maniac inside the series

Netflix’s Maniac is incredible – one of the best original programs the streaming service has released to date. It’s also weird as hell, and almost impossible to coherently sum up. A new video attempts to break down the Emma Stone and Jonah Hill show while highlighting what makes it so unique. Watch it below.

Maniac Inside the Series 

What is Maniac? It’s kind of hard to explain. Think of Total Recall crossed with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with a little 2001: A Space Odyssey thrown in for seasoning. If you can picture that, you’re sort of close to picturing Maniac. “Maniac is totally crazy,” says Emma Stone in this video. “It’s impossible to explain what it is,” adds Sally Field.

Cary Joji Fukunaga and writer, creator and main driving force behind the project Patrick Somerville try to simplify things: Maniac is about connection. It’s about finding a connection with someone else, or longing for a connection previously had and now lost. And yes, in the midst of all that there’s crazy stuff about elves and spies and a depressed computer. This official synopsis explains a bit more in detail:

Maniac tells the stories of “Annie Landsberg (Emma Stone) and Owen Milgrim (Jonah Hill), two strangers drawn to the late stages of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial, each for their own reasons. Annie’s disaffected and aimless, fixated on broken relationships with her mother and her sister; Owen, the fifth son of wealthy New York industrialists, has struggled his whole life with a disputed diagnosis of schizophrenia. Neither of their lives have turned out quite right, and the promise of a new, radical kind of pharmaceutical treatment—a sequence of pills its inventor, Dr. James K. Mantleray (Justin Theroux), claims can repair anything about the mind, be it mental illness or heartbreak—draws them and ten other strangers to the facilities of Neberdine Pharmaceutical and Biotech for a three-day drug trial that will, they’re assured, with no complications or side-effects whatsoever, solve all of their problems, permanently.Things do not go as planned.”

Really, though, Maniac is about the experience. The show is wildly inventive, and Fukunaga’s direction is often stunning, carrying us from one strange world to the next. Stone and Hill are well matched – Stone in particular does some of her best work here. And then there’s the show’s sad, lovely score by Dan Romer, probably my favorite element of the entire series.

Maniac Score

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