Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:February 19th, 2008 04:54 EST
After 25 years, the legacy of Knight Rider lives on

After 25 years, the legacy of Knight Rider lives on

By Garrett Godwin

"Knight Rider: a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist" In the fall of 1982, Glen A. Larson created an unlikely series that revolves around a crime-fighting talking car.  Though some called it a gimmick, it was a gimmick that worked.  The series was called Knight Rider.

Before he was King of the Beach on Baywatch, David Hasselhoff was the modern-day Lone Ranger from 1982 to 1986 on NBC.  A former police officer named Michael Long that was shot and left for dead; he was resurrected by dying billionaire Wilton Knight and the Foundation for Law & Government (FLAG) as Michael Knight, "a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, and the powerless, in a world of criminals that operates above the law". With the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT) as Tonto, Michael and his new partner formed an invincible partnership and unforgettable friendship, going from town to town, fighting the forces of evil on behalf of those that can't fight for themselves.

Knight Rider was a hit with both viewers of all ages.  For women, it was about the Hoff, but for men and children, it was about the car known as KITT (voiced by William Daniels).  However, even women even dig the coolest car since the Batmobile.

The series led the way to other shows, in which the hero takes on the bad guys with the help of an elite, crime-fighting machine.  For instance, there's Viper, about a Viper sports car that transforms into a silver, assault vehicle called the Defender.  Viper lasted one season on NBC in 1994 but resurfaced in syndication two years later and lasted three seasons.

Knight Rider ran out of gas in the spring of 1986, but refueled on the small screen in 1991 with Knight Rider 2000, and Knight Rider 2010 in 1994.  The series had a spin-off in 1997, Team Knight Rider, centered on a team of operatives taking "on a new breed of outlaw" with the help of their advanced cars with personalities of their own; it lasted only one season. 

Recently, NBC aired a two-hour movie of Knight Rider last night, with a new hero and a new KITT.  The Hoff even made a cameo to pass down the torch in this backdoor pilot.  If the ratings are good, then the next chapter of Knight Rider continues with Justin Bruening (All My Children) as a brand-new series.  However, for faithful KR fans, the original is always the best, in which all four seasons are now available on DVD.

25 years since its debut, Knight Rider continues to ride on its popularity thanks to re-runs in syndication and fans all over the world that can't get enough of David Hasselhoff, who reminds everyone we all need heroes like Michael Knight now more than ever.

"One man can make a difference"
                                                -Wilton Knight