Max Headroom

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 31, 1987 on Cinemax
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

In the near future, it will be illegal to have a television that can be shut off. Ratings are all that matters. To improve ratings, Network 23 creates "Blipverts." Blipverts are high speed commercials condensed into a few seconds and embed themselves into the viewers mind. Unfortunately, a few viewers have exploded while watching them. Network 23 star reporter, Edison Carter, discovers that the Network executive Ned Grossberg is aware of the problem and is covering up the issues. Ned decides to replace Edison with a computer stimulated version of Edison. Bryce Lynch creates this computer simulated version, who calls himself Max Headroom.moreless

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  • About this episode

    This had great art direction, sound editing and sound mixing.
  • So cool.

    Max headroom is perhaps one of the best sci fi shows during the 80s. It's a look at a distant future that maybe happening right now. It had a very cool premise, what if the world is controlled by tv corporations. TVs are banned from being turned off. Edison Carter is a cool character and his computer generated sidekick Max makes a good supporting character. Edison and Max makes a really cool duo. The effects might be outdated in this show, since it was the 80s, but the stories are really well written. The plot is really enticing, it's a very watchable show.moreless
Jere Burns

Jere Burns


Guest Star

Rick Ducommun

Rick Ducommun


Guest Star

Ken Swofford

Ken Swofford


Guest Star

Ricardo Gutierrez

Ricardo Gutierrez


Recurring Role

Hank Garrett

Hank Garrett


Recurring Role

Lee Wilkof

Lee Wilkof


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Max Headroom was the first show filmed at 30 frames per second rather than 24. This reduces production costs.

    • In this episode subliminal messages were explored. It is ironic that this show actually used subliminal images on each episode. This episode gives Fred Raimondi and Cliff Ralke subliminal credits in the Zik-Zak montage. Their names superimposed over an Asian man's face. This happened after Max says, "two minds, but with one single memory".

    • In a day and age when we make computer images to look like humans. When Max Headroom was being produced, they had to make a human actor look like a computer image.

    • The character of Max Headroom appears in many Coca Cola commercials.

    • Bryce's exit code is: BZ22VH. This entry code is: IJ2FI. These are the same codes used in the telefilm. They had to be the same because the same matrix graphic was used.

    • Carter's ident code is: 74928BDG6629

    • Bryce Lynch's birthday is given as October 7, 1988. If he is 18 years old, the year would be 2006.

    • The computer graphiscs are taken from the British version. As a result there are some inconsistencies.

    • The telefilm clearly states that the city in which this story is set is London. On the television series, the city remains nameless.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Max Headroom: This is Max Headroom on Network 23 and I and I and I know that right now you're looking at me and you're thinking: "Wow! Wow! He could become a star!" So so before you get the wrong idea about me, let me just say very humbly: "You're right, I could!"

    • Theora: Murray, I'm going to need a live news feed override with an open air queue sometime in the next forty-five minutes.
      Murray: What's up?
      Theora: I've got a story that's going to blow this network!
      Murray: Well, who's in the field?
      Theora: Edison Carter.
      Murray: Theora... he's dead. Grossberg is holding a press conference this morning.
      Theora: Well, then, I guess Edison will be broadcasting from the grave. How's that for a story?

    • Max: How can you tell when our president is lying? His lips move.

    • Cheviot: Override Censor? Good God, Murray, I'm the Chairman, not the Creator!

    • Murray: Those that can, do. Those that can't, censor it.

  • NOTES (9)

    • The episode won 3 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Art Direction for a Series, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.

    • Max's image was actually actor Matt Frewer in latex and foam rubber prosthetic makeup with a fibreglass suit, superimposed over a moving geometric background.

    • Zik Zak is the corporate owner of Network 23. A corporate owner is responsible for most of the network's advertising. The network owner of each station has control of the revenue and uses the network for political purposes. It is a powerful position.

    • Tele-elections are how the politicians in the future are selected. Every network has a candidate. The person with the highest rating wins the political office.

    • Network 23 is the largest television network in the world. It is also the employer for Edison Carter and and Theora Jones.

    • Controllers: A controller is like a television producer. They act as the reporter's liaison to the network where the reporter works. Controllers offer reporters information and technical support, and make sure they stay out of trouble and keep on assignment.

    • Blipverts: A blipvert is a high speed commercial condensed into a few seconds. It becomes embedded in the viewers mind. It brings up rating because it prevents the viewer from changing the channel.

    • There are some terms in this and other episodes of Max Headroom that are helpful to define for the viewer.
      Fringers: Homeless people who live on the outskirts of town.
      Blank: In this show a blank is a person who has no computer records of their existence.
      Zik Zak: corporate owner of Network 23.
      Zipping: The art of hacking into television transmissions to disrupt programming.

    • This episode was known as The Birth when released on VHS in the UK in 1988.


    • The President of Network 23 is named Ped Xing. It could be a Chinese name. It is also a common American traffic sign. It is the abbreviation for pedestrian crossing.

    • The character Max Headroom got his name because, in the original story, Edison Carter crashed into a traffic gate labelled "MAX HEADROOM 2.3m." When Edison's was knocked unconscious and his brain was digitized. The last image on his mind was the traffic gate labell. When Max was created his first words were Max Headroom.

    • Theora says: I know all about little boys. Carter turns this into an innuendo. Theora means something else that we found out about in episode two. She is referring to her younger brother.

    • Breugal and Mahler are named after the 19th century Scottish body snatching team of Burke and Hare. This two men started off their business with fresh buried bodies for potential physicians to use in their anatomy lessons. These two men graduated to delivering homeless persons that they decided would make good corpses for this purpose.

    • The nurse receptionist at the Nightingale's Body Bank name is Florence. This is an allusion to the famous nurse, Florence Nightingale.