Max Headroom Reboot In The Works As Nation Desperately Attempts To Flee To The '80s

It's all '80s, all the time these days, from fashion to music, and we're about to add yet another 1980s staple to our lives. Deadline is reporting that a "Max Headroom" reboot is in the works at AMC networks. Matt Frewer, who starred in the original series, is set to reprise the role of Max, who was an A.I. TV personality and host. This comes to us from "Halt and Catch Fire" co-creator Christopher Cantwell, who will write and act as showrunner. 

I only have the vaguest memories of Max Headroom as a character, and to be honest, it's mostly from the New Coke commercials he was in. I remember him saying in his trademark broken speech, "C-c-c-caatch the wave." 

Max was a character that looks like he was created by a computer, and we only saw his head against a very '80s geometric background. He had slicked back "hair," and often wore black sunglasses. He would "glitch" and sort of stutter words as his program lost and gained signals. (At least that's how it appeared to me.) He was quippy, with biting humor from what I recall, but I don't remember the show other than the fact that he was in it. 

What I didn't know as a kid, is that the character was introduced to the world in a 1985 British TV movie called "Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future." It was set, obviously, in the near future, when a television journalist named Edison Carter (Frewer) challenges the network he works for. He's taken off a story and attacked by his enemies, causing him to crash his motorcycle into a low-clearance sign that says "Max. Headroom 2.3m." An A.I. is created using his brain, and thus Max Headroom is born.

C-c-c-catch the wave

There was a weird Max Headroom cultural moment that I also don't remember, but did listen to a podcast episode about recently. On November 22, 1987, as Vice reports, a person in a Max Headroom mask hijacked the signal of two TV stations in Chicago. There was distorted audio, and the person who did it showed their butt and had it smacked with a flyswatter at the end. No one knows who it was to this day.

Max Headroom was also the star of a primetime series on ABC from 1987-1988 (which is the one I sort of, kind of recall commercials for) and hosted a music-video show. The character has appeared more recently, as Deadline points out, in shows like "BoJack Horseman" and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." The new series is produced by Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah's SpectreVision and All3Media, with Cantwell, Frewer, and Lisa Whalen producing as well.

With A.I. in a vastly different place in 2022, it will be interesting to see how they manage to update the character. I will always have a soft spot for Matt Frewer from one of my all-time favorite TV series, "Eureka," where he played Dr. Jim Taggart. Frewer has also appeared in series like "Orphan Black," "Fear the Walking Dead," "The Magicians," and "The Order," as well as films like "Hercules" and Steven Spielberg's "The BFG."