Knight Rider

Season 1 Episode 1

Knight of the Phoenix (1)

3
Aired Friday 9:00 PM Sep 26, 1982 on NBC
9.1
out of 10
User Rating
80 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
When a young detective is ambushed in a failed police stakeout, he is believed to have been killed. In reality, he survives and learns that his face has been altered and his identity has been changed to Michael Knight. The man responsible for this is Wilton Knight, a dying billionaire who, convinced that one man can make a difference, has selected Michael for the role as a crime-fighter.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Long Live Michael

    9.5
    The Title is a pun to the main characters original was born Michael grew up to be a Police is in the middle of a case where his partner is shot is gunned down when he thought he caught up to the shooter,but instead is shot,and left for is saved by a mysterious billionaire benefactor,and fighter for Doctors work to not only save him,but to also give him a new face,a new identity,and above all,a new weapon on the war on latter will also become his best long Police Officer Michael Michael Knight,Crusader for Justice.moreless
  • Police officer Michael Long is gunned down in the desert and left for dead by industrial saboteurs. He is saved from death by Wilton Knight, who gives him a new face, a new identity, and a new supercar, to fight crime. A great Pilot to the series...moreless

    9.5
    Ahh... 'Knight Rider', another solid favourite of mine growing up. Amazingly, I wasn't there from the Pilot with this one, I came in a couple of episodes later, when a school friend told me how good it was and that I should watch it.



    I've not taken to any of the several unsuccessful revivals - 'Knight Rider 2000' was horrible; it's debatable if 'Knight Rider 2010' is even part of the series (though ironically is better than '2000' IMO); I wanted to like 'Team Knight Rider' but it was badly miscast and mishandled; and the less said about the disastrous 2008 series the better!



    But back in the day, 'Knight Rider' was one of my top three favourite TV shows, alongside 'The A-Team' (which I run a detailed fan site about, see my profile page), and 'The Dukes of Hazzard'. Ironically again, when 'Knight Rider' began, they tried to drum up some rivalry with 'Dukes' over the cars used, but – even though 'Dukes' was undoubtedly spoilt by slapstick later on, I think it's fair to say that nowadays, both shows can be enjoyed on their own merits.



    So anyway, this Pilot... it's a great introduction to the series. Sometimes a Pilot can struggle to find it's footing, but 'Knight of the Phoenix' (to use the two-part version title) gets things off to a terrific start.



    Most of this first part deals with Michael Long being left for dead, and being given a new identity as Michael Knight.



    The startlingly young-looking David Hasselhoff is perfect as Michael Knight. Although "The Hoff" has sadly become a bit of a joke in more recent years (something which, in complete fairness, he generally takes on board and plays along with), it's hard not to cheer him on as Michael.



    I like in this Pilot that Knight Industries seems to be larger, and more mysterious; in the series itself, things were usually limited to Devon and Bonnie, and the occasional 'one off' Knight worker guest star if the story called for it.



    And while the light-hearted tongue-in-cheek element is definitely something that makes 'Knight Rider' so special, I also like that this Pilot also plays things slightly more seriously for the most part, and not going all-out for laughs (usually at the expense of K.I.T.T.) as they sometimes did later on.



    Bearing in mind I was only about 5 or so when I got into 'Knight Rider', I didn't really have the resources to record many episodes (and the ones I did grab soon got taped over by my Dad!); as a result, the only episodes I had on video for a few years was the half hour edit of the classic 'Trust Doesn't Rust' (first and second season episodes were horribly butchered into half-hour formats for syndication and overseas sales), and the excellent second season episode 'Soul Survivor'... and, a little while later, this Pilot. In fact, numerous recordings of the Pilot! So many recordings that I know just about every word of it!



    In the mid-1990s here in the U.K., most ITV regions began re-running 'Knight Rider' again on Saturday afternoons. Frustratingly, I fell under London Weekend Television, who were only interested in constantly repeating 'Murder, She Wrote' and the same few dusty old films, but I was able to pick up adjoining region Meridian, who carried it on Saturdays at 3:45pm. So every Saturday afternoon, I would set up my portable TV aerial and signal amplifier, hook it up to the video recorder, and just hope that my neighbours didn't have their lawnmowers going or there weren't too many planes going over to upset the signal! Meridian showed the first three seasons; a few years later, Channel 5 also ran the first three seasons. No idea why they didn't include season four; but with the whole series now on DVD and as I intend to review the whole run, I'm looking forward to re-viewing some of those late episodes that I haven't seen in well over 20 years!



    For the first half of a great Pilot, I give this one 9.5 out of 10. Review continued in Part 2...moreless
  • Great way to begin!

    10
    This is a great way to begin a great show

    As Michael Long is killed and that he does survive

    But is given a new face and identity Michael Knight but

    Also a trusty car and a straight man partner in Devon

    Miles! The dying billionaire selected him and now he works for the Foundation of Law & Government!

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Michael is seen to wear his regular 'com-link' watch in this episode (visible when he is holding up the phone as he talks to Devon), but he does not yet use it when he is separated from KITT, such as when he is in jail.

    • Unusually, Michael contacts Devon via phone. Typically in the series, he would do so via one of KITT's monitor screens.

    • Many of the shots showing K.I.T.T. driving along desert roads, reveal the front scanner not to have been completed by the time of these shots; instead a mock up red section has been added to the nose of the car. Also, KITT's blinking red square when he talks varies - in some shots, it has 'Knight 2000' written in a digital font over it. A couple of shots show the red section to not be in place, with a blank white panel instead.

    • When Michael first encounters KITT in the darkened lab, his red scan bar is much thinner than is shown in the rest of the series.

    • Michael Knight's automobile registration for KITT reveals his address to be 2457 Ybarra Road in Nores, California 93666.

    • Michael Long's middle name is revealed to be Arthur.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Michael: I'm warning you, Devon, I'm gonna put this thing to the test.
      Devon: Be my guest.
      Michael: I don't believe this, I'm playing chicken with a ten-ton semi.

    • Devon: Welcome aboard the Knight 2000.
      Michael: Thank you. What's all this? Looks like Darth Vader's bathroom.
      Devon: It is a one-of-a-kind car, Mr. Long. It is the fastest, safest, strongest car in the world. It is also completely fuel-efficient and is operated entirely by microprocessors which make it virtually impossible for it to be involved in any kind of mishap or collision.

    • Michael: You know, you're about as much fun as a divorce... which is not a bad idea.
      KITT: I want custody of me.

    • KITT: There's no reason for increased volume. I'm scanning your interrogatives quite satisfactorily. I am the voice of Knight Industry 2000's Micro processor, K.I.T.T. for easy reference, KITT if you prefer.

    • Wilton Knight: (dying) My... adventure has ended. Yours has just—just begun.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Music: "Proud Mary" by the casino band; "Harden My Heart" originally by Quarterflash; "Take It Easy" originally by The Eagles; "Carolina On My Mind" originally by James Taylor; "Peaceful Easy Feeling" originally by The Eagles; "Don't Stop" originally by Fleetwood Mac; "Third Rate Romance" originally by The Amazing Rhythm Aces

    • The premiere episode is the only one where the guest star/production credits at the beginning of the episode use the "Knight Rider" font style like the opening credits. Subsequent episodes for the remainder of the series used the "rounded" font style.

    • The sound team was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Film Sound Editing for a Series category for their work on this episode.

    • The German episode title is "Michael Knight". The French episode title is "La Revanche", meaning "Revenge". The Czech episode title is "Jako Fénix z popela", meaning "Like the Phoenix from Ashes".

    • Richard Anderson and Herbert Jefferson Jr. can also both be seen in The Bionic Woman's season one episode "Mirror Image."

    • In the UK, a repeat showing of this movie in 1988 (in feature-length format) made the weeks viewing chart, clocking up 12.0 million viewers on it's broadcast on Friday 1st April. (It was billed as 'Knight Rider - The Movie').

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Michael comments that KITT's interior, "looks like Darth Vader's bathroom," referencing the iconic villain from the Star Wars franchise.

    • "Knight of the Phoenix" references the mythological phoenix. Just as the phoenix is reborn from death, Michael Long was reborn as Michael Knight.

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