In this day and age Netflix has taken over television, debuting new originals nearly every month. But nothing compares to Maniac, a dark comedy that takes you on a trippy dystopian pharmaceutical ride. Seems confusing? Well it is, but it is nothing short of mini-series gold.
Maniac takes place in a futuristic yet 80’s New York with a re-imagined “Statue of Extra Liberty”. The miniseries plays with juxtaposition creating a retro and futuristic America that seems to be ran by the pharmaceutical industry. The show focuses on two characters: Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill) and Annie Landsberg (Emma Stone). Owen is a schizophrenic man with a rather unsupportive family. Annie is an addict who has an unfortunate past.
The basis of the miniseries is that Owen and Annie both participate in a drug trial, each with their own agendas. Annie simply wants more of the unreleased drug that she’s been secretly receiving. Owen wants to control his hallucinations and rid his life of his entitled family. The drug or “ABC” pills are supposed to be a form of therapy that extracts the bad memories and rids the mind of the problem. But, things become slightly altered in the trial, causing Owen and Annie to connect in strange ways.
The miniseries essentially goes through the very different minds of Owen and Annie in the strangest ways possible from an extremely eighties lemur rescue to the capture of an Icelandic alien. Maniac is an extremely complex and well written miniseries that needs to be watched at least twice to even grasp that full narrative of the story. But it is well worth it as the show has interesting characters with intriguing lives.