The next reboot to be announced is a new Max Headroom in the works at AMC Networks. As first reported by Deadline, original actor Matt Frewer has signed on to reprise his role as the bizarre titular character in an all-new drama series. Christopher Cantwell (Halt and Catch Fire) is writing the series and will serve as showrunner while Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah will produce for SpectreVision alongside All3Media. Frewer and Cantwell are also executive producing with Lisa Whalen.
The Max Headroom character is a fictional AI personality and was advertised when he first entered the scene in the 1980s as the world’s first “computer-generated TV presenter.” In actuality, it was actor Matt Frewer wearing prosthetics in front of a blue screen, though it had many viewers fooled at the time. The concept of the character, craeted by the team of George Stone, Annabel Jankel, and Rocky Morton, was to satirize the way television personalities of the time would attempt to ingratiate themselves with younger viewers.
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Max Headroom made his very first appearance in 1985’s Channel 4 TV movie Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future, which served as his origin story. He followed this up with the TV series The Max Headroom Show which saw the host commenting on music videos and other topics along with interviewing special guests. After that original talk show was canceled, the character would alter return in 1987 for the ABC drama series Max Headroom which lasted two years.
The character has also become infamous in a way after someone wearing a Max Headroom mask managed to hijack television broadcasts in Chicago in 1987. Viewers were suddenly shown footage of the unidentified masked person going on a rant before he could then be seen getting whacked on his bare bottom by a woman with a flyswatter. The feed then cut out and those responsible have never been identified for what is commonly referred to as the “Max Headroom incident.”
Max Headroom Made His Mark on Pop Culture
Max Headroom hasn’t starred in his own television series since the late ’80s, but references in pop culture in subsequent decades have kept his computer-generated spirit alive. He has been featured in various music videos, such as Eminem’s “Rap God” and Gigi D’Agostino’s “Another Way.” Selena Gomez also dresses up as Max Headroom in her video for “Love You Like a Love Song.” It has also been referenced in shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and BoJack Horseman and the video game Wasteland 3 features an image of Ronald Reagan that’s designed to resemble Max Headroom.
Perhaps it was just a matter of time before the mysterious Max Headroom would return with an all-new television series. It will be interesting to see how this character connects with viewers after decades of technological advancements and if audiences of 2022 will respond to Max Headroom in quite the same way. In any case, with the original actor reprising the role, this will be worth checking out for anyone with memories of the classic character.