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30 January 2016 @ 11:12 pm
Rewatch: "Nick Knight" (1989)  
So as we all know, what would become our beloved Forever Knight (1992-1996) actually first appeared as the TV movie Nick Knight (1989). It starred Rick Springfield (Nick), John Kapelos (Schanke), Robert Harper (Jack (Natalie)), Michael Nader (Lacroix), Laura Johnson (Alyce), Cec Verrell (Janette), and Richard Fancy (Brunetti (Stonetree)).

I think that I last watched it for its 20th anniversary in 2009, which would mean I'd never before seen it on as large a TV as I did tonight. :-)

Nick Knight has the same underlying script as FK's premiere ("Dark Knight"+"Dark Knight, the Second Chapter"), but the many differences tend to draw all the attention when discussing it at this end of history. It's difficult to grant NK an imaginative existence of its own now, although it had its own fans (and fanfiction and fanzines!) before FK came along. When I, personally, think of NK's story and universe, I almost always think of either:
  • "A Common Need," Chris H.'s NK/FK crossover, in which Dr. Natalie Lambert of FK's reality somehow switches places with Dr. Jack Brittington of NK's reality, and they get to compare their respective Nicks and their Nicks' situations.
  • "Cinderella's War" (whichever FKFic-L War number that was), in which someone brought NK's Nick into the FKFic-L War-verse... NK's Nick was easy to tell apart from all the other Nicks running around in that AUs-amuck scenario!

If you've seen NK, you don't need me to review that it's in Los Angeles instead of Toronto; Nick is 200 instead of 800, and Jean-Pierre instead of Nicolas; the ME is Jack instead of Natalie; Topper and Jeannie are senior citizens instead of teenagers; the '80s pop-rock soundtrack is utterly different from Mr. Mollin's FK scoring; Nick lives in a former movie palace with "It's a Wonderful Life" on the marquee instead of in a nondescript warehouse; there are no flashbacks; the inability of vampires to romance humans is more firmly established; vampires have somewhat greater tolerance for sunlight; vamping out looks more like in the Buffyverse than in FK; etc. etc. etc. I think that the vast majority of changes from NK to FK were well-chosen in FK's favor, and that a detailed run-down would become a bore. Still, I can't help observing once again that the NK Alyce is superior to FK's "Hold-me Hunter," a more rounded, dynamic, active character, who has idiosyncrasies (junk food, working too much, glasses, cacti), and was on site in Guatemala for the cup's excavation, followed Nick to the Raven (okay, the unnamed club owned by Janette) from a murder scene, and tried to stake Lacroix in the loft.

Only a very few things occurred to me for the first time on this viewing:
  • The abandoned movie palace in which Nick lives in NK put me in mind of the deserted church in which Vachon lives in third-season FK. The old movie palace is much grander than the old church, but Mr. Parriot ostensibly invented both, and I wondered if there were any sort of creative connection, or what both might say about their occupants within their respective stories. (I've also recently seen The Age of Adaline for the first time, and that movie's immortal protagonist's connection to a unique historical movie palace also came to mind as a parallel. Adaline and NK's Nick could talk...)
  • While there are, naturally, all but one of the same number of women characters in NK as in DK/DK2, I happened to notice this time that the woman taken hostage by the rogue shooter in NK manages to kick her own way free (and insult him), as well as that NK's Alyce was more active and direct. Most of all in first season FK, but generally overall from NK through LK, this story in all its variations did much, much better by its women characters than other shows of its genre generation.
  • Brandishing guns, oh my! I don't know whether it's the Los Angeles, the 1989, or my now-larger TV, but I very much noticed how often and with what flourish the police brandished their guns on this viewing. Good gravy. This just didn't look realistic to me in NK, for whatever reason; I found it cartoonish and more embarrassing than suspenseful.
  • Getting out of the Caddy in the parking garage, NK's Nick urgently changes his blue t-shirt... for another, very slightly different, blue t-shirt. What?

I do like NK's Nick very well. He's not my Nick, but if my Nick hadn't been invented, I would have rooted for NK's Nick. He wants to live and love as a human being. Life, not immortality. Similarly, I like NK's Jack very well. Had our Natalie never been invented, I would have been happy with Jack, I think.

What do you think? :-)

Next week: FK S1E01 "Dark Knight"

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Athelas K. Weedmalinaldarose on January 31st, 2016 01:08 pm (UTC)
I have not seen this in ages, though I do have it on DVD. I remember being so disappointed when I found out that when it all became a series, everyone (except Schanke) was recast. (My local CBS affiliate never picked up Crime Time After Prime Time, so it was some time later that I finally got to see FK.) But it all worked out....
Amy R.: Remote Controlbrightknightie on January 31st, 2016 07:53 pm (UTC)
from made-for-TV-movie to "Crimetime after Primetime"
I think that Mr. Springfield's acting in Nick Knight is nothing to complain about, and better than I would have expected for someone with a whole career in another field, and that the woman who played Alyce certainly did excellently. But, all in all, I think we got the best of the bargain with the cast eventually assembled for Forever Knight! :-)

I'm surprised and interested to learn that "Crimetime after Primetime" was optional for CBS affiliates!

(On last night's rewatch, I noticed the irony of the bit in the Nick Knight script when the NK Nick says to a crowd that "you should all be home watching Letterman." And of course eventually it would be hiring Letterman and moving him into the "Crimetime" timeslot that would cut FK off on CBS and set it adrift into syndication.)

Edited at 2016-01-31 07:54 pm (UTC)
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: vocationwiliqueen on February 7th, 2016 03:15 am (UTC)
On your last bullet point: My interpretation has always been that there was blood on that shirt, and the antsy urgency was that smelling it was driving him nuts.
Amy R.: Remote Controlbrightknightie on February 7th, 2016 03:41 am (UTC)
Your explanation is very rational and plausible! And that he keeps spare clothes in his trunk, apparently, is amusing and revealing.

It did rather helplessly occur to me that this is one of the things that didn't cross the NK-FK divide, and that the show exhibits more of Mr. Springfield's bare torso in this one story than of Mr. Wyn Davies's in three seasons. ~embarrassed grin~
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on February 7th, 2016 02:29 pm (UTC)
I remember seeing the stains on it even in 1989 broadcast standard, though I suspect if I got out my DVD right now they'd be much fainter than in my mental image.

Between the "trunk space" line and the spare clothes, I inferred that he'd probably cut it too close more than once and ended up spending the day in there. It's an argument for his being more reckless than FK Nick, which would track with Jack's accusations of a death wish. Or maybe just a comment on the difficulty of getting home in time in LA traffic...

I also recall the obligatory shirtlessness being amusing at the time, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it was obligatory, in the context of CBS having just stopped dishing up Tom Selleck on a weekly basis the year before. :-D

Edited at 2016-02-07 02:35 pm (UTC)
Amy R.: Remote Controlbrightknightie on February 14th, 2016 06:43 am (UTC)
>"...though I suspect if I got out my DVD right now they'd be much fainter than in my mental image."

I couldn't see the highly likely stains on NK Nick's blue t-shirt, but I'm rewatching DK2 tonight, and boy! FK Nick's white mock-turtleneck is all-over blood stains and "look! I was just in a fight!" smudges and dishevelment. :-)

And while FK's Nick doesn't change his shirt out of his trunk, he has what -- at this magnification on today's TV -- looks to me like a black backpack in his trunk, which he uses as a pillow. The backpack could well contain a change of clothes.

(DK2 suffers fewer missing scenes than DK1 on the Region 1 discs. I wonder why. Oh, FK, incarnate in more versions than even fans can count... ~grin~)