GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Max Headroom - Firefly

POSTED BY: HISTORY
UPDATED: Saturday, September 18, 2010 11:34
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Thursday, September 9, 2010 4:29 PM

HISTORY


The Max Headroom Complete (1987 television) series on DVD was recently released. I'm old enough to recall how ground-breaking, and how enjoyable, it was for network television. And, on review, how prophetic the series was--and how well its themes of consumerism, media saturation, lack of privacy via inescapable technology, and corporate hegemony stay valid on viewing in 2010.

I also noted many similarities to Firefly, beyond being a science fiction show of a well-realized world with a devoted yet small fan-base and low ratings.

By coincidence, there are only 14 episodes, the last that did not air until 7 years after series cancellation.

Blue Sun in Firefly is anticipated by the Zik-Zak Corporation.

We have a hero in Edison Carter [played by another Canadian actor, Matt Frewer], ace reporter, who refuses to be under the heel of anyone, including his own network; a female controller who keeps him in line (Zoe-like) but there is sexual tension (Inara-like). And Max, Edison's computer generated alter ego, provides Wash-like humor.

Of note, there is a local self-made small time television businessman with his own delusions of grandeur played by William Morgan Sheppard, Mark "Badger" Sheppard's father.

Though filmed low-budget, I'm impressed with the cinematography, the use of texture and light, the realistic depiction of a dystopic society from the apartments of the rich who live high above (Bellephon-like) the rabble who live in squalor in their endless diversity (Eavesdown Docks). Similarly, the use of hand-held cameras gives Max Headroom the similar realistic gritty feel I love in Firefly.

So step 20 Minutes Into the Future.
I do not expect Browncoats will be disappointed.


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Thursday, September 9, 2010 4:55 PM

CHRISISALL


I fully agree, and find that this series has only become MORE interesting with the passing of years.
I encourage all Browncoats to see this series- the beginning of the end of Earth-That-Was.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Thursday, September 9, 2010 5:39 PM

11THHOUR


Excellent list of connections between Max Headroom and Firefly!

Totally agree with how amazing Max Headroom was/is, and yes I also watched it when it was originally aired. If the Internet had been around then (in the form it is now) this show would have had a following very much like Firefly.

From what I understand, Max Headroom was messed with by the networks much like Firefly, and to the extent that it hurt the how terribly. I seem to remember that the creator became so disenchanted afterward that he did not create any other shows. Perhaps 'broken hearted' would be a more apt discription.

The show still holds up so well after all these years. Just love it!

11th

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"Because teenage pranks are fun when you're about to die!" - Hoban Washburne

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Spread the word today ~ Give the gift of Firefly: http://www.apple.com/itunes

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Friday, September 10, 2010 1:42 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I haven't seen it in ages, but I should get disc one today from Netflix. I plan on a m-m-m-m-marathon this weekend.



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Friday, September 10, 2010 1:51 AM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


Quote:

Originally posted by History:

Of note, there is a local self-made small time television businessman with his own delusions of grandeur played by William Morgan Sheppard, Mark "Badger" Sheppard's father.





Now that IS a shiny bit of comparative info!

Cool!




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Friday, September 10, 2010 5:25 PM

HISTORY


According to the DVD extras, Peter Wagg [the co-creator who brought the series from the UK to ABC television] and Steve Roberts [head writer], ABC did NOT significantly interfere with the creative content of the show--and even the network Standards and Practices suits (i.e. censors) "played along" with the creative teams attempts to stifle changes to content; it seems they, too, loved the show.

However, in another Firefly parallel, Max headroom was very expensive to produce and the second "season" episodes were placed in the 9PM pm Friday timeslot (opposite Dallas and Miami Vice) and captured only 16 million viewers (numbers which networks would kill for today, but was then consided "low ratings").

Too bad we didn't have 11th Hour Guerilla Marketing posters back then.

Respectfully,
History

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Friday, September 10, 2010 5:31 PM

CHRISISALL


Thanks, His.



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Friday, September 10, 2010 5:39 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


Max Headroom, Spitting Image and The Young Ones defined the 20th Century.





We are doomed.

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Friday, September 17, 2010 4:10 PM

OUT2THEBLACK


Quote:

Originally posted by History:
The Max Headroom Complete (1987 television) series on DVD was recently released. I'm old enough to recall how ground-breaking, and how enjoyable, it was for network television. And, on review, how prophetic the series was--and how well its themes of consumerism, media saturation, lack of privacy via inescapable technology, and corporate hegemony stay valid on viewing in 2010.

I also noted many similarities to Firefly, beyond being a science fiction show of a well-realized world with a devoted yet small fan-base and low ratings.




2010 , or 2518 , it would be prophetic in either case.

Max Headroom was my favorite show of the time...and when I get the DVD's ,
it will be love all over again...

It would be difficult to not have an element of sexual tension with Amanda Pays present...



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Saturday, September 18, 2010 11:34 AM

11THHOUR


Quote:

Originally posted by History:
}However, in another Firefly parallel, Max headroom was very expensive to produce and the second "season" episodes were placed in the 9PM pm Friday timeslot (opposite Dallas and Miami Vice) and captured only 16 million viewers (numbers which networks would kill for today, but was then consided "low ratings").



Scheduling Max Headroom opposite a couple of the juggernauts at the time, Dallas and Miami Vice, was sure to bury an eclectic and not-so-mainstream show. The only way a show could survive would be for a network to understand that just about ANY show could not beat out that competition, ratings-wise, and cut it some slack. You make an excellent point though, 16 million viewers today is a landslide number!

Quote:

[BToo bad we didn't have 11th Hour Guerilla Marketing posters back then.

Respectfully,
History



Well, thank you... sincerely appreciated. If technology had been back then as it was during Firefly, oh yeah... I would have been creating and proliferating guerilla marketing posters for Max Headroom! Thematically, and subversive-wise, perhaps MH lends itself even better to rebel street marketing!

If I had the time these days, I'd do it anyway... just for the fun!

11th

>>>}———————————————)))======<[]>======(((———————————————{<<<

"Because teenage pranks are fun when you're about to die!" - Hoban Washburne

Cafe Press Shop ~ http://www.cafepress.com/11thhourart

Spread the word today ~ Give the gift of Firefly: http://www.apple.com/itunes

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