Cyberpunk is back, honey.
AMC Networks confirmed to EW that a reboot of the 1980s drama series Maximum headroom, with the “world’s first artificial intelligence TV personality”, is in the works.
Stop and catch fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell is developing the project and will serve as showrunner. Actor Matt Frewer, who played Max Headroom in several series and advertisements in the 1980s, is determined to reprise his role. Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah’s SpectreVision will produce.
For Cantwell, it is a return to the world of computer innovation and the 1980s. He also confirmed the news of the reboot on Twitter, writing: “I interrupt this broadcast with a cyberpunk announcement of epic post-future proportions. I’m writing a new Max Headroom series for @AMC_TV. Starring Matt Frewer as Max Headroom. Produced by the crazy minds of @elijahwood and Daniel Noah @_SpectreVision.”
The character of Max Headroom was first introduced in April 1985 in the British TV movie Maximum headroom: 20 minutes in the future. It provided an origin story for the AI personality with journalist Edison Carter (Frewer) fleeing enemies in a parking garage on a motorcycle and crashing through the structure’s warning sign that reads “Max. Headroom 2.3 meters.”
Edison is knocked unconscious as a result of the accident and an AI program is created based on his mind, called Max Headroom. Max becomes a TV host who challenges the status quo and globalization through commentary and sarcasm.
He then appeared in The Max Headroom Show, which featured the character as a TV show host introducing music videos, commenting on current events, and more. In 1987, he jumped from British television to the US on TBEN’s Maximum headroom, a two-season drama series that returned to Max’s original story and brought together Edison Carter and Max as allies fighting the status quo of the cyberpunk world.
It is this TBEN series that Cantwell and AMC are developing as a reboot.
Max Headroom has since become a pop culture touchstone, appearing in ads for New Coke and earning references in TV and music videos (see: Eminem’s “Rap God”) over the decades.