Grab your floppy discs, crank the Duran Duran, and crack open some ice cold New Coke. Max Headroom, the perplexing fictional character played by Matt Frewer in a variety of television forms, is coming back, as per an announcement in Deadline.
Halt and Catch Fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell, working with Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah’s company SpectreVision, will bring the series to AMC. While a reboot of an old “oh, I know that!” IP can often lead to rolled eyes, anyone who has seen a SpectreVision project knows this group comes correct. (Stream Mandy or, better yet, The Greasy Strangler, if you dare.)
While the image of Max Headroom is likely familiar to most, the origin of this character can get a little murky. His first appearance was in a 1985 dystopian comedy for British television, Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future, in which a television journalist played by Frewer named Edison Carter gets his consciousness cloned and uploaded into an AI wacky television host named Max Headroom. (The last thing he saw before an automobile accident that read Max. Headroom: 2:3 M.) There follows an adventure tale involving a corrupt television network overstimulating viewers to death with super-short subliminal commercials called “blipverts.”
Almost simultaneously, The Max Headroom Show, in which “Max” would introduce music videos and interview guests, debuted on Britain’s Channel 4. It was claimed that the glitchy character was entirely computer generated, but this was not true; it was Frewer under a lot of makeup.
Much of the Max Headroom experiment shared a similar look and feel to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, which was released at around the same time. Both shows eventually made their way to America via MTV, and eventually ABC launched a series based on the fictional film, while Cinemax continued the talk show.