Words by Elizabeth Cuomo
The trailer for Netflix’s upcoming mini-series Maniac is a two and a half minute long glimpse of what’s shaping up to be a massively entertaining, genre-bending show.
Starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone and directed by True Detective’s Cary Joji Fukunaga, Maniac is the story of two strangers who — unhappy with their lives — undergo an experimental pharmaceutical drug trial led by Dr. James Mantleray (Justin Theroux), who promises to make all of their problems go away, forever.
Everything goes according to plan.
Trippy, confusing, and full of imagination, my guess is that if Inception had less weird noises, a retro 80’s design aesthetic and enough content for 10 episodes, you’d have something that resembles Maniac. As described by Stone’s character, Annie Landsberg, this mysterious drug is “some multi-realty brain magic shit.” We see the two stars exchange a plethora of meaningful, teary-eyed glances as they find each other again and again, lost in reality after reality.
Maniac is created by Patrick Somerville, the man behind the HBO series The Leftovers, a show once described to me as, “2% science fiction.” In other words, the supernatural elements of the show are as relevant as the other crisis that the characters deal with typical to life: divorce, mental health issues, or the loss of a loved one. The result is a fascinating premise with characters as complex as the fictional world they inhabit. As for Maniac, it looks like Somerville and Fukunaga have cranked the sci-fi dial up from 2% to infinity. This show seems to explore a reality where anything is possible.
Get ready to take a trip down the rabbit hole when episodes of Maniac premiere this September.
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