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"Max Headroom" Body Banks (1987)

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Lives for sale

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
16 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Max attempts to fill in the gaps in his and Carter's memory. Moreover, Network 23 executives want Max to endorse a Zik Zak product. Meanwhile, a man abducts Theora (superbly played by the lovely Amanda Pays) in order to alert Edison (the always excellent and appealing Matt Frewer) to a shady underground medical facility that specializes in the harvesting of stolen human organs. Director Francis Delia does an ace job of creating and sustaining an appropriately dark and gloomy tone. This episode is especially important for introducing the terrific William Morgan Sheppard as jolly punk anarchist Blank Reg and the delightful Concetta Tomei as Reg's sharp-tongued companion Blank Dominique. Jere Burns and Rick Ducommun are effectively creepy, chilling, and grotesque as brutish thug Breughel and his equally vicious partner Mahler. Longtime favorite 80's horror slasher sequel mainstay Juliette Cummins has a cool bit as brash punkette thief Paula while J.W. Smith makes a welcome return appearance as the street smart Rik. Robert M. Stevens' funky cinematography provides the show's trademark gnarly'n'hazy quasi-futuristic noir look. Cory Lerios' brooding score likewise hits the shuddery spot. Best of all, the acrid and gripping script by Steve Roberts delivers a strong central message about how the rich and powerful will gladly prey on the vulnerable poor who exit on the fringes of society in order to achieve immortality.

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Max Headroom--Body Banks

7/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
8 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Perhaps notable for the casting of William Morgan Sheppard (wearing a Mohawk and outfitted in punk!), along with Concetta Tomei, as a couple (she is a polar opposite from Sheppard, a bit more refined and headstrong), this episode is quite a locomotive-paced episode that hardly catches a breath. Edison is pursued by a young man who wants him to find his girlfriend (snatched away by the punk version of Burke and Hare, Mahler (Rick Ducommun) and Brueghel (Jere Burns)), taken to a "body doc" looking for a pituitary gland in particular. The Zik-Zak Corporation, a major financial supporter for Network 23, wants Max Headroom to be a mouthpiece for them in a promotional campaign. Max will only listen to Edison and causes problems for Network 23 due to his unpredictable swipes at the very company he's supposed to be publicizing for. Edison is more concerned with finding a girl before she's killed by the surgeon of a millionaire wanting his ailing mother on life support to have her mind done the same way as Max. Formby (Virginia Kiser), one of the suits at Network 23, having an affair with Cheviot (it was used as blackmail against her by those involved in demanding the dying woman's rescue through the same format Bryce used while Edison was incapacitated to create Max), basically kidnaps Bryce, forcing him into a trip to the millionaire's home where his mom is hooked to a ventilator and in a coma, and the kid genius will try to communicate with Theora, placing an alert to Edison that the girl is at his location. Max is a major reason behind how Edison can get to that location and stop a murder. On the show, Max does have his moments to shine, but I have noticed that Edison is just as important to the overall stories of these episodes. Max in small doses is perhaps for the best; his curiosity about a "hole" in his memory due to Edison's drinking into unconsciousness is one of the funnier bits. Max, though, functions as a help to the show's heroes. Like how he's the eyes that tell Theora and Murray that Formby is part of this despicable body robbing operation where the "fringers" (those down on their luck and poor surrounding the city) are attacked and carted off to be harvested and used for their body parts. So Max is more than just comedy relief, which I consider a wise and clever way to use the character without totally relying on him to carry the show, episode to episode. Robert Dowdell (Chip Morton of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) has a guest appearance as the surgeon pressuring the body doctors (who freeze the bodies and provide them to clients) for the certain female needed to help keep his client's mother alive. Edison seems mostly annoyed and disinterested in the story he's following this go-around. Perhaps Matt Frewer was just bored but the character looks drained and uninspired in this episode.

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