20 minutes into the future, the world has become imbued network-television. It's illegal to turn off your TV, and televisions are given to the needy. In this world, Network 23 has a highly-rated news program with a roving reporter named Edison Carter. But Carter uncovers a plot to cover up lethal "blipverts" and is almost killed. In the process his mind is copied into a computer and the computer-generated personality "Max Headroom" is born. Together, Max and Edison, along with Edison's controller (Theora), their boss (Murray), their boss' boss (Ben Cheviot), and Network 23's boy-genius (Bryce) combat crime, placate sponsors, defeat rival networks, and turn in stories. 14 episodes. Written by
According to the first episode, the name "Max Headroom" came about when Edison Carter was fleeing from security guards on a motorcycle, and he ran into a parking garage exit gate labeled MAX HEADROOM. While he was in a coma his memory was downloaded into a computer by Bryce Lynch and the computer-generated personality chose this to be its new name. See more »
The show has surprise, shock, pace... and huge cash stakes. I've accomplished the impossible... I've replaced mindless action with fascination.
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Which is, unfortunately, mostly what succeeds on TV these days. Shows such as Max Headroom are just too intelligent, and go over the head of Average Joe TV Viewer (or Average Joe TV Executive). With all the proliferation and specialization of TV channels these days, maybe some day we can have an "Intelligent TV Channel" where shows like these can flourish and those too dim to "get it" can just remove it from their channel rotation.
Max Headroom was brilliant. One of the most spot-on and funny pieces of satire ever produced. The fact that it was satirizing the very medium that produced it probably had something to do with its short life, as well. I mean, when you're satirizing stupidity, obviously stupidity is going to react, just by definition.
Any TV producers out there reading this -- there's an idea for you. Create an "Intelligent TV Channel", and give us shows like this, or Key West, Brimstone, Cupid, etc. You could even call it that, as a dig at the mindless drivel that pours off the screen most of the time.
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