This was obviously a pilot episode for a show that never was and the reasons it never was are obvious. The idea was fine but the execution left a lot to be desired. The flaws are even more apparent after watching the first season episodes and the original pilot in the same DVD set.
The original show had the right idea and concept behind it. The car is the star of the show, it is indestructible, and has an arrogant personality to match. Combine that with the music that keeps you pumped into the action, a bunch of gratuitous explosions, death defying stunts and a pre-Baywatch David Hasselhoff and you have a certifiable 80's hit.
The first misfire in this project was taking the car out of the equation for 60% of it. I can understand that the Knight 4000 Pontiac Banshee was a little more expensive and one of a kind then the Knight 2000 Firebird but they didn't even present us with a single stunt that couldn't have been performed by an '84 Dodge Omni with fake wood paneling. On a positive note the new car itself had the potential of being really cool. The Banshee concept car is a sleek and cool update of the Firebird from the original series and seems to fit what we'd like to see as the KITT of the future. I think they should have painted it black, as a bright Red car tends to stand out almost as much as Starsky and Hutch's striped tomato. I understand they didn't have the budget to make several Banshee's to do the terrific stunts the original show had, but they could have tried a little harder to up the action with the car.
The second big problem was the music. The original score was exactly that, original. You could identify the show by its theme alone; it is almost as famous as the car. Knight Rider 2000 seemed to emphasize the kind of synthesizer music that the worst fare on the sci-fi channel usually gets. It's very soft, it's very soothing and it sounds like it should be on a relaxation tape and not an action show.
Third. I hate the way that shows like this exploit the future or at least how shows used to exploit that great year 2000. It was as if they felt that they could slap the year 2000 on a show and make it seem like is somewhere in the 24th century. They tend to present a time where Utopian societies formed almost overnight and replaced years of humanities attempts to prevent anything of the sort. I'm not holding this critique of this show alone, they did it throughout the 90's almost up to y2k when they realized, you know what it's nearly the year 2000 and society hasn't suddenly and magically morphed into an idealistic utopia like in star trek, nor has it been taken over by rampaging robots or evil computers. So why is it that they, in 1991, would assume for some reason that we would suddenly invent a cryogenic prison system, amazing brain transfer devices, sonic stun guns and the complete outlaw of all handguns by the year 2000. Now if I'm not mistaken things like this usually take about ten to twenty years to perfect and put into real practice, yet they felt that nine years later all of these magical changes would take place. Combine that with their jokes about President Dan Quayle, as if a gun ban would pass under that kind of administration.
The Fourth major issue is once again we find ourselves in an unnamed American city that looks suspiciously like Vancouver. It's like Stargate SG-1 "See the Universe of Vancouver" cause to quote the great Buckaroo Banzai "No mater where you go, there you are." I suppose it's no worse then in the 70's and 80's when every unnamed American city was LA. But it seems to me that when you have an action show against criminals you set it in some place like LA. Not to knock Vancouver's own criminal element, especially in the Utopian future of the year 2000, but Canadian shows always come off as somewhat stale, dry cleaned and pressed in a such a way that seems to brush away the gritty nature of classic American TV.
What is Knight Rider without KITT? I'll tell you what it is; it's David Hasselhoff and his partner running around with a sonic stun gun in a shopping mall. It was the action and the car that made the original show what it was, and by trying to up the science fiction angle to cover for the lack of anything going on in the plot or on the screen it made for a very long hour and a half. Unlike the producers of KR2k Hasselhoff figured out the right way to present this kind of mundane action, and while that show is not remembered for it's plots or it action, it is remembered for all the hot women running around in Bikini's. The failure of this to take off is the same as the failure of Baywatch Nights. David Hasselhoff - hot women in swim suits and - action stunt talking car = something that will be popular in Germany but leave the rest of the world scratching its head.