Max Headroom

Max HeadroomInvestigative journalist Edison Carter, trying to uncover the truth of whether or not nearly-subliminal “blipverts” are causing television-addicted viewers to spontaneously combust, discovers that the trail of evidence leads to his own employer: television mega-corporation Network 23. Edison’s producers and backup team support his investigation, but Network 23 boss Ned Grossman all but orders a hit on his own newsman. Suffering a severe head injury, Edison is left to the care of amoral boy genius Bryce, who scans Edison’s brain and uses the resulting fragmented data to create a computerized avatar of Edison, Max Headroom, hoping to discover through Max exactly how much Edison knew about the effects of blipverts. But if Network 23 was worried about Edison’s headstrong independent streak, Max’s unhinged personality and ability to hack their systems from the inside – as well is a tenacious stubborn streak inherited from Edison – may spell an even bigger threat, especially once Max teams up with a pirate broadcaster known as Blank Reg.

screenplay by Steve Roberts
from an original idea by George Stone, Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel
directed by Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel
music by Midge Ure & Chris Cross

Max HeadroomCast: Matt Frewer (Edison Carter / Max Headroom), Nickolas Grace (Grossman), Hilary Tindall (Dominique), William Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Amanda Pays (Theora Jones), Paul Spurrier (Bryce Lynch), Hilton McRae (Breugal), George Rossi (Mahler), Roger Sloman (Murray), Anthony Dutton (Gorrister), Constantine Gregory (Ben Cheviot), Lloyd McGuire (Edwards), Elizabeth Richardson (Ms. Formby), Gary Hope (Ashwell), Joane Hall (Body Bank Receptionist), Howard Samuels (ENG Reporter), Roger Tebb (Helipad Reporter), Val McLane (Eyewitness), Michael Cule (Exploding Man)

Max HeadroomNotes: This one-off movie was virtually remade – right down to using the UK-shot miniature landscapes of the Network 23 tower and its surrounding cityscape – as the first episode of the American-made Max Headroom series, which ran from 1986 to 1987. Changes were very minimal: Grossman became Grossberg, and Amanda Pays and W. Morgan Sheppard joined Matt Frewer in the American show’s cast. Recast and rewritten for American audiences, Bryce became less of the stereotypical “pimply faced youth” character, and more of a sympathetic ally to Max/Edison, whereas in this movie, he’s very much the prototypical unhygienic computer nerd who operates out of a cluttered computer room. W. Morgan Sheppard (1932-2019) is credited here as “Morgan Shepherd”.

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Episode 1

The Max Headroom ShowMax Headroom introduces himself and states the purpose of his show, rails against corporate sponsorship and takes someone’s take-away Chinese food order before revealing that they’ve dialed the wrong number. Sting drops in to discuss his hatred of golf, shoe color, and his new solo album The Dream Of The Blue Turtles. When the subject of Sting’s politically-charged lyrics is brought up, Max wonders what happens when those lyrics are sung in countries that don’t speak the same language (such as, Max suggests, America). Max tries to steer the conversation back to golf and shoes; a spat over spats ensues.

The Max Headroom Showwritten by Paul Owen & David Hansen and Tim John
directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel

Cast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Sting (himself)

Videos: “Zoolok” (Jean-Michel Jarre), “Destination Zululand” (King Kurt), “Visions Of China” (Japan), “Sensoria” (Cabaret Voltaire), “(If You Love Somebody) Set Them Free” (Sting)

Note: The lead singer of UK band King Kurt used the stage name of “Smeg“. The song “Kinky Boots” is bizarrely intercut with the shoe discussion, and was actually a 1964 single performed by – of all people – Honor Blackman and Patrick Macnee – as a tie-in to The Avengers (presumably because of Blackman’s jackbooted costumes on that series).

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Episode 2

The Max Headroom ShowMax puts out an APB for a missing cowboy and bemoans the lack of truly useful inventions. After sharing a little information about how much the British government spends per week on missiles, Max contemplates how so many people are like windows (in other words, glazed-over and eventually getting smashed).

written by Paul Owen & David Hansen and Tim John
directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel

The Max Headroom ShowCast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom)

Videos: “Cannonball” (Supertramp), “Love Loaded” *(Waysted), “Rats On A Budget” (Heat N Serve), “Ziggy Stardust” (Bauhaus), “Into The Fire” (Hit List), “King In A Catholic Style” (China Crisis), “Germans” (Udo Lindenberg)

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Episode 3

The Max Headroom ShowMax starts warming up early for his next celebrity interview with two members of Duran Duran, though he seems more fixated on such topics as golf shoes and favorite major cities to ask them about Duran Duran (which is just as well, as they’re there to promote a side project called Arcadia instead). Max promises to share valuable tips on how to interview celebrities, shortly before his monitor is switched off by Simon Le Bon.

The Max Headroom Showwritten by Paul Owen & David Hansen and Tim John
directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel

Cast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Simon Le Bon (himself), Nick Rhodes (himself)

Videos: “Steamhammer Sam” (Intaferon), “Heaven” (Bryan Adams), “Over The Sea” (Jesse Rae), “Goodbye Tonsils” (Severed Heads), “Election Day” (Arcadia), “Loving The Alien” (David Bowie)

Notes: Arcadia was a very short-lived side dish featuring three members of Duran Duran, collaborating during a lengthy break between album sessions and tours for their better-known project. It was at roughly the same time that the rest of Duran Duran, with a few other musicians, formed The Power Station. Both extracurricular projects disbanded in 1985 as Duran Duran reformed for another album.

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Episode 4

The Max Headroom ShowMax contemplates the possibility that the good luck charms drivers hang from their rear view mirrors may end up distracting them (and making them less safe behind the wheel). After insulting moths everywhere and listening to the London talking clock, Max interrogates The Who’s Roger Daltrey about his budding acting career and his post-Who solo projects. And, of course, Max can’t resist bringing up the topic of golf.

The Max Headroom Showwritten by Paul Owen & David Hansen
directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel

Cast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Roger Daltrey (himself)

Videos: “Love’s Great Adventure” (Ultravox), “Driving In My Car” (Madness), “Let Me Go” (Heaven 17), “Call Me” (Go West), “Jeans Not Happening” (Pale Fountains), “After The Fire” (Roger Daltrey), “Act Of War” (Elton John and Millie Jackson)

Note: Roger Daltrey’s name is misspelled “Daltry” during his interview. Despite the faint derision (and bad spelling) with which Max addresses Daltrey’s acting career, the Who vocalist would later find himself in demand for guest shots on such series as Highlander, Sliders and Witchblade.

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Episode 5

The Max Headroom ShowMax’s golf fixation continues unabated, and he bemoans the fact that his producers can’t land him an interview with pro golfer Seve Ballesteros. After a brief, meandering meditation on the art of showing off machismo, Max continues obsessing over golf, even to the point of interrupting the videos, at least until he realizes that he doesn’t have legs.

written by Paul Owen & David Hansen
directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel The Max Headroom ShowJankel

Cast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom)

Videos: “She Sells Sanctuary” (The Cult), “Shock The Monkey” (Peter Gabriel), “Coronation Street” (Izzy Royale), “Come Dancing” (The Kinks), “Love Is A Battlefield” (Pat Benatar), “Ich Will Dich Essen” (Ledernacken)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Episode 6

The Max Headroom ShowMax contemplates America’s insistence on naming a defense system after Star Wars, and questions whether or not Kramer vs. Kramer would’ve been more appropriate. Max then interviews Boy George about the upcoming Culture Club album, and is shocked when the singer claims to have better things to do with his balls than play golf. Max presents George with a gift, an demands in no uncertain terms that the singer should not thank him for it. In time-honored showbiz style, Max ends the season on a song.

The Max Headroom Showwritten by Paul Owen & David Hansen
directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel

Cast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Boy George (himself)

Videos:Synchronicity II” (The Police), “Imagination” (Bellouis Some), “19” (Paul Hardcastle), “Agadoo” (Black Lace), “Victims” (Culture Club), “I’m The Urban Spaceman” (Bonzo Dog Doo Da Band)

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Episode 7

The Max Headroom ShowMax suddenly has an audience, and begins to interact with them, expounding on the joys of life in Italy and the nature of stardom, and interviewing Michael Caine. When Max tries to steer the discussion toward golf, Caine admits that his golf handicap is that he can’t actually play golf. The esteemed actor is, however, able to explain the origins of a certain rude gesture.

written by Paul Owen & David Hansen
with additional material by Steve Roberts, Jim Pullin and Matt Frewer
directed by David G. Hillier
music by Matt Forrest and Art Of Noise

The Max Headroom ShowCast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Michael Caine (himself), Paul Shearer (Ridley)

Videos: “World Domination” (Belle Stars), “Hot Girls” (Cherry Bomz), “And She Was” (Talking Heads)

Notes: The first Max Headroom Show in over a year, the second series’ opener shows drastic changes, from the live studio audience to Max’s garish new outfit to a major shift in the emphasis of the show. Originally conceived to be a character VJ seen only between music videos (the function he served for the first series), Max was now the center of the show and the music videos had very much taken a back seat, requiring the number of writers on the show to nearly triple (and to include Matt Frewer) to generate new material. Among the writers was Steve Roberts, who, with Frewer and producer Peter Wagg, was one of the very few personnel to participate in all of the major Max Headroom projects in the ’80s (the original TV movie, the Max Headroom Show and the American Max Headroom series).

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Episode 8

The Max Headroom ShowMax gets the end of the show out of the way first before bestowing a generous, if somewhat mismatched, dinner upon a member of his audience. He then admires the animal kingdom’s ability to go about its business without human justifications for behavior, and then proceeds to compare playing music videos to an addiction. Max celebrates all things French – including, but not limited to, odors – before interviewing Vidal Sassoon. Max melts down when he discovers that the world-famous stylist would rather discuss dying (hair) than the game of golf.

written by Paul Owen & David Hansen
with additional material by Matt Frewer
directed by David G. Hillier
music by Matt Forrest and Art Of Noise

The Max Headroom ShowCast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Vidal Sassoon (himself)

Videos: “I Spy” (The Untouchables), “Headbutts” (John Otway & Willy Barrett), “Swords of 1000 Men” (Tenpole Tudor), “Shimmy & Shake” (Ledernacken)

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Episode 9

The Max Headroom ShowMax speculates about the titles of chart-topping hits in Apartheid-controlled South Africa (hint: with the exception of “Ivory & Ivory”, every title hints at police brutality) before interviewing actor Oliver Green, discussing the censorship of films briefly. Max’s audience completely and utterly fails to win a chance to fly to Las Vegas to see the Boomtown Rats in concert, so they’re left to enjoy Max singing a duet with himself.

written by Paul Owen & David Hansen
with additional material by Jim Pullin, James Hendrie and Matt Frewer
directed by David G. Hillier
music by Matt Forrest and Art Of Noise

The Max Headroom ShowCast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Vidal Sassoon (himself)

Videos: “Away” (Bolshoi), “Square Dance Rap” (Sir Mix-A-Lot), “Runaway” (Luis Cardinas)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Max Headroom’s Giant Christmas Turkey

Max Headroom's Giant Christmas TurkeyMax dreams of hosting his own opulent Christmas special, complete with a Dickensian carriage ride with his face on a TV in the middle, and then awakens so he can host a far more traditional studio-bound Christmas special. Dave Edmunds and Bob Geldof drop by to visit, and Max comments on how amazing it is that none of the “snow” blowing in from “outside” is melting. Max and Bob improvise a short ditty called “Merry Christmas, Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy).” Max meditates on the nature of Christmas and is then joined by Robin Williams to discuss the holiday’s commercial potential. Tina Turner bursts into the studio to bring Max a new set of golf clubs. Max then sings a full version of the song he and Geldof came up with, reminding viewers to contemplate the sacrifices of Santa Claus, who apparently receives no Christmas gifts himself.

The Max Headroom Showscript & songs by David Hansen & Paul Owen
with additional material by Matt Frewer
directed by David G. Hillier
music not credited

Cast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Dave Edmunds (himself), Bob Geldof (himself), Tina Turner (herself), Robin Williams (himself), The Southwark Cathedral Choir (themselves)

Videos: “Run Run Rudolph” (Dave Edmunds)

Notes: The second season of The Max Talking Headroom Show – as it was originally called in the UK – aired first on the American The Max Headroom Showpay cable channel Cinemax, with a delayed broadcast several months later on Channel 4 in the UK (which had the effect of making the second season seem more dated than New Coke); it also had the effect of placing this special between the first and second seasons for the British viewing audience. In America, this was – barring any advertisements for the aforementioned failed soft drink – the last Max Headroom project to appear prior to the American-made series on ABC. The song “Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy)” was actually released as a single, but Max failed to join the hit list of perennial Christmas classics.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Episode 10

The Max Headroom ShowMax goes insane briefly, ranting about stagehands who sit idle while he rakes in millions, before waxing poetic about America, wondering if cowpokes poke cows, and lamenting that “the Indians have never been forgiven for getting there first.” Max then gives British mime artist Les Bubb his first TV exposure. Tracey Ullman visits Max, who proceeds to ask her questions in a Cockney accent, including the rumor that she’s developing a show for American TV. And finally, Max wants somebody to stop that.

written by Paul Owen & David Hansen
with additional material by Jim Pullin, Bob Sinfield and Matt Frewer
directed by David G. Hillier
music by Matt Forrest and Art Of Noise

The Max Headroom ShowCast: Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Tracey Ullman (herself), Les Bubb (himself)

Videos: “Panic” (The Smiths), “Breakaway” (Tracey Ullman), “Sledgehammer” (Peter Gabriel)

Notes: Tracey Ullman did indeed go on to create her own series on the new Fox network in the States; it was one of the fourth network’s first original series.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Blipverts

Max HeadroomNetwork 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)

written by Joe Gannon and Steve Roberts
based on the British screenplay by Steve Roberts
directed by Farhad Mann
music by Cory Lerios

Max HeadroomGuest 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 (?)

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Rakers

Max HeadroomAs Max grows paranoid thinking that a napalm-kerosene-and-testosterone soaked kids’ show called “Missile Mike” is an actual news report about a man who goes around shooting things and blowing them up, things blow up in Theora’s personal life. She receives a rushed phone call from her sister-in-law Winnie, who warns her that her brother Shawn has taken up the dangerous sport of raking. An illegal underground sport with a high body count, raking combines jet-powered skateboarding with no-holds-barred unarmed combat. Theora sets Edison onto the case, but to break into a raking arena – let alone stop a match in which an already-injured Shawn is scheduled to fight – Edison will be risking life and limb. And while Edison thinks raking should be outlawed altogether, Zik Zak is considering both legalizing and sponsoring it.

written by James Crocker and Steve Roberts
story by James Crocker
directed by Thomas J. Wright
music by Cory Lerios

Max HeadroomGuest Cast: Virginia Kiser (Formby), Hank Garrett (?), Lee Wilkof (Pat Zein), J.W. Smith (Rick), Howard Sherman (Simon Peller), Lee DeBroux (?), Joseph Ruskin (Promoter), Wortham Krimmer (Jack Friday), Wynn Irwin (?), Arsenio “Sonny” Trinidad (?), Ricardo Gutierrez (Martinez), B.L. Collins (?), Ron D. Ross (?), Kimberly Delfin (Winnie), Peter Cohl (Shawn Jones), Tain Bodkin (?), Brian Libby (?), Doug Hale (?), Bobby Brett (?), Kawena Charlot (Rick’s bodyguard), Kedren Zadikov (?), Jeffrey Weisman (?), Tabi Cooper (?), David Preston (?), Lorilyn Huckster (?), Heath Jones (?)

Notes: This is the first episode in which it’s hinted that televisions can no longer be turned off. The “Missile Mike” gag is a slight swipe at one of Max Headroom’s real-life TV contemporaries, The A-Team.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Body Banks

Max HeadroomTwo people are stalked and captured by a pair of thugs. They beat the man into unconsciousness, and take the woman who was with him to a body bank, where she’s moved to the top of the line for an organ transplant surgery – whether she’s a willing donor or not. The man goes to Edison with the story of the attack and the kidnapping, and Edison takes on the story. But he has to go to the streets to find the “blanks,” or unregistered citizens, and he has to recruit the help of Blank Reg, a rough-and-tumble but good-hearted blank who runs a pirate TV station called Big Time TV. Reg leads Edison to the two thugs, who in turn put him within arm’s reach of the doctor to whom they’ve been taking their victims – all of them female. But before Edison can ask too many questions, the doctor is killed. Edison is fresh out of clues, and Max may be able to help him, but Cheviot and Network 23’s corporate sponsors at Zik Zak want Max’s attentions on sponsorship announcements, whether or not it means a woman’s life.

written by Steve Roberts
directed by Francis De Lia
music by Cory Lerios

Guest Cast: William Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Concetta Tomei (Dominique), Jere Burns (Breughel), Rick Ducommon (Mahler), Virginia Kiser (Formby), Hank Garrett (Ashful), Lee Wilkof (Pat Zein), J.W. Smith (Rick), Scott Kraft (Mel), Claude Earl Jones (Dr. Mason), Robert Dowdell (Plantegenet’s doctor), James “Gypsy” Haake (Nurse), John Winston (Plantagenet), Jenny Gago (Nurse), Arsenio “Sonny” Trinidad (?), Peri Kaczmarek (Rayna), Fred Holliday (News anchor), Michael Paul Max HeadroomChan (Japanese doctor), Grace Simmons (Poncho), B.J. Collins (?), Jay Arlen Jones (?), Rick Deats (?), Juliette Cummins (?), and Fang

Notes: Blank Reg establishes here that books have become a rarity – and are valued only by a select few, including him (though we later learn, in Lost Tapes, that Reg can’t read). Reg is played by William Morgan Sheppard who, sometimes credited as W.M. Sheppard or W. Morgan Sheppard, has appeared in everything from Babylon 5 (Soul Hunter) to Star Trek: Voyager (Bliss), to Doctor Who (The Impossible Astronaut) with many other genre guest starring appearances along the way.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Security Systems

Max HeadroomSecurity Systems Inc. is the world’s leading provider of personal and corporate security and surveillance, with access to more priveleged information than any single government in the world. And now a hostile takeover of SS is in the works, and while the company’s CEO says she’s terrified of the prospects, she outwardly seems calm – and Edison smells a rat. But when he persists in questioning her, he suddenly discovers that his credit and his ID won’t work anywhere. He can’t go home, can’t go to Network 23, and the Metro Cops are hot on his tail. Edison winds up getting help from Blank Reg and Dominique, but he’s going to need more help from Max and Bryce – and he can’t even hope to approach the Network 23 building without being arrested. Bryce is the only one with the hacking skills necessary to make Edison a citizen again and uncover the secret of who’s buying out SS…but even he may be outmatched by the SS central computer.

written by Michael Cassutt
directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
music by Cory Lerios

Guest Cast: William Morgan Sheppard (Blank Max HeadroomReg), Carol Mayo Jenkins (Valerie Towne), J.W. Smith (Rick), Concetta Tomei (Dominique), Ricardo Gutierrez (Martinez), David Allyn (SSI Tech #1), Peter Mins (SSI Tech #2), Julia Calderon (Mrs. Rebus), Santos Morales (Mr. Rebus), Sally Stevens (voice of A7), Mark Voland (SSI Guard)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

War

Max HeadroomA news package broker contacts Network 23 and offers exclusive access to a terrorist group – for a premium, of course. Cheviot refuses to buy, and when the White Brigade blows up an entire city block, only rival network Breakthru TV has coverage of the event. Network 23’s board fumes over Breakthru’s sudden ratings surge – in the middle of a global rating sweep – but they jump at the chance of having Edison Carter expose the sinister link between Breakthru TV and the terrorists themselves. Edison eventually tracks the terrorists to their headquarters, and finds that their entire war is being fought on television, a war of publicity with as few casualties as possible to avoid negative reaction from the viewers. But when the bombers feel that their deal with Breakthru TV is no longer serving their cause, they change their policy regarding casualties…in a drastic way.

written by Martin Pasko, Rebecca Parr, Michael Cassutt, and Steve Roberts
directed by Thomas J. Wright
music by Cory Lerios

Guest Cast: Gary Swanson (Frank Braddock), Virginia Kiser (Formby), Hank Garrett (?), Lee Wilkof (Pat Zein), Richard Lineback (Hewett), Robert Max HeadroomO’Reilly (Croyd Hauser), Lisa Niemi (Janie Crane), J. Michael Flynn (Lucien), Arsenio “Sonny” Trinidad (?), Ricardo Gutierrez (Martinez), Tom Miller (Breakthru TV Reporter), Michael Colin Ward (Officer Wendt), Randall Caldwell (Phil), Yana Nirvana (Police Chief), Spencer Allan (Breakthru TV Anchor)

Notes: Guest star Robert O’Reilly may be best known to genre fans as Gowron, the leader of the Klingon Empire in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. This episode is also the source of the series-defining exchange: “Since when has news been entertainment?” “Since it was invented.”

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Blanks

Max HeadroomJust as Simon Peller wins another term through the public telelection system, satellite signals go haywire, interrupting broadcasts on all the networks. And TV isn’t the only thing affected – even bank service has been disrupted. Then an ultimatum is issued: if Peller doesn’t reverse his policy of imprisoning all blanks – unregistered citizens with enough computer know-how to remove their identities from the central computer – the central computer will be crashed. Bryce and Theora hatch a plan to find the hackers by getting their attention with the most advanced artificial intelligence in the world – Max himself. But when the hackers take the bait and keep him, not allowing Max to return to Bryce’s computer, Edison has to resort to more extreme measures to keep a systems crash from laying the city to waste at sundown…and someone he considers a friend may be on the wrong side of the fight.

written by Steve Roberts
directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
music by Cory Lerios

Guest Cast: William Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Peter Crook (Blank Bruno), Virginia Kiser (Formby), Hank Garrett (?), Max HeadroomLee Wilkof (Pat Zein), Howard Sherman (Simon Peller), Concetta Tomei (Dominique), Lisa Niemi (Janie Crane), Elizabeth Gorcey (Woman), Tom Everett (Tracher), Rob Narita (Ronald), Kenneth White (Police Officer), John Durbin (Police Officer), Lycia Naff (?), Cynthia Stevenson (?), Brian Brophy (?), Sandra Sexton (?), John Fleck (?), and Fang

Notes: This is the first episode where Bryce’s alma mater, the Academy of Computer Sciences, is mentioned; Blank Bruno was Bryce’s instructor before going underground.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Academy

Max HeadroomHackers are disrupting network transmissions by hacking into satellite transmissions with their own high-power signals. Cheviot assigns Bryce the task of tracking down the pirates, and Bryce finds the source of the rogue signal – and then hesistates, pointing the finger instead at Blank Reg’s Big Time TV van. Metrocops arrest Reg, and Dominique pleads with Edison to help clear her husband’s name. Theora discovers that the real source of the signal was the Academy of Computer Sciences – Bryce’s alma mater. Edison susepcts (and Max knows) that Bryce falsified the coordinates given to the authorities. But given the tight-knit nature of the ACS students, and Network 23’s sponsorship of the school, does Edison stand a chance of clearing Reg’s name?

written by David Brown
directed by Victor Lobl
music by Michael Hoenig

Guest Cast: William Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), James Greene (Judge Wade), Hank Garrett (?), Lee Wilkof (?), Sharon Barr (?), Concetta Tomei (Dominique), Max HeadroomDick Patterson (Headmaster), Mya Akerling (Partridge), Christopher Burton (Stratton), Barry Pearl (Judge), Melissa Steinberg (?), Maureen Teefy (Shelley Keeler), Bill Dearth (Prosecutor), Paul Martin (?), Joe Hart (?), Sue Marrow (?), Tom Fitzpatrick (?)

Notes: This episode features one of Max Headroom’s most spot-on prophetic moments, with a pretty accurate prediction of the kind of home shopping networks which are fairly common now. Before you dismiss it as an easy prediction, check the original airdate of the episode and think again.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Deities

Max HeadroomTelevangelism is just as prevalent in the future as in the present, and nowhere is this as evident as with the Vu-Age Church, the first religious organization to operate primarily on TV. But Vu-Age’s promises of video resurrection have gotten Murray’s attention, and he assigns Edison to the story. But somewhat atypically, Edison shows little enthusiasm for the prospects of blowing a resurrection scam wide open. As it so happens, Edison’s lack of enthusiasm is centered more on Vu-Age’s high priestess, Vanna Smith, who is also an old flame of his. When Edison refutes her claims that video resurrection is a reality, Vanna Smith points out that Edison’s own alter-ego is proof to the contrary. When she and Edison start to rekindle their old relationship, Murray wonders if there’s less to the story than he imagined, or if Edison’s losing his edge.

written by Michael Cassutt
directed by Tom Wright
music by Chuck Wild

Guest Cast: Dayle Haddon (Vanna Smith), Hank Garrett (Network 23 Board Member), Lee Max HeadroomWilkof (Network 23 Board Member), Sharon Barr (Network 23 Board Member), Gregory Itzin (Vu-Age Salesman), Rosalind Chao (Angie Barry), Michael Margotta (Male producer), Peg Stewart (Female producer), Brenda Hayes (Jennifer Marks), Gary Ballard (Humphrey Marks), Clarence Brown (Vu-Age Client), Dale Raoul (Vu-Age Client), Ron Ray (?), Larry Spinak (?)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Grossberg’s Return

Max HeadroomThe latest telelection is upon the public, and a vicious mudslinging war is being waged on the airwaves by incumbent Simon Peller and rival candidate Harriet Garth. Network 23 is squarely in Peller’s court, but Garth is being backed by Network 66 – where Ned Grossberg, the unscrupulous ex-Network 23 executive who was ousted after the Blipvert scandal, is slowly taking control. While Edison and Murray fight to keep 23’s coverage above the war of words, Grossberg is playing all sides against the middle, and his aim is to take over Network 66 from the inside, not to propel a particular candidate into office. And if that means engineering a political scandal that not only takes down Garth, but destroys the career of Edison Carter as well, Grossberg won’t hesitate to do it.

written by Steve Roberts
directed by Janet Greek
music by Michael Hoenig

Max HeadroomGuest Cast: Charles Rocket (Ned Grossberg), Caroline Kava (Harriet Garth), Hank Garrett (?), Lee Wilkoff (Pat Zein), Sharon Barr (?), Howard Sherman (Simon Peller), Rosalind Chao (Angie Barry), Andreas Katsulas (Bartlett), Brett Porter (?), Stephen Elliott (Thatcher), Karen Hensel (?), James F. Dean (?), John Hamelin (?), Donald Burda (?), Lisa Peders (?), Rachelle Ottley (?), Brian Little (?), J. Jay Smith (?), Saida Pagan (?)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Dream Thieves

Max HeadroomEdison is doing an exposè on “dream houses” – a new industry in which people pay to experience the immersive, tactile sensations of others’ dreams – when he encounters an old rival and fellow report, Paddy Ashton. An articulate Irishman who seems out of place as a drifting blank, Paddy still harbors a bit of a grudge against Edison, but also still harbors a dream of being back in the news business. When Paddy turns up dead mere hours after Edison shares a drink with him, Edison latches on to something Paddy was trying to tell him about: dream donors. For some people to buy dreams, others must donate them, usually earning a pittance in the process. Paddy was managing to eke out an existence selling his dreams, but something was troubling him toward the end. Edison goes undercover, going into the dream house as a donor, where he finds that the dream house attendants have been forcing their donors to have more intense subconscious sensory experiences, even if it kills them with their own nightmares.

teleplay by Steve Roberts
story by Charles Grant Craig
directed by Todd Holland
music by Chuck Wild

Max HeadroomGuest Cast: W. Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Mark Lindsay Chapman (Paddy Ashton), Jere Burns (Breughel), Concetta Tomei (Dominique), Jenette Goldstein (Velma), Ron Fassler (Mr. Grieg), Vernon Weddle (Mr. Finn), Robin Bach (Ticket booth man), Vince McKewin (Dream house attendant #1), Stephen Pershing (Dream house attendant #2), Ron Narita (Male interviewee), Steven Rotblatt (Blank), Timothy Dang (?), Peter De Anello (?), Patricia Veselich (Female interviewee), Gary Dean Sweeney (?), Dalton Younger (?), and Fang

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Whacketts

Max HeadroomA huge residential building collapses, taking many of its residents with it. Edison is assigned to the story, and when he arrives at the scene of the disaster, he’s stunned to see the survivors rejoicing at the rescue of television sets instead of people. Despite the magnitude of the collapse and Edison’s live coverage, Big Time TV pulls ahead of Network 23 in the ratings with a mind-numbingly dumb game show – the same show being watched by all of the survivors of the building. A cop at the scene suspects something as up, but when he shares his suspicions with Edison, he’s found dead a while later. Despite Reg’s annoyance that his viewers want it run for the 11th time in a row, “Whacketts” even pulls ahead of Network 66. Edison and Bryce discover that a subliminal video signal is embedded into the one episode of “Whacketts” that keeps running, a signal that forces its viewers’ brains to produce an addictive stream of endorphins. The more people watch, the more hooked they become – and if Ned Grossberg succeeds in wooing Dominique into selling “Whacketts” to Network 66, the entire population could become addicted…just like Max.

teleplay by Arthur Sellers
story by Dennis Rolfe
directed by Victor Lobl
music by Michael Hoenig

Max HeadroomGuest Cast: W. Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Charles Rocket (Ned Grossberg), Hank Garrett (?), Lee Wilkof (?), Sharon Barr (?), Concetta Tomei (Dominique), Bert Kramer (Biller), Bill Maher (Haskel), Andreas Katsulas (Bartlett), Richard Frank (Lt. Rico Ziskin), Lawrence Lott (Network 23 Anchor), James F. Dean (Chief Negotiator), Craig Schaefer (Cop #1), Morgan Walsh (Cop #2), Edward Beimfohr (?)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Neurostim

Max HeadroomEdison tries to find out more about Zik Zak’s latest promotional gimmick, the free Neurostim bracelets given away with every Zik Zak burger pack. Whatever it’s doing, it’s certainly driven sales of the burgers sky-high. But Edison’s prying isn’t necessarily welcomed by Zik Zak, and since they’re Network 23’s corporate sponsors, they set out to derail his investigative report by making sure he receives a particularly addictive one. As Edison soon discovers for himself, Neurostim is a mental narcotic, granting its users any dream they wish, at least in their own minds. Bryce thinks the only way to help Edison shake off his Neurostim addiction is to restore his personality by patching Max through the bracelet…but Edison is tired of competing with Max for attention, even in his dreams.

written by Arthur Sellers and Michael Cassutt
directed by Maurice Phillips
music by Michael Hoenig

Max HeadroomGuest Cast: Sab Shimono (Pat Zein), Hank Garrett (?), Lee Wilkof (?), Sharon Barr (?), Jim Piddock (Mr. Kelly), Evan Kim (Mr. Chen), Jacque Lynn Colion (Burger Lady), Edward Wiley (Zik Zak Waiter), Michael Margotta (Sully), Martin Azarow (Punk), Billy Beck (Frank Knight), Roger Hampton (Sgt. Compton), Michael Strasser (Scumball Announcer), Joan Severance (Edison’s dream girl), Julie McCullough (?), Tom Dugan (?), Michael Dobo (?), Frank Kahlil Wheaton (?), Saida Pagan (?)

LogBook entry by Earl Green