[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Max_Steel_2_6121.jpg]]

->'''Jefferson Smith''': ''[[OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent Josh McGrath]] canít [[WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld go running around the globe battling terrorists]] and still expect to lead a normal life.''\\
'''Josh [=McGrath=]''': ''Josh [=McGrath=] is out of the picture. The name is Max Steel!''

Josh [=McGrath=] is a 19 year-old extreme sports star whose adopted father works at the sports equipment manufacturing company N-Tek. It turns out this is a front for a counterintelligence agency, so when Josh makes an unscheduled visit during an attack on the facility by terrorists, he finds himself caught in the crossfire and present at an honest-to-god FreakLabAccident - his body is infested with "Max Nanoprobes", experimental {{Nanomachines}}, leaving him on the verge of death. TeenGenius Roberto "'Berto" Martinez realizes that the probes have integrated with his body and become [[TheSymbiote symbiotic]] - he is dying because they are [[PhlebotinumBreakdown running out of power]]. He is thus able to save Josh's life by infusing his body with the probes' specialized power source, [[AppliedPhlebotinum Trans-Phasic Energy]] (colloquially T-Juice). Afterward, it is discovered that the accident has given him [[MagicAndPowers numerous superpowers]]; superhuman strength, speed, stamina, senses, and the ability to become invisible. Realizing that these powers plus his extreme sports experience make him an ideal [[TheyFightCrime secret agent]], Josh creates a SecretIdentity - an older, brown-haired version of himself he calls "Max Steel." The series begins with a [[InMediasRes much less detailed explanation.]]

Max Steel was a very MerchandiseDriven, CG-animated SaturdayMorningCartoon series which ran from 2000 to 2002. At its heart a spy show, with outrageous villains and plots at times straining believability, the ever-GenreSavvy main character's commentary often put the series in AffectionateParody territory. In spite of its silliness, however, the show had well-defined characters, unusually complex plots, and was surprisingly dialogue-heavy for a show of its demographic. Aside from this it has a dark, realistic animation style and a few genuine instances of NightmareFuel.

After six episodes of season 1, the company making it went bankrupt and the series went over to another company, with a marked improvement in the animation quality. After season 2, they were shut down too and so season 3 was made by MainframeEntertainment, AKA the people who did ''ReBoot'' and ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''. Season 3 also saw a move from broadcast TV to Creator/CartoonNetwork; the plot went in a different direction, although the basic formula of every episode remained untouched and TheyChangedItNowItSucks seems largely avoided in the aforementioned small fanbase. Mainframe seemed to have an extremely low budget for the project as evidenced by many bit characters being 'portrayed' by the CGI models of larger characters from earlier seasons, sometimes to the point of mooks looking suspiciously identical to the first season's one-off villains. As well, the series finale is a ClipShow. After Season 3, a series of made-for-TV movies were released. Currently the show is in the midst of a Revival/ {{Retcon}} in Latin America. A [[InNameOnly new, animated reboot]] has been announced for [[http://www.animationmagazine.net/tv/new-max-steel-to-reboot-on-cartoon-network/ Latin America as well as in the US for DisneyXD in 2013]]. For that reboot, see WesternAnimation/MaxSteel2013.

The show was hosted on Youtube by Crackle in 2009, but has since been made unavailable for viewing.

Not to be confused with "Maxx Steele", head of the Robo Force (a short-lived line of suction-cup equipped robotic action figures created by Ideal in the mid-80's). A commercial can be seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7fxNmxif74 here]], and a Ruby-Spears animated OneEpisodeWonder is viewable [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT3KJ228Y6o&NR=1 starting here]].

!!''MaxSteel'' provides examples of:

* AbortedArc: During "Truth be Told," real-life athlete Jeremy [=McGrath=] is let in on Josh's secret double-life as a superpowered vigilante, and it's implied he'll discreetly spread the word out to a few others in his circle of friends/competitors who might be interested in helping the heroes save the day on occasion. "Truth be Told" being the series finale, nothing comes of it.
** Likewise, the [[ActingForTwo uncanny resemblance]] between Jefferson's predecessor at N-Tek, Marco Nathanson, and [[spoiler: John Dread]]. Greg Weisman [[WordOfGod said]] that this was supposed to be a RedHerring. In a case of behind-the-scenes {{Retcon}}, other producers after he left said they considered it to be exactly what it looked like. Neither interpretation is ever followed up on.
* AnimationBump: Happens mid-season 1. For the first couple of episodes, framerate, textures and character movements were much more static. As it went on however, they improved all of these, as well as using improved lighting and shadow techniques. This is due to the later episodes being animated by a new company.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: The writers had fun with this one, combined with PoirotSpeak. When Dread tries to impersonate Roberto, he manages to use the Mexican "Amigo" rather than the universally Spanish "Hombre."
* AppliedPhlebotinum: The nanoprobes, Infinity Ice.
* BodyHorror: Biocon.
* BoobsOfSteel: Rachel and Kat are among the toughest N-Tek agents next to Max. Rachel in particular, has quite the well developed rack.
* BondOneLiner: ''Many," some genuinely clever, others not so much.
* BondVillainStupidity: Notably ''averted'' on many occasions. The heroes are just better fighters and tacticians.
* BridgeBunnies: L'Etranger's submarine is crewed entirely by women in form-fitting armor.
* TheCameo: Tony Hawk, Jeremy [=McGrath=], and Matt Hoffman as themselves in ExtremeSportExcusePlot episodes. Dizzy and Carmen from ''WesternAnimation/RoughnecksStarshipTroopersChronicles'' also cameo as students in one episode (likely because that show and this one were both produced by Sony's TV division (then known as Columbia Tristar Television, currently known as Sony Pictures Television).
* CanonDiscontinuity: The made-for-TV films ignore the backstory that Max Steel was Josh [=McGrath=] completely. Then again, some of the fanbase like to think [[FanonDiscontinuity those films never happened]] either.
* CardCarryingVillain: Psycho.
* ChewingTheScenery: Psycho will be cool, collected and creepily calm one minute, and be [[LargeHam the largest ham ever]] the next.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: The lava is only dangerous when someone's touching it.
* CoolPlane: The Hawk, and to a lesser extent, the Behemoth.
* DisneyDeath: John Dread at the end of season 1. Psycho goes through a ''lot'' of these, to the point where ''both'' he and Max lampshade it. Taken to its absurd extreme when Psycho is ''thrown into space'' with no means of stopping his inertia or changing direction, to say nothing of re-entering the atmosphere without burning up and landing without going splat, but comes back a few episodes later.
* DuelingShows: With the 2000 CGI reboot of ''ActionMan''; ironically would be picked up by that show's studio, MainframeEntertainment, for Season 3.
* EarlyBirdCameo: A minor example. Kat (episode three) and Electrix (episode four) appear in the credits from the first episode of season two.
* EvilBrit: Dread's accent is subtle and hard to place, but it seems vaguely British.
* ExecutiveMeddling
* ExtremeSportExcusePlot: Cameo episodes. See TheCameo examples above.
* FakeNationality: Pennsylvania-born John De Lancie as French mercenary L'Etranger. He's the only one who bothers even trying to pronounce his character's name correctly; everyone else anglicizes it into a hard-sounding "LAY-tron-JAY."
* FallenHero: Toxzon, from the movies.
* FrickinLaserBeams: Actual guns (with bullets) are seen in an early season one episode, but the vast majority of weapons are laser-based.
* GenreSavvy: a significant source of the show's humor comes from Max being this.
** Psycho ventured into this sometimes, though never quite enough to save him.
-->'''L'Etanger:''' I believe we now have our obligatory fight to the finish.
-->'''Max Steel:''' Glad you know the rules!
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Quite a few innuendos.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Played straight with Dread's burned face.
* {{Hammerspace}}: A lot of items appear in a person's hand while they were off-screen.
* HeyItsThatVoice: Had its fair share:
** Kat is [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid Meryl Silverburg]].
** Biocon is [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Odo]].
** Marshak is ''Ed Asner.''
** Jefferson is [[Series/{{House}} Vogler]].
** L'Etranger is [[Franchise/StarTrek Q]].
** Rachel is [[WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond Inque]], as well as the Keeper from Series/TheInvisibleMan.
** Psycho is [[VideoGame/DeadSpace a Unitologist]].
* ImaginaryLoveTriangle: Josh's girlfriend Laura finds out he's been working with Rachel in some form, and since he previously told her she was another person altogether, assumes that he lied about it because he's been having an affair.
--> '''Rachel''': I'm guessing ''someone'', namely you, gave Ms. Chen the wrong impression about us.
** Of course, things become more complicated when it seems to start becoming an ''actual'' LoveTriangle. Said scenario essentially ends when Laura breaks up with Josh and Rachel leaves the series after being promoted.
* ImplacableMan: Max himself is far more durable than normal humans, especially prevalent when he goes up against small-time thugs instead of his usual rogues gallery. L'Etranger as well, who can somehow go toe-to-toe with Max without breaking a sweat despite having no visible augmentations. Berto drowning him in "Fun in the Sun" seems rather brutal until you remember a previous episode showed him breathing underwater with no gear. {{Lampshaded}}:
-->'''Max Steel:''' No ''way'' you can be that strong!
-->'''L'Etranger:''' Stranger still, neither can ''you!''
* InASingleBound: Justified by Max having super powers, Psycho by being a cyborb.
* LampshadeHanging: Mostly because of Max's GenreSavvy, above.
* {{Mana}}: Max's nanoprobes run on Transphasic energy; it seems capable of powering mechanical devices without actually following a constructed electric circuit, but burns up quickly.
* TheMasqueradeWillKillYourDatingLife: Laura breaks up with Josh following the end of the first season.
* MoralGuardians: The bizarre way Max's powers are re-tooled in the made-for-TV movies happened because of complaints that the original mechanics, with Max able to enter a consequence-free super-powered mode at will, glorified drug abuse in athletics. The 'consequence-free' part would sound strange to anyone who actually ''paid attention'' to the show; it's demonstrated more than once that Max expends a great deal of the energy he needs to survive whenever he does this. Taking these details into account, the analogy is closer to "performance enhancers will kill you," and season 3 isn't even subtle about it as it becomes a larger problem.
** A less successful protest came from the idea that Psycho glorifies the stigma towards those with actual mental diseases/autism, encouraging the idea that all people with even minor but real issues fit the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin psychotic]] AxCrazy stereotype. Ironically, Psycho then became the most-seen villain for season three; it's likely that production was already done when the letters were sent, rather than an intentional TakeThat.
* TheMole: During season 1, it becomes apparent that there is a traitor amongst N-Tek. [[spoiler: It's Mairot.]] According to WordOfGod, the traitor was originally intended to be a double-agent, but it was never followed through on.
* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: Quite often people are shown falling and hitting the ground or a stable object ''hard''. Partially Justified for Max (it's likely that the probes can compensate), but your average sports athlete [[SoftWater hitting water from what looks like a good fifteen stories]] at near or actual terminal velocity and coming out with no injuries? Especially when they deliberately go from a splayed-put position to feet-first.
* ObviouslyEvil: Psycho
* TheOtherDarrin: Most of the original voice actors don't make the transition to the made-for-TV movies, the most egregious being Jefferson and Psycho, who don't even have sound-alikes. In season three of the show, Max himself is switched off on between his normal voice-actor and someone else repeatedly, but it's pretty hard to notice.
* ParentalSubstitute: Jefferson Smith adopted Josh after his real parents died, and both treat each other like they really were father and son.
* PowerIncontinence: When Josh first gets the nanoprobes, he can't turn off the super-strength and breaks doors accidentally, with "Max Steel" simply being a disguise instead of a powered-up mode. This leads him to quit his sports career early on since it gives him an unfair advantage and his events become [[CurbStompBattle curb-stomps]] from the other competitors' points of view, giving him no satisfaction or sense of accomplishment. At some point, he learns to overcome this problem off-screen, and resumes competing after N-Tek's espionage division is shut down.
* PsychoForHire: Psycho, obviously. To a lesser extent, most of the rogues gallery after John Dread stops employing them.
** Case in point, this exchange from an episode where Psycho threatens to unleash ThePlague:
-->'''Jefferson:''' ''You drop that and we all die!''
-->'''Psycho:''' ''And yet, I don't seem to care. Must be why they call me PSYCHO!''
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: No ''too'' often, but one SwordFight with a zombie pirate had a hilariously sped-up version of the Funeral March playing as background music.
* PutOnABus: Rachel, Max's former partner, was promoted early in season 2 and left the series to make way for his new partner, Kat. Turned out to be a LongBusTrip as she was never seen again afterwards.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: Villain Bioconstrictor had a body composed entirely of snakes.
* {{Retool}}: As season three opens, we see that the government is less than pleased with the way N-Tek dropped the ball in the second season finale, and forces Jefferson to close down the espionage division. Josh, Kat and Berto become legit competitors on the sports circuit, sponsored by N-Tek's legit public front while [[TheyFightCrime fighting crime]] on their own time. It's actually somewhat odd, as season three clearly suffers from budget problems and the loss of the previous {{status quo|IsGod}} required new CGI assets to be made, while ensuring several previously re-usable assets like the N-Tek sets had to be dropped.
* RobotBuddy: Cytro, from the movies.
* RussiansWithRustingRockets: L'Etranger's submarine, the Akina, is Russian surplus.
* SarcasmBlind: When a cargo freighter carrying a shipment of bananas (and a secret shipment of plutonium) was sunk, Marshak commented that: "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to save that fruit!". Roberto then butts in about the plutonium, thinking he was serious. Cue a disgruntled look from Marshak as Roberto realizes how foolish that was.
* ScoobyDooHoax: "Sphinxes". The heroes investigate a pyramid and after discovering the hoax, GenreSavvy AscendedFanboy Max reports that it's a "WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo" and explains what he means to his [[BritishStuffiness Stuffy British]] partner.
-->'''Max''': Since when do [[StockMonsters ancient Egyptian death gods]] have jaws that [[RoboticReveal clank when you hit them]]? It's all classic Scooby-Doo.
-->'''Rachel''' (puzzled): Scooby-what?
-->'''Max''': (groan) [[GenreBlindness Your ignorance is frightening.]] When the bad guys are up to no good, they use local lore to scare away the curious. That's the Scooby Way.
-->'''Rachel''': I'll study his teachings later.
* ShoutOut: To various installments in the espionage genre, of course.
** [[Series/TheATeam I love it when a plan comes together!]]
** [[Series/MissionImpossible Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to save that fruit!]]
* SinisterShades: John Dread's slick shades never come off.
* SkyPirate: An episode involved a young inventor build a gigantic aircraft that literally swallowed planes. When the titular character's {{Voice with an Internet Connection}} is captured by the crew, the first thing he does is claim that such an aircraft cannot exist, citing off scientific reasons.
* SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: Inverted when Max figures out Dread is impersonating Roberto because Dread gets Berto's nickname for him consistently wrong. Played straight when Dragonelle, impersonating Rachel, stands ''next'' to Rachel and tries to accuse the real one of being the impostor. The real Rachel tells Max not to even bother playing along and to just destroy the episode's MacGuffin, ensuring the impostor has no chance of getting it. Max quips, "Now ''that'' sounds like our Ms. Leeds" as he does so.
* TheSymbiote: Mutualism; once the nanoprobes enter Josh's system, his body adapts to their presence and they become a biomodification. The fact that Josh's body doesn't remember how to work without them, coupled with how quickly they consume their energy source, is often a plot point. Taken further in season 3 where the primary power source is lost and it's implied that Josh will eventually die with only the smaller backup source trying to fill in for it.
* TooSoon: Cartoon Network's reruns, and even their ''initial'' run of the third season, had quite a few episodes skipped over for several iterations. There was never any comment about it (possibly on account of the fanbase being tiny) but all of the episodes skipped over had buildings or otherwise large things blowing up, suggesting 9/11 paranoia (one of the show's animators, when blogging retrospectively about his work on this show in particular, commented that the episode he was talking about probably actually wouldn't be aired again on account of 9/11.) To be fair, when the series went into its last run before it went off the air, the end of the lineup was all the episodes previously skipped over in a row.
** Worth noting that, although these labels are never used in the show itself, the show is about a group of ''counter-terrorists'' fighting and beating terrorists.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Happens to Max and Rachel during season 1. During an especially emotional moment for Max, Rachel kisses him to calm him down and they spend the next couple of episodes arguing with each other (more than usual) until they finally talk about it near the end of the season.
* VillainBall: John Dread misses more than one chance to kill Max because he wants him alive to study his biomodifications, and Max, every single time, escapes and ruins his plans.
* VillainousBreakdown: Psycho is less than thrilled when he hatches a plot in season 3 that has nothing to do with N-Tek or Max like all of John Dread's schemes, but it turns out Max is there anyway by ''sheer coincidence.''
** Dread has a minor one of these in his last appearance, where he expresses shock at Max coming back from the most impossible situation he'd ever been in. It's not very spectacular, but it's a major display compared to Dread's usual calm, professional demeanor.
* WakeUpGoToSchoolSaveTheWorld: Played straight in the first two seasons. By season three, Josh seems to have quit school to focus on his sports career.
* WhyWontYouDie: During the VillainousBreakdown
-->'''Psycho''': That's impossible! We saw you die!
-->'''Dread''': He '''never''' ''stays DEAD''!
* WorkHardPlayHard: Save the world from supervillains, then hit the slopes / beach / tracks.
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