Ex-ex-ex-cuse me?!?

Paul Meier, '09 The Cyborg Self, Brown University, Fall 2006

Representing the future in entertainment is like predicting the wind speeds from a photograph: the limits are apparent. Twenty years after "20 Minutes into the future," Max Headroom's dystopia isn't yet upon us, and much of the "hi-tech" gadgetry and non-Internet culture from the show looks comical by today's standards.

Despite all this, Matt Frewer's performance of Max remains entertaining and thought-provoking. From an acting and editing standpoint, the decisions to make Max communicate as he did form a distinct impression on his viewers, and provide interesting contrasts to other mainframe-based entities.

1. How does Max Headroom's presentation and behavior compare to other fictional AI constructs?

2. Max's speech and image often clip or get choppy (offsite sources). What impression does this give the audience about his existence?

3. Do you think the show's dystopian world is a pretense for Max's existence, or is Max merely a supplement to the world's presentation?

4. Frewer's adaptation of a non-real entity is lighthearted and jovial. How does this affect Max Headroom and how is it different than other unreal characters, such as the Replicants in Blade Runner?

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Last Modified November 2006