. Does a series need to have a "gimmick" (like an intelligent car) to succeed?

TV details

Cast:Bruce Davison, Deanna Russo, Justin Bruening
Network:NBC
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Knight Rider (2008) was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of an infant, infant, 3, and 5 year old Written byMississippiQueen January 7, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
Teen, 13 years old Written bytwilighter3777339 December 30, 2008
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

It's OK........

Knight Rider is pretty good. I'm not saying that it's great. Just ok. I think that it has A LOT more violence than the common sense crowd let on. The sexual situations don't belong in a TV PG (sometimes) rated show either. Michael obviously, as the commonsense reviews say, a womanizer. He can't seem to make up his mind, and is overly obsessed with hot women. I think that this show should always be rated TV 14 and with households that have an older kid, PLEASE dont, DO NOT let the younger kids see this show. Girls (like myself)will find Michael attractive, all for the reason that he's super hot, and not on the fact that he has either no or very little morals and is a bad boy that would be better off living with his mother and staying away from Kit and Sarah.

Adult Written bycritique February 3, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

NEW KNIGHT RIDER IS SHOWING VAST SCRIPT IMPROVEMENT

With the two part episode the atomic device was expelled from KITT at 51,000 feet from the cargo plane, TOUCHE' NBC and continue from the bank robbery of recent, Writers keep taking the scripts the further you many are.
You all now have the terrific chance to compete with other challenging shows stories; i.e. Sarah Conner Chronicles, 11th Hour, Santuary. These are within the parameters of A.I. story telling and Michael Knight character.
Keep KITT coming, thanks

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