I need to geek out a bit. I received my copy of the recent release of the complete Max Headroom series from the 1980s yesterday. Watched the first episode with my daughters. I’m not sure they get the irony of what they watched, but they really liked Max!
For those of you who don’t remember, Max Headroom was a cyberpunk setting “20 minutes from now” in the future where the world has gone to heck and the multi-national corporations have taken over the world. Edison Carter (the indomitable Matt Frewer) is a reporter for Network 23 determined to get to the truth of any story. Unfortunately for him, the network sometimes conspires against him.
When an accident happens escaping some bad folks in the first episode, Edison is taken to the lab of the young Bryce Lynch (Chris Young) – Network 23’s technological prodigy. Bryce has figured out a way to capture the mind and personality of a person (or parrot, as that was his first experiment) and create a virtual person in the computer out of that data. When Bryce tries it with Edison’s brain, Max Headroom is created. But Max doesn’t quite turn out as expected. Because of the bump on Edison’s head or getting some wires crossed, Max is a wild card – saying and doing crazy things to get better ratings or even just get noticed.
Edison is helped by hacker Theora Jones (the gorgeous and British Amanda Pays who I was in love with in the late ’80s – still may be), who manages to hack and connive her way through computer systems and cameras to get Edison where he needs to be to get a story – and then get him safely out again when he gets what he needs. That of course is the trick.
Max Headroom as a series warped my brain in my last year of high school. With its old typewriter-style keyboards (in the style of the movie Brazil by Terry Gilliam) and computer graphics that were way ahead of its time, it set me even more firmly on the course of becoming the computer geek I am today.
So now I’m excited to share the series with my daughters. It gives me an excuse to watch every episode again. I’m amazed at how much I remember!
The picture quality is a bit grainy, but this is 20+ year old footage, so I’m not surprised. But the stories are still just as relevant – and maybe more so – today in the mass media and technologically advanced world we live in.
Be sure to check out Max Headroom: The Complete Series on DVD at your favorite retailer. I know I’m going to enjoy every single show!
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