Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making New Cheese Out Of Old Cheese

Eric Estrada
I don’t believe it.

They’re bringing back Knight Rider.

Re-made, re-cast and possibly retro-fitted, Michael Knight and his camp Kit car are already gearing up to turbo-boost back onto our TV screens sometime this Autumn.

And I feel nothing but dismay.

Some things are just best left alone.

Most of the TV shows from the eighties being a case in point.

Although I have fond memories of Knight Rider, The A-Team and Airwolf et al, they are time-locked into a small, blessedly sealed, period of my teenage years and that is where I’d prefer them to remain.

My teenage years weren’t great. I was shy, geeky and nerdy and not particularly a success with the ladies. I lived most of the time in my head, my imagination fuelled by the shows above, my morals and political outlook to a degree informed by the heroes who machine gunned their way to justice and democracy for all. In my innocence I bought unthinkingly into the American way.

Yes folks. I wanted to be Michael Knight. I wanted to be David Hasselhoff.

Oh the shame. And I’d rather not have to relive it.

Well, to be honest, I never wanted to actually be Michael / David. But I did covet the car. I coveted the car in a big way. Yes, I wanted a car that looked butch but was, at heart, gay... Though that gayness is only apparent in retrospect. At the time it wasn’t so obvious. Kit was, well, just Kit. Just as C3PO was just C3PO (and not a metallic version of Charles Hawtrey – which he plainly is).

Looking back on it it’s plain to see why I was such a messed up teen.

But that aside, I’m just sick of this regurgitation of the eighties. It’s lazy. Nostalgia is nice when it is infrequent but not as a permanent mindset. And nostalgia certainly isn’t an art form worth spending money on.

But plainly I’m wrong.

Some TV money man somewhere obviously feels Knight Rider is good for a few bucks more. So they’re wheeling it back out of the scrap yard only this time without the Hoff.

Which surely is a bit like having The A-Team without Mr T?

Or Star Trek without Shatner?

Er...

OK.

That last point wasn’t argued so well but even so...

It’s just not going to be the same. It’s like – having mentioned Hawtrey above – trying to remake the Carry On films. It cannot be done. Sure you can emulate all the physical / visible ingredients. But what you can’t recreate is the original time frame. Nostalgia just cannot be contemporized.

Now, maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe they will inject a whole new ethos into it. New blood into old wine skins, etc, or whatever the saying is. But why bother when you can buy the originals of every bloody series from the eighties on Amazon?

I mean, can people not write anything new anymore?

What are they going to remake next?

Street Hawk (remember that anyone)?

Whizz Kids (anybody)?

CHiPs?

Geez. CHiPs. Please, please don’t get me started on Eric Estrada...


36 comments:

French Fancy said...

I hate remakes - be they of classic films, tv series from a former golden age - well, anything really. As for Knight Rider returning - that is just so wrong

Steve said...

FF: Yep! ...on every single level.

Gypsy said...

You would think with all the talented writers out there, in this ever changing world, that someone could come up with something....anything....as long as it wasn't another bloody remake. I couldn't stand that ridiculous show the first time around (sorry Steve). I think I will just sell the TV and be done with it.

Steve said...

Gypsy: what? And miss all those glorious repeats? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Street Hawk? was that the one with the motorbike that could turn at right-angles at 100mph or something? LOL

Steve said...

Anonymous: that's the one! They just used a "speeded up camera" to make it look like the bike was racing across LA at 300mph (and yet obeying all the traffic lights)...!

Tenon_Saw said...

Remember 'The Tomorrow People'?

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: I have a fleeting and vague memory of having caught part of an episode once but was never a regular viewer. Was it on the Beeb? For some reason we never watched much BBC when I was a kid - my folks were hip ITV people.

Inchy said...

Street Hawk, man I loved that show! But then I grew up, got a motorbike of my own and realised that Street Hawk was in fact an old Honda XR500 from the eighties, a bike that would barely do 90mph rather than the 300+ that the show claimed.
I know disappointment and Street Hawk be thy name.

As for the new series of Knight Rider, it's bad. In fact it's SO bad that I can only assume that Val Kilmer is having financial difficulties. Why else would he agree to be the voice of KITT?

Steve said...

Inchy: I must admit the best thing about Street Hawk was the music - done by Tangerine Dream I believe. As for Val "you can be my wing man" Kilmer... how disappointing. I haven't seen him in anything decent since True Romance and he was only good in that because he was barely recognizable. The orginal Knight Rider was kitch and camp and worked only because much of the eighties was kitch and camp. It just ain't gonna cut any ice in a world of global recession...

The Sagittarian said...

Remakes are awful for those who have memories of the original, no two ways about it. You're right, some things should be left alone. I'm wondering if the Knight Rider you're talking about is the new one that we had here last year...if so, it is every inch as bad as you think it's going to be.

Steve said...

Amanda: yep, sounds very like it could be. Inchy hasn't rated it either so that's two people who's opinions I trust giving it the thumbs down... I can see a pattern developing here...!

A Write Blog said...

Sometimes remakes are good.

I'm thinking of the Addams Family. I loved the TV series and Morticia, as played by Carolyn Jones one of my first crushes.

But the films with Raoul Julia and Angelica Houston were more faithful to the original and far better too.

A remake can give a different slant on things too.

Steve said...

AWB: that's very true and The Addams family also gave us Christina Ricci which can only ever be a good thing...! Sadly Knight Rider only ever gave us Kitt and David Hasselhoff and, by association, Baywatch... it just doesn't compare!

Old Cheeser said...

I have to say, Stevenage, it COULD work. And let's face it, they've already remade just about everything else retro: Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch, The Dukes of Hazard, Scooby Doo....it was kind of inevitable they might get round to Knight Rider. (So what next? Remington Steele? Scarecrow and Mrs King?? Moonlighting??? Maybe not...) Anyway I do actually understand your concerns. As a Cheeser myself I believe in preserving what is cheesey , old, and true.... But I did love the Charlie's Angels remake. As you say, they could inject new blood into the old...we shall see.

And I agree, KIT was cool! I think I'll trade in my Ford Focus for a KIT right now....

PS Steve, I have lost the will and energy to blog!!

Steve said...

OC: god to hear from you. The trouble with Knight Rider is that although it looked cool from a kid's perspective it was actually really uncool from anyone elses... so remaking it is probably not a great idea! Charlie's Angels at least had a little glamour and occasional coolness about it!

As for your blogging ennui... really sorry to hear about that but I know how you feel. I occasionally get like that... but it sounds like you've got a major case of it! Maybe a complete break is in order or maybe a brand new blog with a brand new ethos? I'd be really sorry not to be able to read the latest Old Cheeser episode I must admit. But I also know you're doing a job which must claim most of your time and creative energy. Wish I could offer more practical help. :-(

Inchy said...

The old Knight Rider was a little bit kitch and camp and tad non-pc, and therein lies the problem.
Can you imagine a remake of something as British as The Professionals or The Sweeney?
It'd be SOOOOOOO lightweight and politically correct as to be utterly hilarious. Everyone would be glossy and good looking, they'd all drive expensive cars, nobody would refer to any woman as "luv" or indeed have sex with her, suspects would be treated well and never beaten within an inch of their lives and Points Of View would never have so much as a single complaint.

YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK!

Old Cheeser said...

Steve - I see what you mean, Knight Rider wasn't that glamorous. Then again they did have a token female character to assist Michael Knight (remember?) and I think the male hetero population would probably get, erm, quite worked up about a fast and technologically advanced car like Kit, so there's coolness at least in that respect?

Thanks for your kind comments about the blog stuff - I realise it maybe isn't the best forum to discuss that kind of stuff here! You're right about the job taking up my time! We shall see...

Steve said...

Inchy: I'd agree with you but for Life On Mars and the cult of Gene Hunt... who knows? Maybe there's room on the TV for flagrant political incorrectness... maybe the backlash has started and people are tired of walking on eggshells all the time? Maybe there's hope after all?

OC: I have vague memories of Michael Knight's glamorous assistant but alas she featured far too little and only in the early episodes. As for the car it would either have to be electric or run on bio-fuels these days and be fitted with a satnav and flappy paddle...! All I'd say over the blog is not to rush into a decision... after all there is not deadline or timescale that you have to work to. Just go with the flow and see how you feel each day...

Janete Cabral said...

yes...somethings are better left alone... And yes I watched it as well as all the other shows you have mentioned...a bit geeky myself.

I am enjoying True Blood at the moment and have set the reminder for Stargate Universe and the new season of Lie to Me...

Steve said...

Janete: I'm obviously letting my geekiness slip a bit in my old age - I haven't seen any of the (new) programmes that you've mentioned! I feel almost ashamed.

Old Cheeser said...

There were two female assistants called Bonnie and April, apparently:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Rider_%281982_TV_series%29

You're right about going with the flow - I don't want to quit entirely. The likelihood is that I will just have to blog less regularly, when it comes down to it!

Steve said...

OC: the name April rings a bell... will have to follow the link and find some pics... see if I can jog the old memory...!

Inchy said...

Eye candy technicians, nothing at all like your local Kwik Fit.

Steve said...

Inchy: They're missing a trick there. They'd get more customers if they were offering hot babes with nice racks to do the MOT-ing...

Löst Jimmy said...

I used to enjoy watching CHiPs reruns in the mid-eighties (Saturdaya mornings if I am not mistaken) if only due to the fact they rode KZ1000 bikes.

Jon and Ponch right?

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: spot on - Jon Baker and Francis Llewellyn 'Ponch' Poncherello who apparently loathed each other in real life... like all the best double acts (Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd, Anthony Daniels & Kenny Baker...)

Old Cheeser said...

Oh and I have the Knight Rider theme as a ring tone on my old mobile! The theme was a bit cool for one thing (a rap arist even sampled it recently, as I seem to recall....)

Steve said...

OC: I knew you were way cooler than me... I have something anonymous and non-descript which also manages to be amzingly annoying at the same time... it may have been written by Stock, Aitken and Waterman...

Suburbia said...

Shoulder pads are back in fashion too! Remember Sue Ellen in Dallas?! Scary thing is, it only seems like yesterday (Did I say that? OMG I must be getting old!)

;)

Owen said...

Steve, you might look good in a t-shirt with a suit jacket over it, and an italian sports car... in Southern Florida, on the set of Miami Vice...

Steve said...

Suburbia: I know what you mean - I now see kids walking about in the type of clothes I was wearing at school and college over 20 years ago! It's like the world is stuck in a permanent time warp!

Owen: I look forward to a return to the days when a man could tuck his t-shirt into the waistband of his belt with pride!

Rol said...

I saw the Hoff on some telly programme last night. He reminds me of my brother. I kinda like him for that.

Steve said...

Rol: I would hope you'd like your brother regardless of who he reminds you of...

;-)

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Steve said...

Anonymous: it wasn't really worth the effort, was it?