Max Headroom: ABC Series
The ABC dramatic comedy series is by far the best known of Max's appearances. It ran for two short seasons in 1987, with leftover episodes seen as late ad 1995.
(Summary and list to come. Data is available on other pages in the meantime.)
The first season of six episodes was shown on ABC as a late-season replacement in the spring of 1987. The second season ran that fall, but was cancelled after five episodes were shown. Two episodes were later shown as late-season filler, but the final episode was never seen until it ran on a cable channel in October of 1995. None of the episodes were ever re-run on ABC nor shown on any other channel until that 1995 showing, and a later one on an associated cable channel.
As with many shows produced - written, developed, shot, and edited - in one order and released or aired in another, there are inconsistencies in story development and continuity in the as-aired order of Max Headroom.
Shows are aired out of production order for many reasons, the most common being that episodes with complex post-production needs aren't ready in time and a later but simpler ep is sent out to fill the schedule. Sometimes, the network or channel prefers a blockbuster or high-appeal episode to run during sweeps or ratings periods, or not to run when it might conflict with other programming. Two well-known examples in the TV science fiction genre are the Babylon 5 sequel, "Crusade" and the space western "Firefly," both of which were hampered by very irregular ordering of their episodes.
Both seasons of the ABC series had variance between the early production and airing sequence, and both variations may have contributed to the lackluster audience appeal. Although the show can be watched in almost any order - it does stem from the "closed episode" era, when shows were crafted to stand alone from episode and thus allow easy syndication packaging and lower demands on new audience members - it is best watched in linear order from first to last. That order can be the airing order, but in my opinion, it is best if viewed in production order instead:
- ABC.1.1: "Blipverts"
- ABC.1.3: "Body Banks"
- ABC.1.2: "Rakers"
- ABC.1.5: "War"
- ABC.1.6: "Blanks"
- ABC.1.4: "Security Systems" (leaving the best for the season last)
- ABC.2.3: "Grossberg's Return"
- ABC.2.2: "Deities"
- ABC.2.1: "Academy"
- ABC.2.4: "Dream Thieves"
...and the remaining four in order.
Material related to the ABC series that doesn't really fit anywhere else.
Mark Snow's "Lost Theme"
TV composer Mark Snow wrote a one-minute title theme that has been released on several of his compilation albums under the title "The Lost Theme from "Max Headroom'." I don't know anything about its history or whether it was ever seriously considered as the series theme, or just inspired Snow to turn his hand to a techo-beat sample piece.
I do have to say I like it a little more than the "official" theme - but I like the original, too.