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In the post-apocalyptic future where television sets are more important than food, TV ratings are the all important currency of the nation. A new technique of preventing viewers from channel surfing proves somewhat detrimental to particularly sedentary couch potatoes. The top studio becomes concerned: dead viewers make for low ratings. Edison Carter, top news reporter, is sent to find out more. After a motorcycle accident, his mind is preserved by wizz-kid Bryce and becomes his wise cracking, computer generated alter-ego: Max Headroom, who manages to boost ratings above those of any live hosts to date. This made for TV movie was later remade (sanitized version) as the first episode of the series. Written by
Sven Kahrkling <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film is set "20 minutes into the future". See more »
And then there's politicians. It's easy to tell when a politician is lying: their lips move.
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The credits roll over a shot of the overpass that our heroes just passed under. After a few minutes the van owned by the thugs that "killed" Edison passes under it - apparently going after our heroes. See more »
The "future" of media that has now become all too real
I happened on the "Max Headroom: 20 minutes into the future" film on the cable channel Cinemax by accident in 1986 or so. The story, the setting, and the characters drew me in and I was blown away. It had the dreary, rainy, dark mood of "Blade Runner" and "Alien" with a touch of film noir where everyone smokes and the surrounding city is dirty and decaying. The cautionary tale of corporate control is dead on target even becoming more true than when this film came out.
There is an underground of people who don't exist - called 'Blanks' - and others who kidnap and kill people to sell their organs at the local tissue collection agencies.
Amongst this backdrop is Edison Carter - played by Matt Frewer - star reporter for Network 23. He uncovers evidence that his employer is killing viewers in an effort to generate more ad revenue. Instead of "killing the story" as happens today, the bosses decide to kill Edison. They have a problem in doing this however. Being that Edison is the star of the network, if he dies then people will know something is up. Enter teen genius Bryce Lynch - played by Paul Spurrier - who does his best thinking while taking a bath, downloads Edison's brain into a computer. He uses that to create a computer version of Edison in hopes of fooling the viewers.
All is not well when virtual Edison takes the name Max Headroom and escapes the control of Lynch and Network 23.
Helped by the lovely Theora Jones - played by Amanda Pays - and the leader of the Blanks, Blank Reg - played by William Morgan Sheppard - Max puts the screws on Network 23 and the whole corporate control culture.
Frewer is a hoot as Max. His zingers through out the movie help lighten the dark tones and Max is not just a computer clone of Edison. Max is how Edison wishes he could be.
Pays is lovely as Edison's and later Max's producer. She and Max have a good relationship.
Sheppard's Blank Reg is an aging punk rocker with a Mohawk to boot. He has it all figured out.
If you get a chance to see this movie then do it. You won't be sorry.
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