Aug 27, 2010

Science Scene - Max Headroom

I loved watching this show.  For those who don't know the premise of the 1987-88 series, where every episode begins with the tagline "twenty minutes into the future," here's a quick recap. Investigative reporter Edison Carter works for Network 23 in an undefined cyberpunk future, where all media is ad-supported and ratings rule all. Reporters carry "rifle cameras," gun-shaped video cameras, which are wirelessly linked back to a "controller" in the newsroom. Edison's controller is Theora, who accesses information online - everything from apartment layouts to secret security footage - to help him with investigations.

They're aided in their investigations by a sarcastic AI named Max Headroom, built by geek character Bryce and based on Edison's memories. Sometimes producer Murray (Jeffrey Tambor) helps out, as does Reg, a pirate TV broadcaster known as a "blank" because he's erased his identity from corporate databases.
In the world of Max Headroom, it's illegal for televisions to have an off switch. Terrorists are reality TV stars. And super-fast subliminal advertisements called blipverts have started to blow people up by overstimulating the nervous systems of people who are sedentary and eat too much fat. The series was produced by a British company for American television, and the character Max Headroom also starred in commercials and was a VJ for a shortlived music video show.
There are many reasons to watch this show, from its great writing to its straight-outta-Neuromancer feel, but the best reason is that it's still managed to stay relevant over two decades after it was canceled. And that's because the show got so many predictions right.



  1. Unironically, it seems that someone had a mirror held to the future. Didn't this start out on cable before it made network tv?

  2. That was a fun jaunt down memory lane. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. I remember this show, but don't remember being impressed. Hmmm Maybe time to give it another look.

  4. Fun show Ken. Max was awesome.


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