Star Trek and Team Knight Rider

Star Trek (1966-1969)
Team Knight Rider (1997-1998)
Type: Crossover
Group: 10

   With all due respect to fans of Star Trek, Team Knight Rider and the writer of the episode I am about to discuss, this just shouldn't have happened. No really. I'm serious. It's just too freakin' weird second only to Star Trek: The Next Generation crossing over with the X-Men in funkiness (thank God that happened in a book and not on TV so I don't have to deal with it).

   I'm not even sure how to write this. It involves a character that was featured on both the original Star Trek and on the show Team Knight Rider. In real world TV terms Star Trek comes first but going chronologically in the show's timelines Team Knight Rider comes first. This is all just so weird and distressing. I'm not kidding.

   Okay, on the episode "The Changeling" of the original Star Trek, the Enterprise encounters a space probe named Nomad. Nomad was a space probe from Earth that merged with a probe named Tan-Ru sent into space by another race. The original Nomad probe was created by a scientist named Jackson Roykirk. Jackson Roykirk's goal had been to create the perfect artificially intelligent computer.

   When The Enterprise encounters the now fully sentient Nomad it is on a mission to destroy anything it views as non perfect life in the galaxy. As you can guess that means it's pretty much killing anything and everything. Specifically biological life. The Enterprise is saved from attack when Nomad mistakes the name Captain James Kirk for Jackson Roykirk. Thinking daddy's on board it calms down on the whole "kill kill kill" attitude... for awhile. Once it realizes "daddy" is biological Nomad gets back on the carnage bandwagon until Kirk defeats it with... logic (Spock should sue - he owns the Star Trek logic franchise).

   Kirk points out Nomad is killing all imperfect life. But Nomad mistook Kirk's name for his creator's. Thus, Nomad is imperfect. Faced with its own imperfection, Nomad blows itself up. I have to say, with someone so unable to deal with such a simple defeat suicide was inevitable. Not the guy you want to play cards with: he wins and its bad for you, he loses and he's got his head in the oven. Calm down little Nomad! I mean before you decide to take the big dirt nap over mishearing something you might want to consider getting your ears checked. Or here's a thought: maybe it wasn't a mistake based on your imperfection. Maybe the guy talking to you mumbled. Their imperfection not yours. Hello? And now you've gone and blowed yourself up because somebody else needs to enunciate more clearly.

   But I kid the deadly killing machine.

   Okay, cut to some 20 odd years later in our time and many MANY years earlier in Trek/Knight Rider's time. Team Knight Rider, a resurrection of the old Knight Rider series presented viewers not just with one talking car and its driver but a whole team of five talking vehicles and their drivers fighting the good fight against evil.

   In one episode the team found themselves facing off a Televangelist with an uncanny ability to predict when God would unleash his wrath in the form of earthquakes. Hmmm. How could he know? Oh wait. Because he causes them. D'oh!

   It seems that God is getting some help from Reverend Ransom and his good old earthquake machine.

   I know, "How the hell does this tie in to Star Trek?" Patience, patience.

   One of the team, Kevin "Trek" Sanders (see, "Trek"... it's coming), kinda goes missing only to show up on Reverend Ransom's TV show. Seems he decided to infiltrate the reverend's church on his own. Why would he do that? Well because "Trek" himself invented the stupid earthquake machine when he was a student at M.I.T. ten years earlier. Even though "Trek" did all the work, the project was headed by another scientist named... if you don't see it coming by now your blind... Dr. Jackson Roykirk. You know, Nomad's pappy. Seems old Roykirk's helping out crazy Reverend guy (sort of ironic and appropriate since Roykirk is played by M*A*S*H's resident priest, "Father Mulcahy", William Christopher). Yep, seems good old stable Roykirk has bought into the whole "earthquake machine" = "divine hand of God" idea. Pretty stupid genius ya ask me. Needless to say, the talking lube-job brigade kicks some crazy evangelistic arse and saves the day. Now since Nomad isn't launched till 2020 I'm guessing between this episode and Nomad's creation Roykirk got the therapy his boy Nomad so badly needed.

   Still, this Roykirk guy has a pretty crappy track record in the whole inventing game. First he heads a team to make an earthquake machine. Yeah, because that can be put to so many positive uses like... uh.... uh... creating petty havoc? Then the guy tries to do good. He comes up with a project with no possible negative repercussions: make a semi-sentient robot space probe that is supposed to go into space and look for alien life. No brainer. Its a feel good positive mission all around with no downside. Thing is leaving Earth so it can't hurt anyone and the odds of it even finding life out in space are so slim the odds of any problem is infinitesimal. But oh no. The guy ends up creating a hard of healing perfectionist that manages to kill off all the humanoid life in an entire space sector before it gets a B on an aural test and decides to take a pass on the whole life thing. Way to create an emissary of peace Roykirk! Please stop inventing helpful items before you kill us all.

   All that said, here is my big problem with the idea of these shows being connected. Okay okay I get the fun. You have a character named "Trek" and you make his mentor an obscure Star Trek character. Very nice. And given how distinct the name Jackson Roykirk is and that the time periods line up I'm fully willing to say this counts as a crossover. But here's the thing. The Knight Rider shows feature computer technology so advanced that not only can it create talking vehicles, it can create talking vehicles with artificial intelligence so elaborate that the vehicles have wisecracking and distinct personalities. Yet 20 years later Roykirk's best effort at artificial intelligence - Nomad - is nowhere near as sophisticated and, as it turns out, badly flawed. And forget that. In the time period the original Trek takes place the artificially intelligent computers Starfleet uses are emotion free bland stiffs. What the hell? In 1980 we can build smart ass chatty Trans Ams but by the 23rd century they've forgotten how to do that. Dahhh! I expected better of Starfleet. My guess is those freaking emotionless Vulcan's must have gotten Starfleet's AI contracts and thus deprived us of smart talking space ships. Damn you Spock!

Other Star Trek Crossover Links
Star Trek and Enterprise
Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek and Star Trek: Voyager

Other Team Knight Rider Crossover Links
Team Knight Rider and Knight Rider

Links To Star Trek Related Web Sites
Cynics Corner (Star Trek Episode Reviews)
The Official Star Trek Web Site

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