Max Headroom: an oral history of the digital 80s icon

Bryan Bishop, for The Verge:

Max became a singular ’80s pop culture phenomenon that represented everything wonderful and horrible about the decade. Max hosted music video shows; Max interviewed celebrities; Max hawked New Coke; Max Headroom became US network television’s very first cyberpunk series. Max was inescapable — and then almost just as quickly as he had appeared, he was gone.

Thirty years after the premiere, I spoke with the writers, directors, producers, actors, make-up artists, and network executives that helped bring Max Headroom to life. And it all began, like so many things in the ‘80s, with music videos.

I loved Max Headroom as a kid — love the idea of Max Headroom. I knew the graphics were simulated, and that we were a long way from AI. But for me it was an era where anything seemed possible. That being said, there was no way to scare up information about the things you were interested in. It’s great to be able to get a peek behind the scenes now, decades later. Back then we just had to view these mysterious works from a great distance, and wonder how it had all come to pass. There was no instant gratification, even 20 minutes into the future.