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Knight Rider - Season Four
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Adventure goes into overdrive as the amped fourth and final season of Knight Rider blasts onto DVD! Buckle up with lone crusader Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and his tricked-out sidekick, K.I.T.T., in all 21 digitally remastered high-octane episodes. From ancient terrorist cults to a deadly bacteria outbreak, Michael and K.I.T.T. are there to put the skids on evildoers wherever they may be. Available on DVD for the first time ever, Knight Rider: Season Four includes a special great '80s TV flashback featurette that takes a fun look back. With electrifying guest performance by Janine Turner, Lance Burton, Shelly Berman and more, you won't want to miss a minute of the thrilling action!
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This season introduced RC3, an urban vigilante/mechanic type character meant to inject a hint of youthfulness and diversity. I wasn't a fan. They also added "super pursuit mode" to K.I.T.T's bag of tricks. Basically it was a poorly designed, evolutionary advancement which caused several tacky wings and spoilers to pop out of awkward places on K.I.T.T. that would allow him to go faster or glide on water or whatever deus ex machina was needed that week. Conceptually it was a sound idea, visually it just made K.I.T.T. look goofy and less efficient.
Sadly all of the desperate attempts to generate new interest into the Knight Rider formula was not enough to save it from cancellation and if KNIGHT RIDER 2000 was any indication maybe it was best it ended here. The DVD quality is as good as you'd expect and I'm not a historian but I think all the correct music tracks that should be there are there. Wish there were more bonus content, interviews, bloopers or behind the scenes as these sets are always light on this stuff but whatever.
I had a great deal of problems with playback of the first three seasons. Getting a copy that didn't skip on a disk or two was near impossible. This season played through correctly on every episode. I have 5 DVD players which are made by various vendors, so its not me. (3 are computers)
I've had better luck with DVD sets from Amazon than with those purchased through local retailers. I've only had problems with Universal Studios.
The first two part season opener is one of my favorites. Devon is impersonated while kit is rebuilt in Chicago. Super persuit mode is a bit corny, but RC3 and Bonnie are actually rather interesting at the beginning of the season. The last episode with the vodoo plot is very bad. I doubt I'll be watching that episode again for some time.
This Fourth Season DVD takes me all the way back to memory lane when NBC had moved KNIGHT RIDER back to Friday nights permanently followed by MIAMI VICE at 10PM after showing KNIGHT RIDER at 9PM as part of NBC's Friday night line-up and also takes me back to my childhood memories when AIRWOLF was on CBS every Saturday night since AIRWOLF was in competition with KNIGHT RIDER at the time as well, but chances are the producers reason for deciding to upgrade KITT again in this 1985-1986 Season by adding Super Pusuit Mode and a Convertible was probably to beef up competition with AIRWOLF & STREET HAWK, since STREET HAWK had already stole KNIGHT RIDERs thunder when it made its debut on ABC in the Winter of 1985 along with the fact that AIRWOLFs turbo speed feature & STREET HAWKs hyperthrust feature had topped KITT's speed big time, but when they added the Super Pursuit Mode feature to KITT, KITT's speed seemed almost identical to AIRWOLF's turbo speed, except KITT did AIRWOLF's kind of speed by land and on ground instead of up in the air, but KITTs Super Pursuit Mode was still slower than STREET HAWKs hyperthrust power.
However, I distinctly recall that KNIGHT RIDER still got better ratings than AIRWOLF did along with the fact that this show had outlasted both AIRWOLF & STREET HAWK since KNIGHT RIDER lasted for 4 whole years on NBC, AIRWOLF only lasted 2 1/2 years on CBS with the exception of AIRWOLF's resurrected series on USA in the Winter of 1987 with a totally new cast & crew, and STREET HAWK only lasted 3 1/2 months with only 13 episodes on ABC before its permanent cancellation in June of 1985.
Unfortunately, this 1985-1986 Season was also the season when the ratings went sour and ended up in cancellation after showing it's final episode in April of 1986.
In addition, Universal could have done a better job on this KNIGHT RIDER-Season 4 DVD by providing a summary description of each episode before starting it along with the original air-date each episode like Universal did with the first 3 seasons of KNIGHT RIDER DVD's or they could've at least put down the original air-date next to the summary outside of the DVD case next to the episode summary description like Warner Bros. did with the CHiPs DVD's and all THE DUKES OF HAZZARD's DVD box sets.
For instance, the original air-dates to all these 1985-1986 Season episodes were
9/20/85-KNIGHT OF THE JUGGERNAUT
11/1/85-THE WRONG CROWD
11/15/85-MANY HAPPY RETURNS
12/6/85-KNIGHT BEHIND BARS
1/3/86-THE SCENT OF ROSES
1/17/86-OUT OF THE WOODS
1/31/86-REDEMPTION OF A CHAMPION
2/7/86-KNIGHT OF 1,000 DEVILS
2/14/86-HILLS OF FIRE
2/21/86-KNIGHT FLIGHT TO FREEDOM
3/14/86-KNIGHT OF THE RISING SUN
4/4/86-VOODOO KNIGHT(aka the final episode)
I also enjoyed seeing the reclusive Michael(David Hasselhoff) reuniting with his ex-fiancee Stevie Mason(Catherine Hickland)one last time in "The Scent Of Roses" episode before Stevie died off at Michael's short-lived wedding which turns into a funeral instead towards the end of that episode, which was quite touching since Michael was about to resign from the Foundation after nearly dying from a near fatal confrontation with a relentless criminal mastermind(Aharon Ipale), but then Michael assures us at the end of "The Scent Of Roses" episode that he wasn't leaving the foundation after all since his marriage plans went belly-up with a tragic ending by telling KITT that they will be going home straight home to the Foundation, indicating that Michael will be resuming his job with KITT and the Foundation after all with many more missions to come, starting with the "Killer KITT" episode, which was the following episode shown after "The Scent Of Roses" original air date on NBC along with the fact that this DVD didn't even provide the previews to the "Knight Song" episode or "The Scent Of Roses" episode either since Universal had decided to delete those scenes for some reason.
It was also interesting seeing guest stars like
*Real-life famous magician(Lance Burton)in the "Deadly Knightshade" episode
*Former heavyweight champion(Ken Norton)in the "Redemption Of A Champion" episode
*The late Pat Buttrum in the "Fright Knight" episode after his co-starring days as the shoddy ,oily salesman(Mr. Haney) on GREEN ACRES
*Robert Pine in the "Burial Ground" episode after his co-starring days as Ponch & Jon's hard-nosed superior officer(Sgt. Getraer)on CHiPs.
*Mary-Beth Evans making a second guest starring role on this show in the "Deadly Knightshade" episode after previously guest starring in the "White-Line Warriors" episode before her co-starring days on GENERAL HOSPITAL and her co-starring days as Kayla on DAYS OF OUR LIVES
*Former heavyweight boxers Jerry Quarry, Carlos Palomino, Danny Lopez, & boxing promoter(Don King)doing a cameo appearance in the "Redemption Of A Champion" episode
*Henry Darrow in the "Knight Of A Thousand Devils" episode during his co-starring days on SANTA BARBARA and after his co-starring days on GENERAL HOSPITAL
*Robert Englund in the "Fright Knight" episode during his Freddy Krueger days in the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET flicks.
*Peter Mark-Richman in the "Many Happy Returns" episode during his co-starring days on SANTA BARBARA
*Peter Mac Lean in the "Out of the Woods" episode after his co-starring days on DAYS OF OUR LIVES
*Norman Burton in the "Redemption Of A Champion" episode after his co-starring days as Diana Prince's boss from the IADC(Joe Atkinson)
*Leann Hunley in the "Fright Knight" episode after her co-starring days on DYNASTY and before her co-starring days on DAYS OF OUR LIVES
*Peter Brown in the "Knight Behind Bars" episode before his co-starring days on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS and on THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL
The truth is even though KNIGHT RIDER's 4th Season was the most upgraded season of them all throughout KNIGHT RIDERs whole 1982-86 run on NBC, it was also the worst season of them all for KNIGHT RIDER too since this was the season when the show ran out of steam especially since the Fourth Season was a lot less convincing than the first 3 seasons of this show which caused the show to obviously get phonier & phonier which resulted in NBC cancelling the show in the Summer of 1986 around the same time CBS had cancelled AIRWOLF since fewer & fewer people kept watching KNIGHT RIDER by the Winter of 1986 when this show suddenly took a major nose-dive & became obvious that this show wasn't going in the right direction since the last 11 episodes of this series weren't as good nor as sophisticated as the first 10 episodes of the Fourth Season were either since Michael and KITT started using Super Pursuit Mode & even the convertible feature less and less in the second half of this season of KNIGHT RIDER almost as if KITT was going back to just being the Supercar with the new dashboard with no Super Pursuit Mode like he was in the 3rd Season, which I'm sure is another reason why this show went downhill all of the sudden and lost its touch along with the fact that the "Knight Of The Rising Sun" episode was the actual last episode when Michael and KITT used Super Pursuit Mode, since they didn't use SPM in the "Redemtion Of A Champion" episode, "Knight Of 1,000 Devils" episode, "Knight Flight To Freedom" episode, the "Fright Knight" episode, or the "Voodoo Knight" episode, which by the way was the last and final episode of this show before NBC cancelled KNIGHT RIDER as well as the worst episode of them all on top of that.
In fact, "Redemption Of A Champion" was the first episode of this 4th Season when they started showing more episodes where they didn't use Super Pursuit Mode at all or even the convertible feature, which was almost like KITT was in the 3rd Season before KITT even had Super Pursuit Mode, but I also noticed that "The Scent Of Roses" episode was when they started using SPM a lot less often, since they had stopped using Super Pursuit Mode more than once per episode in the second half of the Fourth Season, starting with "The Scent Of Roses" episode, since the "Knight Behind Bars" episode was the very last episode when Michael & KITT used SPM more than once in the same episode, which I think was another reason why this show tanked after KNIGHT RIDER's 4th year run on NBC.
Therefore, you could say that KNIGHT RIDER-Season 4 was pretty much the rise and fall of this show since the ratings on this show were sinking drastically to an all-time low along with the fact that this 1985-86 Season was also it's final and least successful season of them all throughout KNIGHT RIDER's whole 4-year run on NBC since the show was dying especially since the premiere of newer shows like STREET HAWK & AIRWOLF were too closely related to KNIGHT RIDER giving viewers too much of the same thing every weekend by giving people too much competition & redundancy since CBS already had AIRWOLF on Saturdays, ABC had STREET HAWK on Fridays, and NBC had KNIGHT RIDER on Sundays, plus all 3 of those Universal high-tech TV shows had all premiered too soon after one another since KNIGHT RIDER made its debut in the Fall of 1982, AIRWOLF made its debut in the Winter of 1984, and STREET HAWK made its debut in the Winter of 1985 which contributed to the cancellation of this show in the Summer of 1986, and to the cancellation of AIRWOLF in the Spring of 1986, and to the cancellation of STREET HAWK in the Summer of 1985.
In addition to what put this show on the chopping block, you could say that this was also the weakest season of them all for KNIGHT RIDER, especially since the ratings on this show weren't nearly as high as they were during the first 2 seasons of KNIGHT RIDER, especially since this show wasn't nearly as popular as it was during KNIGHT RIDERs 1st Season, even though the Fourth Season was a lot more upgraded than the First Season, but I think part of what made this show falter in the 1985-86 Season was due to the fact that they ended up making too many changes too fast, especially between the 3rd and 4th Seasons, since KITT got blown up in the "Knight Of The Drones" episode before getting his new dashboard in the Third Season opener of this show and then got destroyed in an acid pit again in the "Junk Yard Dog" episode and then KITT got destroyed and nearly killed again in the "Knight Of The Juggernaut" episode before getting rebuilt and getting the additional features of Super Pursuit Mode and the convertible style feature, which almost indicated that KITT was getting weaker and more vulnerable to being damaged.
Unfortunately, NBC didn't even have a series finale episode either, even though NBC had already announced back in the Spring of 1986 that KNIGHT RIDER was going to be cancelling and indicating that KNIGHT RIDER wasn't heading for a Fifth Season, since the ratings of this show were obviously not going in the right direction & was axed only a year later after CBS had given THE DUKES OF HAZZARD the boot back in the Winter of 1985, due to a continuance in weakening ratings.
Overall, I still enjoyed the 4th Season as well as the first 3 seasons along with the fact that this season brings back a lot of childhood memories for me too, since KNIGHT RIDER was my favorite show in the 1980's.
Another thing that I can't help finding intriguing about this season was David Hasselhoff started doing BAYWATCH for the first time on NBC 4 years later after KNIGHT RIDER cancelled, which made an interesting comparison by watching him as LA County lifeguard(Lt. Mitch Bucannon) wearing a trunks or an official beach lieutenants uniform having the same hairstyle he had in the Fourth Season of KNIGHT RIDER and looking back on David Hasselhoff's days as Michael Knight wearing his cool slick leather jacket and talking to a snazzy hot car as opposed to talking to beautiful lady co-workers and gorgeous women in bikinis at the beach in Malibu & Santa Monica on BAYWATCH, which was certainly an interesting transition of David Hasselhoff's showbiz career to watch, despite the fact that BAYWATCH faltered the first time on NBC before the show returned in the Fall of 1991 in syndication.
This 1985-1986 Season also takes me all the way back to memory lane when NBC's motto was "NBC:Let's All BE THERE", since that was their slogan on NBC from the Summer of 1984 thru the Summer of 1986.
By the way, I just got word that the Shout Factory will be releasing the short-lived series STREET HAWK with Rex Smith(Jesse Mach)out on DVD on Tuesday July 13th, 2010 for all you high-tech TV show fans out there.
I was so happy when then finally put the series
on DVD, and then a tv special, which (hopefully)
means more & more "Kitt". Ya, more of the "HOFF" to.
I really would like to see William Daniels back
as "Kitt's voice". I adore him.
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