The great yet inexplicable Knight Rider rewatch continues, to the extent that we’ve made a start on season 2. That of course means we’re in inferior-not-Bonnie time, but in the words of TV Tropes, the bus came back, so there’s that to look forward to.
The gender politics is in a weird transition zone, where the damsel-in-distress-of-the-week is, nevertheless a capable strong independent and conveniently single woman, but also is rendered helpless or incompetent because plot. Hence, the rancher who was born on a ranch, raised and worked among cattle her whole life, and is keeping the ranch going after the death of her husband, is unable to handle the world’s most docile bull and has to be amusingly rescued by KITT. Or, where the damsel actually turns out to be a ruthless international assassin, but still manages to look like she’s borrowed her husband’s car without permission and isn’t sure if this is the right way to the shops. Hey ho.
The most.jarring tonal shift of season 1 was where a journalist was taken from his cell and disappeared by the compliant sheriff’s department on the orders of a corrupt judge. His otherwise unresolved murder is given a one-liner of oh well, he got a Pulitzer and the story he always wanted. Ok then. In that episode, there’s a scene where Michael Knight and the journalist’s ex-wife are trying to track him down through the stonewalling justice system, clearly concerned for his well-being, but still find time for a cozy supper à deux back at her place.
Maybe I’m overthinking this.
Oh, a favourite trope; Michael has a perfectly civil chat with someone. As Michael leaves, the camera zooms on the someone as they adopt a shifty expression and make a phone call, preferably while looking tense into the middle distance. Hm, wonder if that’s a villain.
Maybe it’s because the art of story-telling has evolved in oh god three decades, but KR really doesn’t trust the viewers to understand what’s going on. Apart from the afore-griped-about clumsy zooms, not to mention dramatic zooms-plus-freeze-frames, and the look! a bad guy! signalling, and helpful exposition from Devon to keep everyone on track, everywhere needs a sign. A character can’t just walk into a bank, or a shop, or an armoury, and expect the viewer to infer from the cashiers, shelves or racks of sinister artillery shells where they are. (Oh, excellent ordnance/ordinance typo on one sign).
Definitely overthinking this.
One interesting touch is the occasional use of odd camera viewpoints, like between the horns of a bull or from the bucket of an attacking backhoe, something I’ve seen most recently in Breaking Bad.
Anyway, the Hoff’s acting skills are noticeably better in season 2, to the detriment of the supporting actors around him. KITT also gets some character development, and we’ll gloss over the gadget of the week trope. Star Trek was far worse after all.