If you’re not old enough to remember Max Headroom, perhaps the name rings a bell from reading Ernest Cline’s superb novel Ready Player One (soon-ish to be Steven Spielberg motion picture). If the answer is still no, you need to bone up on your pop culture history. Handily, The Verge‘s Bryan Bishop has written up the definitive oral history of Max Headroom:
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On Thursday, April 4th, 1985, a blast of dystopian satire hit the UK airwaves. Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future was a snarky take on media and corporate greed, told through the eyes of investigative journalist Edison Carter (Matt Frewer) and his computer-generated alter-ego: an artificial intelligence named Max Headroom.
Set in a near-future where global corporations control all media and citizens are hopelessly addicted to dozens of TV channels, the movie follows Carter — working for the mysterious Network 23 — as he discovers that network executives have created a form of subliminal advertising known as “blipverts” that can actually kill.