Classic TV Entertainment, Movies and Books

The Short History of Knight Rider

As of this writing, it’s been confirmed that the beloved 80s action-crime TV series Knight Rider (1982-1986) is getting a digital reboot. Producer and director Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious) is tapped to helm the latest version of the series. It may be appropriate since Lin loves cars and from the looks of it, he is the perfect choice to helm the reboot.

This piece of news will surely excite Knight Rider fans. Since we’re into this subject anyway, you might be interested to know how Knight Rider came into being, became a popular 80s TV series, ended up as a successful franchise, and remains a cult classic. Here’s a short history:

The classic Knight Rider 80s series — the core of the franchise — was the brainchild of by the late TV producer Glen A. Larson. He was also behind other hit TV series Battlestar Galactica, The Fall Guy, B.J. and the Bear, and Magnum, P.I., among many others.

Actor David Hasselhoff, who had just attained some measure of popularity as Dr. Snapper Foster on The Young and the Restless, was chosen by NBC to star the title role as Michael Knight on the new series Knight Rider in 1982. Michael Knight is an agent working for the crime-fighting Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG).

David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight

Michael Knight’s partner in busting crime was an advanced artificially intelligent, self-aware, self-healing and almost indestructible Pontiac called Knight Industries Three Thousand or KITT. It was voiced by actor William Daniels.

Knight Rider became successful, spending a total of four seasons. Sometimes, people refer the original series as “The KITT Show” because it’s all about Hasselhoff and his super-intelligent talking car.

Do you know that there are two other TV series (so far) that came after the original 80s one? The second TV series in the Knight Rider franchise, Team Knight Rider, was released over 10 years after the original series. As the title suggests, FLAG has assembled a new five-member team to continue the crime-fighting mission left behind by Michael Knight and his supercar KITT. The character Michael Knight appears on the final episode of the season (and of the entire series), but he’s only seen from behind. It spent a total of one season (1997-1998).

Team Knight Rider was then followed by another series, simply titled as Knight Rider (2008-2009). It stars Justin Bruening as Mike Traceur, the estranged son of Michael Knight who takes up the job at FLAG as the driver of the new generation of KITT (voiced by actor Val Kilmer). The series was canceled due to poor ratings.

The Knight Rider franchise has also rolled out three movies:

Knight Rider 2000 (1991) –  Technically, it was the television movie follow-up to the successful original series. Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and his upgraded KITT reunite to continue in their crime-fighting mission. KITT’s “brain,” this time, resides inside a Chevy.

Knight Rider 2010 (1994) – Another made-for-TV movie follow-up to the Knight Rider 2000. The movie has little in common to the Knight Rider basic concept and instead it follows a story of a man, in search of justice, and his talking car. For the first time, the car (that doesn’t even resemble KITT) has a female voice.

Knight Rider (2008) – Another TV movie, Knight Rider served as a backdoor pilot for the upcoming new Knight Rider reboot. The movie follows the story of Michael Knight’s estranged son Michael Traceur (played by Justin Bruening) teaming up with his allies as well as the upgraded version of KITT as they continue to fight crime. The movie became a success, and led to a new series simply titled as Knight Rider which is mentioned earlier.

The Knight Rider franchise also spawned four video games: Knight Rider (1988), Knight Rider Special (1994), Knight Rider: The Game (2002) and Knight Rider: The Game 2 (2004).

And with the upcoming 2018 Knight Rider reboot in the works as of this writing, signs have been really promising. Fans of the Knight Rider are aware that while the reboot won’t be as close as the original series (and they know that it will never be the same without David Hasselhoff), they still hope that it will be a good show.