Is It Just Me, Or Was Max Headroom Super Creepy?

    March 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I remember seeing Max Headroom commercials when I was a kid, but apparently I was way too young to realize that, instead of just being the embodiment of how weird and experimental the 80’s was, Max Headroom was super, SUPER creepy. Case in point:

    It’s like somebody dumped a bucket of Charlie Sheen into the floppy disk drive of their Apple II. In order to better understand how in the hell this psychotic, computer generated wacko made it to the small screen, wound up with two shows on premium cable, and glitched his way into the most lucrative ad campaign of the 1980’s, let’s look at where Max Headroom came from:
    Max Headroom’s first appearance was in a British TV movie titled Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future, which is just as convoluted and crazy as its titular character. Basically, Max Headroom gets created from a comatose guy’s memories, then Max becomes sentient and develops a snarky, jittery personality of his own. Like I said, it’s convoluted and crazy and people don’t like that kind of television.

    After the British TV movie, ABC bought a Max Headroom series to broadcast in the U.S.  Max Headroom lasted for two seasons until, in an incredibly dickish move, ABC canceled the show after the second-to-last episode, so the second season was never finished on the air. Luckily, Cinemax swooped in to clean up the mess. The premium cable company bought the rights to the character Max Headroom, but they decided to do something a little different with it: they gave the fictional character a late night television show, complete with a live studio audience that cheered and wailed whenever Max’s video screen was lowered. HOW DID ANY OF THIS HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE?!!!

    And it gets more bizarre. WAY more bizarre. In 1987, two TV stations in Chicago had their broadcast signals hacked by a (still) unknown techie pirate who sported a rubber Max Headroom mask. These bizarre broadcast interruptions were aired on live television. The first interruption came during an evening news broadcast. The second interruption, which lasted for about 90 seconds, came later in the evening on a PBS affiliate station. If you were watching PBS in Chicago on that night, here’s what you saw during your Dr. Who episode:

    Which brings me to my point: MAX HEADROOM IS REALLY, REALLY CREEPY.

    1. Maurice says:

      Max was totally awesome.

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