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Hercules Declares NBC’s
New Scripted Hourlong So Far!!

I am – Hercules!!
Last February’s horrible “Knight Rider” TV-movie has spawned an equally horrible series scripted by “Las Vegas”/”The Fast and the Furious” creator Gary Scott Thompson. The first episode’s plot involves a nebbish who’s both smart enough to encode a digital secret into his DNA and stupid enough to encode a digital secret into his DNA (where anybody can get at it via a hair follicle, a Q-tip swab of his inner cheek, or a wholly unnecessary dismemberment). There’s also a platoon of super-scientists and a car with a supercomputer brain. None of them can figure out that a flaming car can be extinguished by driving it into the nearest pool of water found on Google Maps. Also, even though there’s a flaming car motoring down the highway at 300 mph, no one bothers to alert the cops (or the fire department). Mannequin-like actors rattle off lazy, clichéd dialogue and miserable excuses for quippery. It’s so relentlessly puerile 12-year-olds will dismiss it as a show for 8-year-olds. I can't call it the worst hourlong because Fox, gods love it, already premiered "Hole in the Wall." Those with access to the Internet have been able to watch the series’ preposterously banal first episode since last week, but now – in anticipation of the show’s official premiere tonight – the critics weigh in with their appraisals. USA Today gives it one star (out of four) and says:
… There is much to despise in Knight Rider, a shockingly incompetent, barely coherent, ad-driven rip-off … Instead of just aiming the show at children, maybe NBC should let them write and perform it. They could hardly do worse.
The New York Times says:
… a staggering bore …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… Unlike the darkly reconceived "Battlestar Galactica" or the also darkly reconceived but ill-fated "Bionic Woman," and notwithstanding an ominously dark hole in Mike's memory, the remade "Knight Rider" is fundamentally of a piece with its predecessor. As drama and as spectacle, and with a remarkable lack of irony, it re-creates the cheesy sci-fi adventure from the 1980s. …
The Chicago Sun-Times says:
… The only thing that KITT (voiced by Val Kilmer, who delivers every line so flat, you'd swear someone hooked up the Hal 9000 from "2001: A Space Odyssey" to a morphine drip) can't do is write a better script. Like the Edsel, this "Knight Rider" remount is one heck of a lemon. … I'd be inclined to dismiss this as lighthearted children's fare, like David Hasselhoff's original "Knight Rider" from the '80s, but the violence, dialogue and skin shown on this version aren't exactly kid-friendly. Not even kids should have to suffer through this, though. Here's hoping KITT and crew get booted.
The Washington Post says:
… Zzzzzz. …
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… heinously bad. It's the kind of bad that sells cheese or gets entertainment presidents fired - one or the other, or both. Of course, anyone who would watch "Knight Rider" anyway - given the show's history of low expectations and the NBC movie that reinvented it - probably knows what they're getting into and won't mind that it's spectacularly awful. For some people, taste is not a choice in life. … probably the dumbest show of the season …
The Salt Lake Tribune says:
… an insipid, banal and cheap-looking remake of the David Hasselhof action series that plays more like a 60-minute Ford commercial. … a car show strictly for the junk yard.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… Above all, the show is just sloppy. A plane lands in Washington, D.C., and there are mountains surrounding the runway. The Knight Industries team learns two members may burn to death and they respond with big smiles, saying, "This just got interesting!" … the show gives us no reason to care, in part because Bruening's performance is often tentative and borderline wooden. …
The Boston Globe says:
… a vacuous vicious circle that is almost comically nonsensical - almost. The NBC show wants to be high-octane fun, something like Matt Damon's Jason Bourne movies with a Batmobile, but it's so poorly directed and listlessly acted … Everything - the characters, the action - seems stubbornly flat. The atmosphere of "Knight Rider" is certainly artificial, but it's not very intelligent.
The Associated Press says:
… lots of cartoony gunplay, explosions and turbocharged computer effects. Bad guys who go, "We can do this the easy way, or the very, very hard way." And a missing data "package" that (as we are repeatedly told) is "vital to national security." … the real inspiration is the product-placement deal struck with a major auto maker. "Knight Rider" isn't so much an action-adventure show as a high-octane commercial. …
Variety says:
The "Knight Rider" revival movie set the bar low in terms of expectations, and damned if the series premiere still doesn't go skidding under it. Frankly, this convoluted hour sent me scurrying to NBC's website looking for clarification about the plot, but -- whew, what a relief -- there really isn't much of one. … NBC got lucky once, but even with marginal competition it's hard to imagine there's much left in the tank for this as a series -- unless, perhaps, gas shoots back above $4 a gallon and people yearn for the cheap, vicarious thrill of watching somebody else waste fuel.
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… Of course, everything that made the original fun and unique has effectively been scrubbed away from this new edition that's all about high-tech gadgetry, speed and sex and only the tiniest shred about story and personality. The gambit surrounding KITT the talking car is no longer a gimmick so much as a device to attach a James Bond-ish edge to an hour devoid of soul. …
8 p.m. Wednesday. NBC.

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