Mitchell Haaseth, NBC
The car and its co-star, Justin Bruening, in "Knight Rider"

This may very well come back to haunt Gary Scott Thompson when viewers get a look at "Knight Rider."

"Gary really was given sort of carte blanche when we brought him on board — to not be limited by what had been done in the two-hour movie," said executive producer Doug Liman.

So, in other words, Thompson will get all the credit or all the blame for the new "Knight Rider," which premieres at 7 p.m. on NBC/Ch. 5. And odds are he's not going to be showered with praise.

In a word, "Knight Rider" stinks. It's not just bad, it's laughably bad.

Which should come as no surprise. When NBC aired a two-hour "Knight Rider" movie this past spring, it was unintentionally hilarious. But not quite bad enough to be good, just bad.

So Liman and NBC brought in Thompson ("Las Vegas," "The Fast and the Furious") to overhaul the show. His big plan is to add a team behind the talking car (KITT, the Knight Industries Three Thousand) and give the car angst.


"I will pose this question to each and every one of you," Thompson said to a room full of TV critics. "Why would you put artificial intelligence into a car? And that's the question we asked ourselves, and it has a bigger answer. And that's sort of where the whole first season goes, when we find out the mythology behind that. What's actually behind this whole thing. Why is there artificial intelligence in this car?

"Without giving away too much, KITT is learning, and KITT is learning until we find out what KITT is ultimately learning for."

What a horrible mistake. If the original "Knight Rider" succeeded at all, it was only as dumb fun. Trying to make it something serious is a serious mistake.

It remains unintentionally funny. But not funny enough to be entertaining.

"GARY UNMARRIED" (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) isn't a bad sitcom from the '70s, it just seems like one.

It's loud without being funny. It's utterly predictable and completely unsurprising.

And, while it's supposed to be a comedy, it's painfully unfunny.

Gary (Jay Mohr) is recently divorced. He's a hang-loose kind of guy, while his ex-wife, Allison (Paula Marshall), is regimented. And, thus, they clash when it comes to raising their 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.

This being a TV sitcom, Gary's dating — or, at least, sleeping with — hot, young single mother Vanessa (Jaime King). Gary is afraid to tell Allison about this ... but, as it turns out, Allison is dating their marriage counselor, Walter (Ed Begley Jr.). Actually, she's going to marry him.

And the hilarity should ensue ... but it doesn't. "Gary Unmarried" appears to have been built out of spare parts from umpteen bad sitcoms that have come and gone over the years.

It's familiar TV, but it's not good TV.

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