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SYFY WIRE Christopher Cantwell

'Max Headroom' boots up reboot at AMC from 'Halt and Catch Fire' co-creator; Matt Frewer to return

The artificial intelligence TV host is coming back for a new series.

By Matthew Jackson

Max Headroom is making a comeback. Deadline reports that AMC Networks is developing a reboot of the staple of 1980s pop culture with the help of Halt and Catch Fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell and producer Elijah Wood, whose company SpectreVision is attached to the project. 

Matt Frewer, who originated the Max Headroom character in 1985, is also set to return to reprise his role, so get ready for eerily perfect hair and frequent glitching. 

One of the most memorable pop culture oddities of the 1980s, Max Headroom originated with a British TV movie titled Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future. Billed as the first entirely computer-generated TV host, the supposedly artificial intelligence character immediately struck a chord with audiences thanks to his distinctive look, speaking style, and futuristic concept. He went on to pop up all over television in the ensuing years, appearing in commercials, hosting music videos programs, and even getting two seasons of his own ABC TV series in 1987. Despite being off the air for years, he remains a frequently referenced aspect of 1980s nostalgia, and gained infamy when his likeness was used as part of a legendary (and legendarily creepy) pirate broadcast in 1987

With Halt and Catch Fire, which he co-showran and co-wrote for four seasons on AMC, Cantwell proved himself a writer who's able to wield 1980s nostalgia, bringing up key cultural moments from the era while also commenting on them in ways that relate to the world we live in now. The success of Halt and Catch Fire -- which followed a group of tech developers during the home computer revolution of the '80s -- allowed Cantwell to prove his genre chops on a number of other projects, including the just-launched Amazon series Paper Girls and runs at Marvel comics on characters like Doctor Doom and Iron Man. 

At the moment, we don't know what form this new incarnation of Max Headroom will take, whether it'll be a deliberate throwback to the 1980s, something updated for the 2020s, or even a legacy sequel-style concept that examines what the Max of the 1980s would make of the modern world. However it takes shape, though, this'll be an interesting project to watch. 

Looking for some other throwback sci-fi in the meantime? Space: 1999, Sliders and Highlander are all streaming now on Peacock.