February 8, 2006

DVD Review: Knight Rider - Season Three

Fast cars, hot women, criminal intrigue, and a wardrobe of shirts with missing buttons. Michael Knight and KITT return for another season of crime fighting 80's style action. This was one of my favorite shows growing up as a child of the 80's (well, 70's, but it was 80's TV that grabbed me). There was nothing quite like the action television of the era.

Watching this show on DVD, for the first time since it originally aired, brought back a flood of childhood memories of planting myself in front of the TV for this and A-Team and Magnum PI. Far and away Knight Rider was my favorite, I think it was the car.

This season, like the others, and most of the shows I liked, did not rely on any type of story arc or internal continuity. The stories are stand alone, and follow the formula that made the show successful for its four years of existence. The show tends to start with Michael Knight returning from time off, trying to take time off, or just driving around. That is followed by the reveal of the bad guy, and Michael being sent in to uncover and capture the bad guys. Along the way there will be fist fights, car chases, and a girl.

There is nothing revolutionary about the show. It was pure high concept, and highly entertaining at that. However, as much nostalgia as watching this induced, it also seemed terribly dated. It just oozes the 80's, from the dated clothing and old cars, to the language and David Hasselhoff's inability to button his shirt, or run in those jeans.

This season has Knight and KITT facing off with such foes as jewel thieves, street racers, cattle thieves, and truckers. An evil lot, to be sure, but they could always be put down with a well placed karate chop. Oh yeah, this season also featured the return of KITT's evil precursor, KARR, who is dead set on eliminating KITT and Michael.

Overall, this season is a lot of fun. Suave Michael always getting the girl, KITT always getting in the final word, and plenty of car driving action. This is a show to be remembered, despite its shortcomings. Oh the days when all that was needed was the high concept. Today, TV cannot survive on concept alone.

Audio. The sound is a good sounding Dolby Digital 2.0. Dialog is always crisp and clear, no evidence of any hiss, and the synth score sounds good. Nice mix for the set.

Video. Presented in all it's 1.33:1 glory, it looks good. The colors are crisp, if slightly to the muted side, blacks are deep and you can see good detail. This is probably the best the series has looked, ever.

Extras. There is a single extra, an episode from season 4.
-"Knight of the Rising Son" - Michael and KITT attempt to help a businessman from being sabotaged by a rival Japanese businessman. This episode answered my questions of when RC joined the cast and when KITT gained the turbo pursuit mode.

Bottomline. This is a fun set. The series excelled at bringing the action to the small screen. Great concept, fun execution, and a nice transfer.

Recommended. *** / *****


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