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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

dream cast: hypothetical ‘Max Headroom’ remake

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week: Max Headroom, the brilliant 1987-8 American TV series that introduced cyberpunk concepts to a mainstream audience more than a decade before The Matrix… or would have, if anyone had watched it.

(If you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with, feel free to email me.)
The original cast included:

Edison Carter/Max Headroom: Matt Frewer
Theora Jones: Amanda Pays
Bryce Lynch: Chris Young
Blank Reg: W. Morgan Sheppard
Ned Grossberg: Charles Rocket
Murray: Jeffrey Tambor

If William Gibson wrote Brazil, it might look something like Max Headroom, which posited a world in which credit fraud was worse than murder, terrorists launched virtual attacks over globally networked computers, TV ratings were life-or-death, corporate executives were more powerful than politicians, and mass consumerism was elevated to a religion. In other words, it looked startlingly like the world of 2008: we are all Max’s bitches today. A remake would hardly need to be updated.

I anxiously await the day when an honest DVD release of this is available — right now it’s only low-quality bootlegs.

My dream cast for a revisting of Max’s world:

Edison Carter/Max Headroom: Mos Def
Theora Jones: Claudia Black
Bryce Lynch: Kat Dennings
Blank Reg: Dennis Hopper
Ned Grossberg: Sam Rockwell
Murray: Jeff Goldblum

Watch a full episode, and remember how damn good this show was… and how ahead of its time it still is:



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  • Edison Carter/Max Headroom: Simon Pegg
    Theora Jones: Yvonne Strahovski
    Bryce Lynch: Spencer Breslin
    Blank Reg: Matt Frewer (perfect, eh?)
    Ned Grossberg: Peter Krause
    Murray: Grant Shaud

  • James Marsters for Max/Edison.

    I don’t remember the other characters well enough to make suggestions, but I’m always up for a little (or a lot) of Jeff Goldblum so I’ll go along with you on that.

  • I’m one of the few folks who actually watched every single episode of Max Headroom when it first aired. I would go with:

    Edison/Max = Brad Pitt
    Theora Jones = Keira Knightley
    Bryce Lynch = Freddie Highmore
    Blank Reg = Eddie Izzard
    Ned Grossberg = George Clooney
    Murray = Jeffrey Tambor (still)

  • Hdj

    I only watched this show to see the spazzy talking tv, I had no clue what the show was about. Kinda like when I’d watch a Blake Edward’s pink panther movie and wonder why the pink panther wasn’t event the main character or had anything to do with the movie. Had the music at least but what you only get like a 1 minute cartoon segment of the pink panther and he never shows up in the movie. it was just as disappointing as Owens Corning insulation.

  • Clayj, I’m one of the others who watched every episode from the beginning. I’m too attached to make any casting decisions.

    Love the George Clooney as Grossberg though!

  • Hdj

    this is a bit OT. But its still tv. remember that show VR5? I used to watch that sci fi show. then it turned in to one of the many victims of fox.

  • MaryAnn

    I’m one of the few folks who actually watched every single episode of Max Headroom when it first aired.

    Me, too. Never watched *VR5,* though.

    I only watched this show to see the spazzy talking tv, I had no clue what the show was about. Kinda like when I’d watch a Blake Edward’s pink panther movie and wonder why the pink panther wasn’t event the main character or had anything to do with the movie.

    Well, then, you mustn’t have watched this show, Hdj, because that was not the case with *Max Headroom.* Max was vital to the plots and themes of the stories.

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