Episode ABC.2.4: "Dream Thieves"

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Max Headroom: Episode ABC.2.4
Title "Dream Thieves"
Production No. 2.4
UK Air Date NA?
US Air Date 9 Oct 1987
Length 48 minutes
Creative Teleplay by Steve Roberts

Story by Charles Grant Craig

Directed by Todd Holland

Edited by Andrew L. Cohen / Dennis C. Vejar

Watch for:
Crew Series Crew, Season 2
Actor Role
Main Cast
Matt Frewer as Edison Carter

Max Headroom

Amanda Pays Theora Jones
George Coe Ben Cheviot
Chris Young Bryce Lynch
W. Morgan Sheppard Blank Reg
and Jeffrey Tambor Murray
Guest Starring
Mark Lindsay Chapman Paddy Ashton
Jere Burns Breugal
Concetta Tomei Blank Dominique
Jenette Goldstein  ?
Ron Fassler  ?
Vernon Weddle  ?
Robin Bach  ?
Vince McKewin  ?
Stephen Pershing  ?
Rob Narita Asian Controller?
Steven Rotblatt  ?
Timothy Dang  ?
Peter de Anello  ?
Patricia Veselich  ?
Gary Dean Sweeney  ?
Dalton Younger  ?
Unknown Cast
 ? Harry (Controller)
 ? Peter (name callout)
 ? Interviewed Fringer (male)
 ? Interviewed Fringer (female)
* Tentative role match, pending confirmation.

Unknown roles represent credited cast members with no certain matching role.

Unknown cast represent roles with unknown, possibly uncredited actors.

The fourth episode of the second ABC series season.


20 minutes into the future, we find Edison Carter walking through the celebration of a wedding in the Fringes, about to go on the air. He threads his way through a marketplace and sets his camera up on a barrel, just in time for his cue. He is at an old movie theater, a place people used to go to watch the same pictures at the same time. His activities haven't escaped the notice of a few denizens of the street.

As he does his opening, explaining what a "movie theater" was used for - and it's a weird concept - he interviews some of the Fringers in the street. They remember stories about movies but aren't sure what they were, exactly. Then Carter lands on a figure who was following him, who has a concise but bitter opinion about what movies were, before TV "choked the talent out of the business." Murray is enthralled at the "fighting talk" this will bring to the board room and ratings, until Carter asks the speaker who he is. "Don't you recognize me, Eddie?" he smiles. "It's Paddy Ashton."

Murray gasps, and Carter immediately cuts the link and suggests he and Paddy get a little drink. It appears they know - knew - each other.

At Dream Vu Micro Cable, a soothing announcer is convincing viewers to subscribe to the hottest programming anywhere - shows they won't see on the networks.

Notes & Commentary

We see Rik's motorized rickshaw pulling the bride and groom in the opening shot... but it's not Rik driving.

A brief shot of a blonde show host on a Fringer TV seems to be Fred Holliday, seen briefly in Episode ABC.1.2: "Rakers". Leftover footage?

Actor Mark Lindsay Chapman would go on to a recurring role in "Max Headroom"'s nemesis, "Dallas," and would appear together a few years later with Jenette Goldstein in "Titanic."

Besides her role in "Titanic" as the Irish mother, Jenette Goldstein came to her role in this episode directly from her role as the Marine "Vasquez" in "Aliens."

Opening Credits

This episode uses the standard second-season opening credits.

Subliminal Credits

This episode has no subliminal credits in the Zik-Zak montage.

Quotes & Caps

  • Carter: "Edison Carter, live and direct. I want to show you something rare. This... was a dream palace. Years ago, people came here for their pictures, to share dreams and adventures together. These were the days when people sat in groups and watched a single movie - sometimes hundreds of people at one time... it must have been a weird experience: people watching the same screen, and the same program."
Murray: "I can't use more than 30 seconds. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."
  • Paddy Ashton: "They were a shared experience, Mr. Carter. People gathered together in communal escapism to share adventure, excitement, laughter, romance. They shared these vicarious emotions together. That was before they choked the talent out of this business - gave us game shows, and chat shows and news."
Murray: "Great. That should stir it upstairs. Stay with it.
Paddy: "Before the world became ratings and people became demographics and everything became the product."
Murray: "Yeah... fighting talk."
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