MAX HEADROOM Reboot With Star Matt Frewer In Development At AMC

Network 23’s biggest star may be coming back on the air, live and direct.

AMC networks is reportedly developing a reboot of the 1980s TV series Max Headroom, with star Matt Frewer attached to reprise his role as the titular artificial intelligence television personality.

Deadline is reporting that Halt And Catch Fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell will be writing the adaptation and is attached to serve as showrunner for the project. Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah’s SpectreVision and All3Media are producing the project.

The 1980s series centered on the exploits of Edison Carter (also Frewer), a reporter for Network 23 in a somewhat dystopian time some “20 minutes into the future.” While on a particular assignment, his brain is scanned into an artificial intelligence program creating Max Headroom, a wisecracking computerized personality who quickly becomes Network 23’s biggest star as well as someone who helps Edison with his investigations.

The character of Max Headroom was the creation of British music video directors George Stone, Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, as a new wave chat show presenter on Britain’s Channel 4. The character’s backstory was given in a TV movie, Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future, which aired before the chat show premiered. US cable channel Showtime picked up the series, where the character’s popularity exploded across the country. Some commercial endorsements followed before ABC commissioned their series, a more straight forward science fiction drama.

Max Headroom only ran for two short seasons on ABC between 1987 and 1988, but is considered a landmark for several reasons. It was the first television series to bring the emerging cyberpunk subgenre of science-fiction to people’s living rooms on a weekly basis. Thematically, it used its near-future world of television networks competing for ratings at all costs to satirize the then-current state of the industry, as well as politics and other aspects of society.

Given the media landscape of today, this certainly feels like a good time for a revival of the show. The original series often dealt with themes of political corruption, unethical big business practices and media manipulation. It will certainly be interesting to see today’s information landscape, including the emergence of social media, filtered through the show’s satiric lens. Hopefully the new show will retain the original’s stunning future-noir, Blade Runner-inspired aesthetic.

Max Headroom

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About Rich Drees 6964 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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