While the first season of Knight Rider made David Hasselhoff and his talking car a household name, it was here, in the second season, that the show would really start to pick up and get wacky. The reason people remember this show, and continue to enjoy it, is because it started off fairly straight but quickly and voraciously seemed to embrace the fact that it was, at its core, a really silly concept. As such, the writers ran with it, and voila, we've got the second season – a truly wacky endeavor even by 'talking car TV show' standards.
The second season starts off with a bang as we're treated to one of the greatest two part episodes in television history, Goliath (parts one and two… duh). In this epic battle between good and evil we find out that Mr. Wilton Knight has an evil son named Garthe (also played by David Hasselhoff with some help from a bad goatee to signify just how evil he really is) and that he too has a fancied up vehicle in the form of a monster truck named, you guessed it, Goliath. Seeing Trans Am versus Monster Truck and Hasselhoff versus Hasselhoff makes for not only great entertainment, but a wonderful source of unintentional hilarity as only eighties television can provide. Whoever decided that Hasselhoff should have two roles on the show obviously saw the same sexy star quality in him that I do and in fact, had I been the casting director, I think I'd have Hasselhoff play every role. Why stop at just two?
At any rate, once Michael and K.I.T.T. have saved the world from bad facial hair and giant gas guzzling hazards to the environment, it's time to get back to fighting less familiar crime. As the season plays out we see Michael sent to prison (on purpose, not because he killed a baby or anything) to stop a bomb from going off, fight off a group of mercenaries who have a fancy helicopter that might be able to stop K.I.T.T. (but probably not), and save a blind woman who happens to be an important witness from serious trouble. That's not all though, as Hasselhoff teams up with Geena Davis in an episode where he has to foil the plans of a very clever cat burglar, K.I.T.T. gets even more customized to lure some car thieves into trying to steal him so that Michael can put an end to their evil thieving ways, and then in one episode they actually get stuck in a swamp while trying to save a woman from her evil man.
A few episodes later and Michael is celebrating Christmas by saving a gypsy from a gang of hoodlums, protecting a girl with a map that may or may not lead to buried treasure, and stopping a Mexican diamond smuggling ring from taking advantage of some poor high fashion runway models.
The adventures continue this way until everyone comes to their senses again and in another two part episode called Goliath Returns they decide to let Hasselhoff play the dual role once more and Garthe and his demonic monster truck return to put a stop to Michael's goodie-goodie two shoe antics once and for all. Once again, it's a high point in the series, as it always is when you just so happen to get more Hasselhoff for your viewing dollar than you originally anticipated.
A few more random episodes play out until, in a maniacal stroke of brilliance, the writers decide to let Hasselhoff rock the mic in an old school way in an episode entitled Let It Be Me in which Michael decides he should try to work on a musical career while he's busy looking into the mysterious death of a vocalist. Those familiar with David Hasselhoff's fantastic musical career will thrill to the sheer joy that they receive from this incredible episode.
All in all, it's a very solid collection of episodes. The first season was good, but the second season is better. More cars. More monster trucks. More gadgets. More hot chicks. More Hasselhoff. More fun!
The complete second season of Knight Rider is comprised of the following episodes, all of which are included on this three DVD set:
Goliath (Part 1)
Goliath (Part 2)
Merchants Of Death
Return To Cadiz
K.I.T.T. The Cat
Ring Of Fire
A Knight In Shining Armor
Diamonds Aren't A Girl's Best Friend
Race For Life
A Good Knight's Work
Mouth of the Snake
Let It Be Me
Much like on the first season, the picture quality on these episodes, all shown in their correct fullframe aspect ratio, is a mixed bag. The good – there is plenty of detail evident in the picture, and the colors look really nice. The picture is sharp and flesh tones look nice and natural. Sounds perfect, right? Well, there's a lot of edge enhancement on this release, and it does get a tad distracting in a couple of scenes. There are even a few spots where the image is almost wiggly because of it. This brings the overall viewing experience down a bit because of it. There's also a bit of print damage constantly rearing its head throughout the series, though none of it is overly severe.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track sounds pretty good. The screeching of the tires, the monotone voice of KITT, the dialogue, they all come together nicely without any hiss or distortion problems at all. There could have been a bit more bass, but turning up the sub a wee bit takes care of that problem. Overall, these episodes all sound very solid. There is an English closed captioning option as well as optional Spanish and French subtitles.
The only extra features on this set are ads…err… I mean… bonus trailers for Magnum P. I. – Season Two, The A-Team – Season Two, Knight Rider – Season Two, Miami Vice – Season One and the only non-TV one of the bunch, Meet The Fockers. Considering what a nice job Universal did on gathering the supplements for the first season DVD release, this is a bit disappointing.
While Universal dropped the ball in regards to the extra features on this release the shows don't look and sound half bad at all and the quality (or should I say craziness?) of the episodes in this second season is pretty high. There's plenty of action, humor and car chases and fans of Hasselhoff's work would do well to add this bad boy to their collections. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.