HTF Review: Knight Rider - Season Two

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Jason Perez, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. Jason Perez

    Jason Perez Second Unit

    Jul 6, 2003
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    Knight Rider: Season Two

    Studio: Universal
    Year: 1983 - 1984
    Rated: Not Rated
    Program Length: 19 Hours and 33 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
    Captions: English
    Subtitles: French and Spanish
    Audio: Episodes: English – Monaural (2.0)

    Release Date:
    April 12th, 2005

    How crazy were the 1980s? Well, among other things, like yuppies and hair-metal, the decade saw the emergence of a man named David Hasselhoff, who overcame his inability to act and made pleather jackets, always-in-place curly hair, and a talking car seem like the coolest things ever!

    Hasselhoff was propelled to stardom by the series Knight Rider, which debuted in 1982, and was (in executive producer Glen A. Larson’s own words) based upon a “bullshit premise”. That being said, Mr. Larson was careful to ground as much of it as possible in reality, and to surround David Hasselhoff with more talented actors, so the audience would buy into his B.S. premise. This, coupled with the enthusiastic way in which the stories were told, made Knight Rider one of the break-out hits of the 1982 television season, and especially popular with children.

    Larson’s philosophy gave the show staying power too, as Knight Rider ran for 84 episodes (six were two-hours long) over four years! Thus, I guess it is fair to say that Glen A. Larson, who also executive produced The Fall Guy, Magnum P.I., and Battlestar Galactica knew a thing or two about putting together a successful television show!

    The debut episode of Knight Rider chronicled how a dying millionaire named Wilton Knight (Richard Basehart) rescued a young detective who had been shot in the face, and gave him a second chance to bring justice to the dishonest as Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff). Michael would bring about this justice in an incredibly advanced car, powered by the Knight Industries Two Thousand microprocessor, or K.I.T.T. (voiced by William Daniels). This sleek, totally customized Pontiac Trans-Am was invulnerable to almost any attack, could reach speeds of up to 300 miles-per-hour, easily jump obstacles, and was outfitted with an impressive array of sensors and weaponry. Better still, it could help Michael score with the ladies! [​IMG]

    Most importantly though, the car contained the sophisticated artificial intelligence unit mentioned above, through which it could talk with Michael. Not only that, but K.I.T.T. had a unique personality which made for some comical interactions between Michael and his ride. In addition to adding some levity to the show, Michael’s ability to talk to K.I.T.T. meant he could call for aid when he was in a jam, or have K.I.T.T. cut escaping criminals off at the pass.

    To fund this highly advanced and hugely expensive crime-fighting venture, the late Wilton Knight enlisted his trusted associate Devon Miles (Edward Mulhare), to manage the operation, called the Foundation for Law and Government, after his death. Michael, with Devon usually along for the ride, conducted most of their missions out of an eighteen-wheeler that served as a mobile command center, and which housed the equipment needed to maintain K.I.T.T.

    The truck also served as a home to another member of the team, an attractive mechanic named Bonnie Barstow (Patricia McPherson), who kept K.I.T.T. in good working order and served as eye candy for the show’s demographic! And together, this team sought to put Wilton Knight’s money to good use by bringing criminals to justice and protecting the innocent.

    NOTE: During the second season, K.I.T.T. had a new mechanic named April Curtis (Rebecca Holden). Apparently, Patricia McPherson demanded that the Knight Rider’s producers enhance her character, and she ended up getting a season off instead! Bonnie Barstow did return, however, at the beginning of the season three.

    Without further adieu, then, let’s take a brief look at some of the adventures Michael and K.I.T.T. shared during the second season of their hit television show, which was even more fun, exciting, and cheesy than the first season!

    DISC ONE (Side A):

    --- “Goliath (Parts One & Two)” – Air Date 10/2/1983
    In this great beginning to season two, Michael and K.I.T.T. battle an armored truck built by Wilton Knight’s ex-wife (Barbara Rush) and estranged son Garthe (David Hasselhoff in a bad moustache), who is attempting to steal nuclear missiles from a top-secret government installation.

    --- “Brother’s Keeper” – Air Date 10/9/1983
    In this episode, Michael is planted in prison to break an inmate that might hold they key to finding a bomb planted by a terrorist (Gerald Gordon) out of jail. Matters are complicated by the fact that, Michael and K.I.T.T. must also avoid the authorities while trying to locate the explosive device.

    --- “Merchants of Death” – Air Date 10/16/1983
    In this installment (another great one), Michael and K.I.T.T. are sent to investigate the disappearance of one of Devon’s former lovers. Their search leads them into battle against a heavily armed attack helicopter that has been put up for sale on the black market.

    DISC ONE (Side B):

    --- “Blind Spot” – Air Date 10/23/1983
    “Blind Spot” chronicles Michael’s investigation into a businessman who is thought to be exploiting illegal immigrants. As the episode proceeds, Michael is forced to protect a blind woman, who is the only witness to the businessman’s crimes.

    --- “Return to Cadiz” – Air Date 10/301983
    This episode begins with the scheduled test of a device that will allow K.I.T.T. to drive on water. Unfortunately, the test is scrapped when K.I.T.T. detects the presence of an injured scuba diver. After Michael saves the man’s life, he learns that the diver found a priceless treasure from a sunken ship, and that said treasure is one that another treasure hunter wants to get his hands on – at any cost!

    --- “K.I.T.T. the Cat” – Air Date 11/6/1983
    This time out, Michael tries to apprehend a burglar before an obsessed police officer does. This episode is notable, in that it features a guest appearance from acclaimed actress/skilled archer Geena Davis.

    --- “Custom K.I.T.T.” – Air Date 11/13/1983
    In “Custom K.I.T.T., Michael hopes to catch a group of car thieves by using K.I.T.T. as bait.

    DISC TWO (Side A):

    --- “Soul Survivor” – Air Date 11/27/1983
    This episode, which co-stars the great Robert Pastorelli, tells the story of how Michael loses K.I.T.T. to a criminal who intends to use the crime-stopping super car to pull off a heist. Matters are complicated when the perpetrators also remove K.I.T.T.’s processing unit, but fortunately, April is able to transplant the AI unit into a small television set, from where K.I.T.T. tries to help Michael recover the vehicle and bring them to justice.

    --- “Ring of Fire” – Air Date 12/4/1983
    In “Ring of Fire”, Michael tackles domestic violence, by fighting to protect a woman from her abusive husband, who is also a fugitive from justice, in the bayous of Louisiana.

    --- “Knightmares” – Air Date 12/11/1983
    In this installment of Knight Rider Michael sustains a head injury during an investigation that causes him to revert to his former self - policeman Michael Long. Subsequently, he checks himself out of the hospital to find that his appearance has changed, his apartment complex no longer exists, and he has been presumed dead. As such, K.I.T.T. is forced to try and help Michael snap out of his mental state and solve the case he was investigating.

    --- “Silent Knight” – Air Date 12/18/1983
    In his latest adventure, Michael is preparing to celebrate the holidays by attending a Christmas banquet when he encounters a young gypsy boy running from a trio of bank-robbers, from whom the youth stole a watch. In addition to being valuable, the timepiece is the only evidence that can link the bandits to the robbery, so they will stop at nothing to retake it. Poor Michael…the guy can never relax! [​IMG]

    DISC TWO (Side B):

    --- “A Knight in Shining Armor” – Air Date 1/8/1984
    After a renowned explorer (and friend of Devon's) is murdered in the Foundation’s guest house, Michael is sent to protect the man’s brash daughter from a madman who is obsessed with a lost treasure discovered by the girl’s father.

    --- “Diamonds Aren’t a Girl’s Best Friend” – Air Date 1/15/1984
    In “Diamonds…” Michael heads to Mexico City, with the intention of apprehending a talent agent that has been using models to smuggle diamonds into the United States.

    --- “White Line Warriors” – Air Date 1/29/1984
    This time out, Michael looks into the allegation that the members of a car club have committed a series of burglaries in a quiet community.

    --- “Race for Life” – Air Date 2/5/1984
    With the life of April’s niece hanging in the balance, Michael must race against time to track down a gang member who appears to be the only person capable of donating the bone marrow she needs. As you might have expected, the mission is more complicated than that - their mark is being pursued by a rival gang, and is not exactly willing to donate his bone marrow.

    DISC THREE (Side A):

    --- “Speed Demons” – Air Date 2/12/1984
    In “Speed Demons”, Michael and K.I.T.T. are dispatched when an anonymous letter warns the Foundation that a killer may strike at a motorcycle race they are sponsoring. To prevent another death, the duo enters the race, as a four-wheeled motorcycle team!

    --- “Goliath Returns (Parts One & Two)” – Air Date 2/19/1984
    This is another great two-part episode, featuring Garthe Knight, who is really pissed at Michael, abducting Devon, April, and a renowned scientist to force a showdown between K.I.T.T. and Goliath, which was rebuilt and improved by Adrianne St. Clair (Ann Turkel).

    --- “A Good Knight’s Work” – Air Date 3/4/1984
    In this installment, the sinister Cameron Zachary (John Vernon) discovers Michael’s former identity, and seeks to avenge his former lover, the woman who shot Michael Long. Just for good measure, Mr. Zachary also plans to steal K.I.T.T.

    DISC THREE (Side B):

    --- “Mouth of the Snake (a.k.a. All That Glitters) Parts One & Two” – Air Date 4/8/1984
    While investigating the murder of a famous lawyer, Michael forms an alliance with a government agent and the lawyer’s widow, to unlock the mystery behind a stolen rocket launcher.

    --- “Let It Be Me” – Air Date 5/13/1984
    In “Let It Be Me”, Michael investigates the murder of a musician by posing as a singer in the rock band Class Action, and unexpectedly encounters his former girlfriend Stevie (Catherine Hickland), who had romantic ties to the deceased.

    NOTE: This episode marks the last appearance of actress Rebecca Holden, and her character, April Curtis.

    --- “Heavy Iron” – Air Date 5/27/1984
    The last episode from season two chronicles Michael and K.I.T.T.’s investigation into the theft of heavy-duty construction equipment. Unfortunately, their investigation comes to an abrupt halt when they are pushed into a quarry and buried underneath tons of gravel.

    All of the episodes from Knight Rider’s second season year presented by Universal in their proper full-frame aspect ratio (1.33:1), which is how they were broadcast. Having reviewed the Season One set, I was not surprised to see how good these episodes generally look, with only a few minor exceptions.

    Starting on a positive note, while colors have are slightly flat in appearance, they are never marred by dot crawl or color banding. As evidenced by K.I.T.T.’s exterior, Michael’s “pleather” jacket, and dimly lit environments, blacks are also quite deep and well defined, leading to a pleasing (though unspectacular) amount of shadow delineation and image depth. Although this was expected, image clarity and detail are also markedly improved over the television broadcasts, although grain and minor imperfections in the print are frequently visible.

    As was the case with the Season One set, these positive aspects of the set’s image quality are offset somewhat by the appearance of edge enhancement, which causes noticeable ringing around light-to-dark transitions. Another irritation is that there are a handful of scenes sprinkled throughout the episodes that do not look as good as the vast majority do, which can create quite a distraction, despite the fact that such occurrences are generally very brief! Tolerances to these things will vary, of course, so it may bother you less / more than it bothered me…and I think the problem is exacerbated because the episodes look so clean overall.

    All things considered, the episodes from Knight Rider’s second year look about as good as they ever have, so I imagine most fans will be quite pleased, despite the presence of a few brief but distracting shifts in image quality and edge enhancement halos.

    Much like this set’s image quality, the monaural Dolby Digital (2.0) mixes provided for these Knight Rider episodes are better than expected, but fall shy of reaching greatness. Getting right to business, I am pleased to report that characters’ speech is intelligible and clearly reproduced, although on rare occasions dialogue sounded slightly shrill. I also did not detect any major distractions during these episodes – no distortion, no hissing, etc., and the show’s instantly recognizable main theme is also reproduced very nicely.

    On the other hand, frequency response is not much better than average, particularly in the lower registers, which means that the frequent explosions, gunshots, and car crashes do not pack the wallop I was hoping for. Further, as might be expected from a monaural presentation of a television show, the soundstage is not quite as involving and spacious as the surround mixes of today. Even so, these tracks are not too shabby, as 20-year-old television product goes, so I think the vast majority of this show’s fans will find little fault with them.


    There are no extras included with Season Two, just the episodes. All you get is the following promotional materials:

    Promotional Materials
    The set contains promotional “trailers” for the following upcoming DVD releases:
    Magnum P.I. – The Complete Second Season, Knight Rider – The Complete Second Season, The A-Team: Season Two, Miami Vice: Season One, and Meet the Fockers, as well as previews of a couple of videogames.


    (on a five-point scale)
    Episodes: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Video: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Audio: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Overall: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    You can laugh at me all you want, but I think Knight Rider was a pretty cool show! Not only did it survive against Dallas, but it was fresh and exciting (in its time), as it featured a car as its co-star! Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, and William Daniels all worked very well together (remarkable considering that Daniels was never on the set), and the show is still surprisingly fun to watch!

    Sure, it is definitely not as well written as some of today’s television shows, but at the very least it has aged better than some of its contemporaries, like The A-Team. Moreover, season two, which featured spectacular battles between K.I.T.T. and the super-semi truck Goliath and a heavily armed attack helicopter, was arguably the best season of Knight Rider’s four year run.

    As far as presentation is concerned, when compared against the Season One DVD set, which contained several featurettes, a commentary for the pilot, and the feature-length Knight Rider 2000 movie, this set is a disappointment, as it is completely devoid of bonus materials! Still, the image and sound quality are solid this time around as well, and surely beat broadcast quality!

    All things considered, if you still have a place in your heart for Knight Rider then this set is an easy recommendation, despite the lack of bonus features! Are you ready for another “shadowy 19 hour and 33 minute flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist”? I know I am! [​IMG]

    Stay tuned…
  2. RogerH

    RogerH Supporting Actor

    Oct 28, 2004
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    I totally agree I'm almost finished watching the set (On side b of disc 3 now). Bring on Season 3 which contains my fav episode of the series [​IMG]
  3. Pete Battista

    Pete Battista Screenwriter

    Sep 20, 1999
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    Shepherdsville, KY. USA
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    Thanks Jason..
    I haven't gotten the chance to get season 2 yet... but I have a birthday coming up so maybe I will get lucky! :p)Either way... I am planning to have this set before to long. [​IMG]

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