Brat Farrar (bratfarrar) wrote,
Brat Farrar

review (ish): Max Headroom

So, I slipped back into the eighties for a couple of hours this evening, thanks to the show Max Headroom. It was a rather bizarre experience, especially the commercial breaks - a friend's father taped the episodes when they originally aired, so I got to watch ads from 1988.

Did people really dress that way? And do that to their hair?

It's all about a tv reporter and his team from - actually, it's probably set about now. But their world is one where television ratings rule everything, and credit fraud is a worse crime than murder. It's a serious show, and a bit scarily prescient about the turn of television and the media. Though not, I'm glad to say, about books.

It takes itself a bit too seriously perhaps, and the characters are rather one-dimensional, but the writing (for the episodes I've seen so far) was decent. What's fun is seeing all the "high tech" technology that's used - all horribly bulky and inelegant, and lots of cables. They have satellite, but nothing like wireless, and the closest thing to a laptop is a box about 2.5'x3', with a screen about 4"x5". At least it came with a built-in handle.

The world reminds me of Philip K. Dick's works, and Fahrenheit 461, although not quite so brutal, with government by big business. I wish that there had been more of a glimpse of regular life, in addition to that of life inside the television industry. But that says more about me than about the show, since I find myself very easily distracted by details such as where groceries come from, and whether there's still private cars or if it's all gone public transit.

I'm definitely going to watch the four episodes left on the tape, if only so I can marvel some more over how much fashion's shifted. And then maybe move on to Tron and Minority Report, so I can revel in dystopia.
Tags: reviews & recommendations

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