If you have ever wanted to watch something that blends practically every genre there is into a single entity, then the new Maniac Netflix mini-series is the show for you.
What is the Maniac Netflix show about? Who’s in the Maniac cast?
Directed by True Detective and Beasts of No Nation helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga, and created by Patrick Somerville, the science-fiction drama co-stars Jonah Hill and Emma Stone as Owen Milgrim and Annie Landsberg, two participants in a mysterious pharmaceutical trial aimed at “solving” the human mind.
As those who have seen the first trailer, or screeners ahead of the show’s streaming release on Friday, can attest, the Maniac Netflix mini-series is an aptly titled program. Owen, the fifth son of a wealthy family and the recipient of a controversial schizophrenia diagnosis, contents that his “head doesn’t work right.” Annie, meanwhile, struggles to find meaning while wading through her broken relationships with her mother and sister. Both hope that Dr. James K. Mantleray’s (Justin Theroux) treatment regimen will help them.
Whether or not the pills and tests involved in the three-day drug trial hosted by the mysterious, if not nefarious, Neberdine Pharmaceutical and Biotech organization doesn’t really matter. Or, Owen and Annie’s attempts to cure themselves by Mantleray’s hands doesn’t matter to the story of Maniac, for Somerville’s series asks entirely different (and deeper) questions altogether. Questions about how the human mind works, how and why experience matters, and other topics fans of Westworld, Twin Peaks and Lost will likely enjoy.
That is to say, the story of the Maniac Netflix mini-series takes a back seat to the many different realities that Owen and Annie experience thanks to the drug trials, which, in turn, cause Owen to question if there even really is a drug trial. The visuals and the complexities therein take precedence.
However, this doesn’t mean that Maniac is all show and no tell, especially when it comes to individual performances. Hill and Stone’s turns as Owen and Annie stand above the rest, which also includes Theroux’s good doctor and Sally Field’s Dr. Greta Mantleray, who frequently questions the validity of the drug trials. As a whole, the ensemble shines whenever given the chance, but the leads lead more often than not.
So if you prefer television that delves into bigger concepts or “mystery boxes” like those popularized by director J.J. Abrams with Lost, then Netflix’s Maniac will most likely be your new obsession. In typical streaming fashion, it is a heavily serialized show that requires a few episodes to get going, so by the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, you probably will have just finished binging the whole thing.
Maniac release date
Maniac begins streaming Friday, Sept. 21, on Netflix.