Network 23 TV reporter Edison Carter investigates the unusual death of a man in a low-rent apartment. Police aren’t saying much, and they’re not cooperating with Edison’s investigations – in fact, they sedate the victim’s wife while Edison is interviewing her during a live newscast. Edison’s boss gets a call from Network 23’s board of directors, ordering him to pull the story immediately – and the moment Edison’s camera light goes out when his satellite feed is cut, the police turn on him, and he has to make a desperate escape to the relative safety of the Network 23 helicopter. When he returns to the newsroom, Edison promptly decks his controller, Gorrister, and demands to know why Murray allowd the network’s board to pull the story.
In fact, what neither Edison nor Murray knows is that Edison was dangerously close to exposing the hazardous nature of Network 23’s new method of advertising, blipverts. The high-speed, compressed blipverts, while effectively cramming a few minutes’ worth of advertising messages into the viewer’s brain in nanoseconds, can also cause more sedentary viewers to spontaneously combust. Network 23’s corrupt chairman, Ned Grossberg, could care less about the mounting death toll, and resists board member Ben Cheviot’s insistence that the blipverts should be pulled in the interest of public safety.
Murray assigns a new controller, Theora Jones, to work with Edison. Though the jaded reporter is skeptical, he’s struck by her beauty – and her prolific hacking skills when she finds Network 23’s well-hidden research and development department. The network’s R&D isn’t so much a think tank as it is a single mind, brilliant boy inventor Bryce Lynch. Edison breaks into Bryce’s concealed apartment and finds the only evidence in existence of the deadly nature of blipverts. Before he can transmit that evidence back to the newsroom, however, Edison finds his satellite camera jammed and his network’s own security forces hot on his tail. With Theora’s help, Edison gets to a motorcycle and nearly escapes with what he’s learned, but Bryce springs a trap by remote control, sending Edison’s bike airborne. The last thing Edison sees before he slams into it is a clearance sign reading “Max Headroom, 2.3 meters.”
Edison is taken back to Bryce’s apartment. Grossberg wants Edison questioned about what he knows of the blipverts, but doesn’t want to risk awakening the reporter and allowing him to learn more. Bryce comes up with an alternative: scanning Edison’s synapses, transferring his knowledge and memories into the computer, and asking the resulting computer-generated construct what it knows. What Bryce doesn’t anticipate, however, is that the artificial intelligence created from Edison Carter’s mind – a personality which assumes a name from Edison’s last memory, Max Headroom – is every bit as stubborn and smart as Edison himself. And even if Edison is killed and disposed of, Max has worked his way into Network 23’s electronic infrastructure, and Max remembers everything Edison has seen, including the vital evidence that could topple the network and its chairman.
Season One Regular Cast: Matt Frewer (Edison Carter / Max Headroom), Amanda Pays (Theora Jones), George Coe (Ben Cheviot), Chris Young (Bryce Lynch), Jeffrey Tambor (Murray)
Guest Cast: Jere Burns (Breughel), Rick Ducommon (Mahler), Charles Rocket (Ned Grossberg), Hank Garrett (Ashful), Virginia Kiser (Julia Formby), Lee Wilkof (Pat Zein), Billie Bird (Florence Nightingale), Ken Swofford (Gorrister), Viola Kates Stimpson (?), Urene Olga Lopez (?), Pearl Shear (?), Ricardo Gutierrez (Martinez), Skip O’Brien (?), Matt Roe (?), John Davey (?), Taylor Presnell (?), Heath Jobes (?)
LogBook entry by Earl Green