M-M-M-Max Headroom Moves From Cyberspace to D-D-D-DVD At Last!


One of the most intelligent, twisted and provocative TV series of all-time is finally getting a DVD release. Max Headroom, the w-a-a-a-a-y-y-y too hip for the room satire [and TV’s first CG character] that ran on ABC from March, 1987 to May, 1988, will be available on DVD as of August 10, courtesy of Shout! Factory, the folks who have given us other fine cult TVonDVD releases like Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and thirtysomething.

Details from the press release [including series description] follow the jump.

In the futuristic world of computers and fantasy, anything is possible, including the rise of the opinionated, computer-simulated multimedia personality Max Headroom. A pervasive pop culture icon, Max Headroom heralded the coming of trans-media age like a mad prophet of the airwaves, bolstered by his own international talk show, music video, countless major brand endorsement, merchandising and TV series. The landmark 1980s TV satire Max Headroom explored the television industry through the unique view of a sci-fi lens, featuring quirky visuals and adventurous, timely plotlines. One of the first TV series aimed at the video/computer generation, the critically acclaimed Max Headroom, starring Matt Frewer, W. Morgan Sheppard, Jeffrey Tambor and Amanda Pays, found instant fan support from the moment it debuted on ABC in 1987. Never mind Broadcast News or Network: it was Max Headroom taking on the truth about TV, in what was then an unthinkable  4,000 channel  universe, where television sets are never turned off and cameras watch you everywhere. 

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  • Live On Network 23: The Story Of Max HeadroomCo-creators/directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, co-creator George Stone, executive producer Peter Wagg, producer Brian Frankish and writers Steve Roberts and Michael Cassutt share their stories behind the British movie and American TV series that created an icon.
  • Looking Back At The FutureAn intimate roundtable discussion with Amanda Pays, Jeffrey Tambor, Concetta Tomei and Chris Young, moderated by Max Headroom superfan and creator of The Middleman Javier Grillo-Marxuach.
  • The BigTime Blanks – Morgan Sheppard and Concetta Tomei reflect on Max Headroom and the friendship that has endured over the 20+ years since the series’ cancellation.
  • The Science Behind The FictionCo-creator George Stone reveals his own philosophies and technology’s role in the creation of Max Headroom.
  • Producing DystopiaProducer Brian Frankish recounts the chaotic and rewarding task of producing a series set 20 Minutes into the Future.
  • The Writers Remember Executive story editor Steve Roberts and story editor Michael Cassutt share their stories of writing for the world’s first computer-generated TV star.

Cast Glossy

And just who exactly is Max Headroom? The answer starts with Edison Carter (Matt Frewer), a no-nonsense star reporter for Network 23. He has a talent for digging up a deadly secret that could shake up his station’s dominion over its viewers.  This is just the kind of breaking news that network big wheels like to bury.

After Edison is pulled from a story, he’s immediately suspicious, especially when he’s also chased away from a secret room. Escaping from the scene, he crashes his motorcycle, and Network 23’s one-man tech department/teenage computer hacker Bryce Lynch (Chris Young) takes advantage of Edison’s misfortune.  Bryce creates a computer-generated image of the unconscious reporter, and the cyber-result is a freewheeling personality who calls himself Max Headroom (“Max. Headroom. 2.7 m.” – the maximum clearance vehicle height – were the last words Edison glimpsed before his crash into a road barrier).

The brash Max is also portrayed by Frewer, thanks to cutting-edge computer effects, and is an unpredictable, darkly humorous guy – who resides in a TV set, of course!  A computer glitch provides his distinctive, sometimes s-s-s-stammering speech pattern.  He serves as Edison’s unfiltered, outspoken alter ego, who makes no secret of his contempt for the TV business.  Even as Edison recovers and continues his investigative journalistic quest, Max remains an unhinged presence, always ready with a quip that hits home. ”You know how to tell when a network president is lying?” asks Max. ”His lips move.”

The series also starred Amanda Pays as Theora Jones, Edison’s computer-savvy partner;  W. Morgan Sheppard as “Blank Reg,” a buddy who broadcasts underground news from his bus; and Jeffrey Tambour as Murray, Edison’s harried, neurotic boss.  Pays, Sheppherd and Frewer reprised their roles from the British film that inspired the series: Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future.  The series first appeared on ABC as a mid-season replacement in 1987, and quickly became a hit, returning in the fall and airing until 1988.

With a fast-paced irreverence and witty writing, the show delved into all aspects of the television business, from political advertising to televangelism, news coverage and the ratings game – all laced with a cynically comic edge. Max, the first computer-enhanced celebrity, was the undisputed star of the innovative but short-lived series.

A sci-fi program like no other, Max Headroom gazed into the not-too-distant future, and found that, surprise, the future is now!