MAX HEADROOM PROGRAM GUIDE

First Season




1. Blipverts 03/31/87 L

Directed by: Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel Teleplay: Steve Roberts Story: George Stone, Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel

Debut: In the near future, when TVs can't be shut off and ratings are all that matter, investigative reporter Edison Carter (Matt Frewer) and his computer- generated alter ego Max Headroom battle to keep the "blank" generation informed. In the opener, Carter stumbles across his own network's cover-up of a sometimes deadly new form of TV advertising called "blipverts". Chris Young (Bryce), Amanda Pays (Theora), Jeffrey Tambor (Murray), Charles Rocket (Grossberg), Ken Swofford (Gorrister), Billie Byrd (Florence), Virginia Kiser (Ms. Formby).



2. Raking 04/07/87 L,S
Directed by: Farhad Mann Teleplay: Joe Gannon & Steve Roberts Story: Steve Roberts

Theora may lose her job when she runs off to help her estranged brother, who's competing in a brutal sport that promoters want legalized and televised. Peter Cohl (Shawn), Wortham Krimmer (Jack Friday), JW Smith (Rik), Arsenio Trinidad (Ped Xing). [Though this is one of my least favorite episodes it is my favorite Max Headroom script.]



3. Body Banks 04/14/87 L,S

Directed by: Francis DeLia Written by: Steve Roberts Carter races against time to save a woman who was shanghaied and sold to a "body bank" for experimentation. Meanwhile, Network 23's largest sponsor wants Max as spokesman. George Coe (Cheviot), Virginia Kiser (Formby), Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Concetta Tomei (Dominique), Scott Kraft (Mel), John Winston (Plantaganet), JW Smith (Rik).



4. Security Systems 04/21/87 L

Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace Written by: Michael Cassutt

Carter is accused of credit fraud and becomes a fugitive after delving into the hostile takeover of Security Systems, the world's most powerful corporation. George Coe (Cheviot), JW Smith (Rik), Concetta Tomei (Dominique), Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Carol Mayo Jenkins (Valerie Towne), Sally Stevens ( Voice of A-7).



5. War 04/28/87 L,S

Directed by: Thomas J. Wright Written by: Martin Pasko, Rebecca Parr, Michael Cassutt & Steve Roberts

Network 23 finds that the fine line between news and entertainment may very well be the bottom line. Dancing on that line is Braddock, a double dealing program packager who offers to sell Network 23 the exclusive rights to cover an urban-guerilla group's terrorist activities during a crucial 24-hour global ratings-sweep period. The network turns Braddock's offer down, but a smaller rival accepts. Broadcasting from a terrorist bombing site, its ratings soar -- as Network 23's plummet. Barred from that site is Network 23 ace reporter Edison Carter, to the annoyance of some Network 23 board members. But network head Ben Cheviot knows Braddock's reputation and assigns Carter to investigate. Gary Swenson (Braddock), Robert O'Reilly ( Croyd Hauser), Lisa Niemi (Janie Crane), J Michael Flynn (Lucian).



6. The Blanks 05/05/87 L

Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace Written by: Steve Roberts

As the "Blanks" -- undesirables with no computer records -- are rounded up and arrested, the networks face permanent cancellation by hackers who threaten to crash the city's entire computer system if their companions aren't released. Howard Sherman (Peller), Peter Crook (Bruno), Hank Garret (Ashwell), Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Concetta Tomei (Dominique).



Second Season




7. Academy 09/18/87

Directed by: Victor Lobl Written by: David Brown

Edison must challenge Bryce and his classmates at the Academy of Computer Sciences when they frame Blank Reg on a charge of zipping, interrupting a network satellite feed.



8. Deities 09/25/87

Directed by: Tom Wright Written by: Michael Cassutt

A TV church, led by a college flame of Edison's, kidnaps Max. Edison must retrieve Max and uncover the church's phony electronic "soul storage" system, which claims to keep the personalities of the dead online -- for a price. [Alternate title: Resurrection Vanna]



9. Grossberg's Return 10/02/87

Directed by: Janet Greek Written by: Steve Roberts

Rival Network 66 attempts to defeat Network 23 in a ratings-based election by introducing a "watch while you sleep" device into its programming to cause people to leave their TV sets on all night.



10. Dream Thieves 10/09/87 S

Directed by: Todd Holland Teleplay: Steve Roberts Story: Charles Grant Craig

Some shady entrepreneurs are stealing people's dreams and selling them to the highest bidders. Edison goes undercover to expose their lethal business.



11. Whacketts 10/16/87

Directed by: Victor Lobl Teleplay: Arthur Sellers Story: Dennis Rolfe

A video narcotic is causing people to leave their TVs tuned to Big Time Television twenty-four hours a day. [Alternate title: The Addiction Game]



12. NeuroStim 04/28/88

Directed by: Maurice Phillips Written by: Arthur Sellers & Michael Cassutt

Zik-Zak introduces Neurostim, a device to directly stimulate the brain and bypass the need to use television for advertising.



13. Lessons 05/05/88

Directed by: Victor Lobl Teleplay: Adrian Hein & Steve Roberts Story: Colman DeKay & Howard Brookner

Network 23 censors go a step too far when they try to shut down a secret school in the fringes, because it's using pirated Network 23 instructional programming.



14. Baby Growbags (never aired in USA until Bravo showing)

Directed by: Janet Greek Written by: Chris Ruppenthal

Edison Carter is on the trail of some rather dark people who are stealing babies from the baby pods where they are grown while Bryce carefully considers working for Grossberg and channel 66.



S - Script available from Script City (213)-871-0707.
L - Produced on laserdisk and subtitled in Japanese.
(Also produced on a limited video basis from CEL home video.(?))
V - Widely produced on video.




Unproduced Episodes:


A. Theora's Tale Unproduced S

Teleplay: Steve Roberts Story: Eric Blakeney

As a corporate shooting war breaks out in Antarctica between ZikZak and Zlin, Theora is missing and Murray tries to calm Edison and get him aboard a special Air Corridor shuttle to cover the story. Theora has, in fact, been kidnapped by mercenaries of the Video Freedom Alliance who have found out about Theora's true identity and are demanding a huge ransom for her release. A longer synopsis of Theora's tale is also available here. [Script available from Script City (213)-871-0707.]

B. The Trial Unproduced

C. X-Max Unproduced

Related:


The Original Channel Four Special:
Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future 04/04/85 V

Directed by: Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel Teleplay: Steve Roberts Story: George Stone, Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel

Basically the same story as episode one of the American series but with a more gritty feel to it. Changes to the story include a darker Bryce with murderous intentions, a sharper-looking Max Headroom who eventually 'escapes' with Blank Reg aboard the big, pink bus and a possible blacker ending for Grossberg and Bryce.



An episode pilot with Max Headroom style graphics/universe:

Timeslip: The Block (Cinemax 1985)

In a dark future with high unemployment and massive street violence, a controller with a steady job on the night shift is having an illicit affair with a secretary in the same office block. He shuts down his own protocol program CANDY to get some privacy but is then identified and hunted by the building's security system. (I saw this on Cinemax. Some of the building graphics/shots created by Rod Lord are identical to those used in the Channel Four Max Headroom special. Rod Lord also went on do the animation for the BBC's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" TV series. Also the background/plot of this one-shot with high unemployment, riots in the streets and extended use of personalized software and hardware gives it a very Max Headroom-like feeling.)



Other Max Headroom Related Items:


1984: Max Headroom
- a talk show on Britain's Channel Four

1985: Coca-Cola
- the first of many advertisements for Coke

1985: Paranoimia
- a pop song by the British group 'Art of Noise' (from their album In Visible Silence)

1985: The Max Headroom X-mas Turkey
- Channel Four Max Xmas Special

1986: The Max Talking Headroom Show
- a talk show on Cinemax cable network

1994-95: Max Headroom U.S. series
reshown on the Bravo cable network

1995-96: Max Headroom U.S. series
reshown on Sci-Fi channel

Comments? Questions? Observations? Submissions? Mail comments about this page to Blank Joe.

jastruss@iastate.edu (Joe Struss)