Ben Silverman's Dream Has Been Crushed

By which I mean, of course, that Knight Rider has been cancelled.

It seems a little unfair that Heroes should go on while Knight Rider doesn’t, since Knight Rider has actually been slightly more entertaining this year. Admittedly, at that low level of achievement, it seems pointless to talk about which show is better or worse; but despite its horrible start with the TV movie and the first part of the season, Knight Rider showed some glimmers of ratings improvement toward the end (not high ratings, but growing from where it had been a few months earlier), mostly because it finally started doing the kind of silly, simple, good-guy-fights-for-the-meek plots that the original show did.

If it had done it that way all along, it might have been a mild success, but NBC was foolish enough to think it could revive a show like Knight Rider while bringing the stories into the 21st century. But not only were the terrorism plots boring, they weren’t even very timely any more, because the attention of the culture had shifted from terrorism and war to economic distress. This was the exact time when the format of the original show (developed, remember, in the middle of a bad recession) would have worked extremely well; the fantasy of technology and money being used to help the little guy instead of crush him is very appealing at times like this. But they didn’t figure it out until it was too late.

Maybe some smart producer or network will learn from Knight Rider’s mistakes and develop what we really need at the moment: a new, original show about a hero with a cool car (preferably one that doesn’t talk) who helps the little guy. One thing NBC has pretty clearly proven with Knight Rider and Bionic Woman is that Battlestar Galactica was a fluke, or at least a unique situation: under normal circumstances it’s probably better to try a new show with a similar format than to do a remake.

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