Archive for Knight Rider

The Pie Man Television Awards 2009

Posted in Ashes to Ashes, Battlestar Galactica, BBC, Being Human, Bonekickers, Channel 4, Chuck, Dollhouse, Heroes, Knight Rider, Lost, Pushing Daises, SF, Sky, Terminator, The Middleman, TV, Virgin 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by pieman70

Though I will do a more comprehensive review of this years TV, I thought I would first do my own mock awards ceremony for this years TV

For information, these awards are arbitrary, no prizes will be handed out and all the winners earn is Kudos or scorn.

Best New Series.

Actually quite hard this year, we’ve had a good wash of new stuff, much of which has been interesting, much of which has also been axed.  This years award really has to go to

The Middleman, a fantastically fun, daft and always brought a smile to my face.  A real highlight.

Best Series,

Again tough, Galactica was great stuff this year, Chuck has been first rate, the aforementioned Middleman was good and I really liked Knight Rider.  But in the end one series has stood out as must watch unmissable TV, and that is…

Lost, a great example of what a series can do when it’s not required to attract new viewers or provide a set amount of standalone episodes; it’s been brilliant this year

Most Improved Series,

Tough one, we had quite a few already good series from last year, and very little wasn’t firing on all thrusters.  Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a contender; you could even make a case for the end of the final season of Galactica.  But however for me it must be

Ashes to Ashes.  This really has found its feet in its second season, to be honest because I think it stopped trying to fit what worked in Life on Mars into its different dynamics, elements such as the clown being a replacement test card girl never worked.  It also helped that Alex is a lot more unsure and self knowing and that the Gene Genie is much more his old self.  There were some nice twists on what we thought we knew at the end of LoM as well, particularly with the shock ending.  Looking forward to series 3 in a way I wasn’t for series 2.

Most gratuitous T&A in a series.

A little award to show when a series uses rather too many opportunity to shamelessly include scantily clad women.  Dollhouse was a contender, particularly the first few episodes being the televisual equivalent of one of those paper dress up dolls with Eliza Dushku pretty much being there to wear different outfits.  Seriously I was expecting her do to a Nurse and a French maid next.  But Dollhouse wasn’t the worst offender, nope, the winner of this illustrious award must be

Knight Rider. We go to Vegas, well in Vegas we must have shots of women lounging in the sun wearing bikinis right?  Right?  And next week mike’s mission take shim to a beach resort filled with insanely attractive people while later they infiltrate a millionaire’s bikini party.  Seriously, did they get money form a bikini manufacturer as well as Ford?

The Andromeda WTF is this still running award.

Due to the credit crunch this award in on Hiatus.  In truth, no series this year have really fallen into this criteria.  Heroes is close but I’m not quite ready to kill it just yet.

Best UK Network/Channel.

By rights this should be the BBC, their in house product has been of a good standard and they’ve learned the lesson from Sky in showing their import (just the one mind) very soon after its US airdate.  Sadly they produced a fail so epic that it disqualifies them from the best channel award, they scheduled Ashes to Ashes against Heroes, they effectively went into a ratings war with themselves.  Call me harsh but I do think it was a massively dumb piece of scheduling, particularly as they made Ashes to ashes, hold it for a few weeks, its not like people can torrent it until you’ve shown it (Aside form knock offs and test tapes).  I also stick by my rule with the BBC, they should never have the same sort of thing on BBC 1 and 2, normally this is a criticism levelled at sport, never have both showing sport, but its equally valid for something I actually enjoy watching.  A shame because the BBC really did do well this year and sadly with a heavy heart the award must go to

Sky 1. Aside from settling their Tiff with virgin Sky had a good selection of top shows, all shown usually within days of the US airdate.  Granted Next year they’ve lost 2 of their genre heavy hitters in Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica, but I would bet on them nabbing Stargate universe and wait to see what they look into nabbing to replace Galactica.  Still they shouldn’t rest on their laurels, the BBC would have taken them this year and Dr Who is back next year, plus if Virgin 1 ever gets their act together it could actually be a contender.

The Pirate Bay award for Services to bit-torrent,

the award given to a channel which has delayed showing a series for sol long that you might as well Bit Torrent it. There were two main contenders, and its been a tough call between them.  One is Virgin 1.  It’s trying its best to be a free Sky 1, but whether the problem is in the schedulers (Where did you get these guys, Channel 4?) or the contracts, they have a pretty poor record with showing TV after its US debut.  Virgin have 2 flagship genre shows, terminator and Chuck.  It took an age to get the new series of terminator on (Perhaps something to do with not showing it until bravo finished S1 repeats, dumb idea regardless) and they decided to opt for the particularly poor option of only showing one property at a time, so we’ve had to wait even longer for Chuck.

However, Virgin 1 are not the worst offenders, that must go to

Channel 4, ah yes, channel 4, do you wonder why we all groan whenever you get a genre series.  Remember Babylon 5 and the incredible floating timeslot, it was like you wanted it to fail “Wednesday at 6, ok then Sunday at 7, still watching, Thursday at a time decided by the phase of the moon.  And let’s not forget how you hacked Angel to pieces and buried SG1 and Enterprise on T4.  So, what have you done to incur my wrath.  Reaper.  Remember it, entertaining show, bit monster of the week but great fun.  Where is it, Series 2 long wrapped up in the US, but where is reaper, I know you have it.  Oh, unannounced return on Friday nights.  Thanks for that C4.

Only the Good Die young award,

An award of series that were great but axed early.  Middleman was a serious contender for this but I reckon I’ll invent an award for what happened to it.  Nope this one goes to

Pushing Daises, A great dollop of gentle whimsy, we never expected it to survive, and I worried that the quality would eventually dip.  This one has Cult series written all over it.

Never given a proper chance award,

for good shows that should have had more done for them, and would have been higher rated with a little more commitment from the network.  This  Goes to

Middleman, it was almost doomed out of the gate, No one saw it coming because ABC Family seemed to keep the existence of the show secret.  A damn shame as I reckon with even some marketing this could have been huge.

Most promising 1st Season.

Hmm, tough one this, Was tempted to give it to Knight Rider or Middleman, but both have been axed and so it’s a bit of an empty award if they don’t get a chance to follow it up.  Instead I’ll name

Being Human, for a series based on a premise that seems to be the start of a joke, they’ve built up a universe and a mythology around their Ghosts, vampires and werewolves.  This is impressive since, being a UK series it was substantially shorter than its US counterparts.  Season 2 will be on us in a few months and I really can’t wait to see the fallout

Most Off the Boil Series. For a series that was once great, and isn’t rubbish, but just doesn’t seem to be hitting the target at the moment.

Heroes, to be honest, its been off since season 2, its actually quite odd to think that during Season 1 of heroes it was Lost that seemed to be floundering around, going nowhere and Heroes was just blowing it out of the water.  How things have changed.  They’ve tried improvements, and some made for good TV, problem is I get a real feeling that the show runners have no idea where they’re going, and the series is floundering because of it.  I think the negative response to series 2 shook them, possibly they had a plan then, but now they’re just scrambling to try and keep people happy.  Great TV this does not make.

The Reilly 2040 Worst padding award.

Named after a good friend and fellow blogger who is begging for the US to consider 13 episode seasons rather than give us 7 episodes of dull padding a year.  There is only one choice for this year’s winner

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. When this series is advancing its plot, its top stuff.  I mean really good.  However when its padding it can be dire.  This series suffered form too many padding single episode stories and not enough advancing of the plot.  Shame because what we saw of the plot was brilliant.  To paraphrase the person this award is named for, “I nearly fell asleep during an episode set in a sleep clinic”

Worst network interference,

for when networks damage perfectly good series through stupid interference.  A contender for this was Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  The call from Fox for more standalone episodes and fewer arc plot ones gave us the padding I lambasted in the last award.  However possibly the worst example has to be

Dollhouse. It had an intriguing concept, and there is definite promise in some of the later episodes, but once again Fox intervened with a  call for more stand alone and less arc plot.  They probably asked for more changes which resulted in re-writing and in cases shooting the pilot and the first 5 episodes.  From what the rumbles are, it was so Joss could take the series from where Fox wanted it to still work with his longer plans.  As a result, Dollhouse has been a bit of a mess frankly.

Pie Man special award.

An arbitrary award given to a show for reasons of my choosing.  Winner is

Chuck. Chuck is great fun, and series 2 (What I’ve seen of it Virgin 1) has been good so far.  Chuck wins the special award because I’ve not seen enough of it to compete for another category, and also because it is the series that could stand alone on its supporting cast comedy sub-plots.

Graceful retirement award,

An award for a series that has retired before its gone woefully downhill.  This could have been Pushing Daises, but I reckon it had another year at least in it.  Nope, it has to be

Battlestar Galactica. Great ending, and it ended, wasn’t axed and left hanging (terminator) wasn’t run out until you were begging for no more.  It ended, story told.  Well done

The McMillan’s Pasties – now with over 20% real cow, a true lunch treat – award for shameless product placement

An award for a series that has a marketing man’s fingerprints all over it.  Who else but

Knight Rider. So, KITT is a mustang, not bad, I likes my muscle cars, but he can turn into other vehicles in a massively unlikely way, fine, it’s a silly show, that’s why I love it.  But for some reason, KITT can only turn into cars manufactured by ford.  What next, the Autobots only transforming into cars manufactured by Chevrolet?

Guilty pleasure award,

for a series that wasn’t particularly good but which I found strangely enjoyable, but probably wouldn’t tell too many people.

Bonekickers. Ok, was it Genre TV, probably towards the not side of the grey area.  It was dumb, its history was flawed and for a team of archaeologists they seemed to destroy every valuable find.  They wrecked Excalibur for gods’ sakes.  However it was daft fun and I have a wee soft spot for it.  In no other series will you see a man attempt to fight an armed man by quoting significant dates from history at him.

Worst treatment of a series.

This is for a channel, network, or other body who I reckon has mistreated a series.  Naturally Channel 4 and Virgin 1 were both contenders, 4 for Reaper, Virgin 1 for the late arrival of Chuck, ITV were even in the running for the graveyard slot for Pushing Daisies, and no publicity for season 2.  But the award for Worst treatment of a series has to go to

Virgin 1 for their treatment of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  So, you have a big show from the US, what do you do?  Well, let’s start it late.  That’s fun.  Make sure some people have given in and started bit-torrenting by the time we show the first episode.  Next, oh this is better, you know, why have we been putting this high profile show, which we clearly have spent money on buying and publicising, on at a peak 9pm slot?  People might watch it, nah, lets shunt worlds most violent neds on at that time and push it back to 10, that way it’s probably on too late for people who want to sleep, or have a job, or like to watch the news.  And gods help you if you want to catch the +1.  Good Job virgin, really nice.

So, its been long and rambling, but perhaps this will spur me on into actually writing up some stuff about what I’ve said on here in more detail.  Review of the year, here we come.

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This is why I love Knight Rider

Posted in Knight Rider, TV with tags , on April 22, 2009 by pieman70
This will be my first attempt to get a video clip embedded in a post, wish me luck.

Ok, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oelUaU-t_iY

This is why I love new Knight Rider, we’re near the conclusion of a 3 episode arc, KITT has been de-activated and mike must invade a base to get him back and defeat KARR. Now, dark gritty series may have used forboding or stealthy music and had him do a lot more sneaking. Not Knight Rider, they Put on the AC/DC and turn the action machine up to 11. The only way they coudl have made it better is if he was actually playing teh music from concealed speakers during teh scene, and I kind of like to think he is.

Bring the Fun

Posted in Knight Rider, The Middleman, TV with tags , , on October 17, 2008 by pieman70

We’re still early into the new US TV, so early that series like Lost and BSG are yet to start. However, as I have mentioned in earlier posts, there is a far greater variety of SF on offer. This post is about how some series are having more fun.

The Fun benchmark has recently been reset with ABC Family’s superlative effort The Middleman. While I’m not sure of its actual success it has had some very positive critical reaction. For those not in the know this series barely avoided being buried completely, and has largely been promoted through word of mouth. It concerns the life of struggling artist Wendy “Dubby” Watson, who gets hired by a mysterious agency to train as an assistant to the Mysterious Middleman, with the help of grumpy robot Ida they fight all manner of bizarre evil, from alien boybands and gangs of lucho libre wrestlers to trout craving zombies and Gangster Gorillas. Its loaded with references to other series, comics, films etc and has a sharp bonkers sense of humour, from insisting on using TV’s Stock scream at least once per episode (SO much so that I chuckle every time i hear it in other series) to the bizarre location and time references at the start of each scene. It is a Joy and while only 12 episodes long is well worth your bandwidth (Or your money if you happen to run a TV network).

Now, not Even Pushing Daises (Season 2 coming soon) is as daft and pure fun as middleman, but there are a few other series which at least have more of a sense of humour. We will be getting Both Chuck and Reaper back at some point along with Season 2 of Pushing Daises. (Ok I could be wrong about reaper) but it is nice to see they avoided the axe that looked certain after the writers strike.

Finally, and another new series, only 3 episodes in, is the new, re-vamped Knight Rider.

The pilot of this was promising, although did commit the cardinal sin of having the car being out of use for a fair chunk of its length. The series has made some tweaks, Most striking are KITT’s transforming abilities, in the pilot he changed colour and had a near imperceptible high speed mode. Taking criticism for not being able to distinguish modes he has been given the ability to transform into a truck (Ford, Nacth) and a “Battle Mode” which I like the idea of a little more than some elements of the execution. Other additions are a larger supporting cast and a fixed base with repair and technicians, as well as the Hercules plane we saw in the pilot. So impressions. For the most part the series is good, episodic fun action TV. Essentially each week, much like the original series, Michael Knight (Changed from Mike Traceur in the pilot) and KITT are sent on missions by the Knight Foundation, or Knight Research as it is now. Missions inevitably involve Action, so fast driving, gunfights and spy type malarkey. In fact this series is higher on its Bond type antics than its predecessor, so they infiltrate buildings, use gadgets and do undercover work. There also is usually an excuse to look at women in Bikinis. There are underlying sub-plots, such as Mike’s relationship with Sarah, KITT’s ability to learn and act on his own, and his secret black ops past which even he can’t remember. In truth it’s been enjoyable so far, and will be fine in my book if it sticks to its fun action series, rather than getting bogged down with arc plots.

In fact Both Knight Rider and Middleman would not look out of place in the Saturday late afternoon/teatime slot that Hercules the Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess occupied in the late ’90s, or indeed as Knight Rider and its contemporaries occupied in the 80s. And this is a good thing as the current SF crop isn’t always that family friendly or indeed nice to new watchers, and so a couple of decent action fun series could be just what the doctor ordered, particular in the coming year when he won’t be about as much.