"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Max Headroom
Max Headroom
20 Minutes Into The Future,
25 Years Into the Past
By Rotten
When I was growing up, music and television were my life, I watched TV like it was going out of fashion, and I still recall the day I first saw Max Headroom
There was all this talk of a TV show hosted by a stuttering, computer generated head, that showed music videos.....It was so new, so different, . Britain's newest TV station Channel 4 were showing the movie pilot on how he came to be, and I HAD to see it.
The premise of the story was that Network 23's best video journalist, Edison Carter (played expertly by Matt Frewer), gets too close to a story involving his own network, and during a bike chase, has an 'accident' and smashes through a Maximum Headroom barrier in the Network building car park. To keep his shows going, (and the BLIPVERT affect a secret), The network's boffin Bryce Lynch recreates Carter's mind on a computer screen.....It has his looks, sense of humor, but worryingly, his memory.
Although the Network tries to have Carter killed and disposed of, he escapes the Body Bank, and exposes the truth about Blipverts........and Max Headroom is born.
Originally created for Channel 4 to host the music video series, Max was the brainchild of Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel,with make up by Peter McKenzie Litten of U.K.'s Coast to Coast Productions. The backgrounds were originally hand drawn lines, until the Cinemax series, when the backgrounds were created on an Amiga home computer. Max's suit was fibreglass. After the first season of The Max Headroom show, U.S station Cinemax got hip to it, and commissioned a series entitled The Max Talking Headroom Show in 1986. This show featured celebrity interviews and comedy as well as videos, and a new season in 1987 aired consecutively on Cinemax and Channel 4 in the UK.
I was mesmerized as a youth, Max was funny, and people even believed he was computer generated!!! The Max make up took 6 hours to apply to Frewer, but sadly at the character's peak, the guy who designed the make up didn't even get paid!!!
Max was becoming a pop culture icon by 1987, advertising New Coke, Radio Rentals (a TV hire chain in the UK), and had a hit single with the Art Of Noise called PARANOIA.
Then the ABC network commissioned a season titled MAX HEADROOM......this was a Sci Fi series following on from the UK pilot movie with Max and Edison Carter exposing crime, a great adventure series, both funny and gripping, even running to a second season, until disaster struck!..........
This series, kept taking a stab at television, It was biting the hand that fed it, and in 1988 the show was canceled, leaving three episodes unaired, How could it compete for ratings, being shown opposite Dallas and Miami Vice!
Max was gone for good............or was he??????
On 22 November 1987, two Chicago TV stations had their signals hacked by a man wearing a Max Headroom mask, the second of the two, on WTTW Channel 11, was hacked during an episode of Doctor who, with "Max" talking unintelligibly, insulting WGN workers, and then being spanked on his bare buttocks with a fly swatter!!!! The Hacker was never caught.......
Then in 2007, the REAL Max Headroom returned in a series of Advertisements for Channel 4's digital switch over (Get Set For Digital campaign), in the commercials, Max looks aged, the new make up really setting the jokes up well.
Max's influence has spread to parodies in Back To The future 2, Sledgehammer, a Playboy feature (Maxine Legroom), comic books, video games, and even a pornographic movie, called Maxine!!!
During the late Nineties, i Campaigned to get the series re-broadcast, and for my efforts, Channel 4 in the UK screened the pilot movie as part of their 25th anniversary celebrations, and cable TV's Sci Fi channel showed all episodes of the Sci Fi series......I was finally able to relive my youth!
There are so many Max Headroom fans on line buzzing about the DVD release of the series which has not happened. There are questions and legal problems on who owns the rights to Max. All3media owns part of it, as do Chrysalis Visual Programming in the UK. Because of this, we fans will never get a full Max Headroom remastered DVD set, so will have to make do with the ones we find on E-Bay.
25 years after the series ended, Max Headroom is still remembered fondly, as the greatest Cyberpunk series of them all.