It was one of the most popular television series of the 1980s, but it still comes as a surprise to hear that Knight Rider will soon be driving back onto screens – as digital platform Machinima is announced as partnering with Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6), NBCUniversal Brand Development, and YOMYOMF, to deliver a series reboot for 2017.
Knight Rider was created by Glen A. Larson as a TV series in 1982, but it was so successful that it spawned an entertainment franchise – including two more series, a spinoff show titled Code Of Vengeance, three TV movies, and a range of novelizations and video games. It also catapulted lead actor David Hasselhoff to stardom, with his role as Michael Knight.
In the original plot, Knight was formerly Police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long, but was gravely wounded in the line of duty. Billionaire Wilton Knight selected him to head up a new venture – the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG), as its primary field agent, under a new identity. KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) was his artificially intelligent, self-aware car, which he used in his fight against crime.
Machinima is a digital network that began as a global YouTube network for gaming and animations based on video game technology – but it has expanded to include original programming, with some live action projects such as Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, and #4Hero. Knight Rider will be a big step for the platform, however, providing the opportunity to collaborate with filmmaker Justin Lin.
CEO Chad Gutstein conveyed the excitement surrounding the venture in a recent press release:
“Knight Rider is an iconic franchise whose concepts of AI and autonomous vehicles were science fiction in the 1980s, and are now science fact. Justin is one of the leading storytellers of his generation and we couldn’t be more excited to work with him on re-invigorating Knight Rider for a new generation of fans.”
For television viewers of a certain age, Knight Rider will hold a great deal of nostalgic value. It was a relatively high concept show, and delivered episodes that featured a fine balance between drama, intrigue and humour every week. In a TV landscape filled with superheroes, police procedurals, and government agents, I for one am excited to see what Justin Lin and Machinima do with the Knight Rider property.