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Movies & TV

19th Sep 2018

Netflix’s new mind-bending drama will be the most divisive show of 2018

Rory Cashin

Jonah Hill and Emma Stone’s new show arrives in just a few days.

The plot synopsis is too vague to latch on to.

“The show 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. Things do not go as planned.”

Yeah, we guessed as much, especially considering the show is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the guy behind the first (great) season of True Detective. We would have guessed everything in Maniac isn’t exactly hunky-dory.

However, the show – which also stars Justin Theroux, Sally Field, Billy Magnussen, and Sonoya Mizuno – is getting some of the most Marmite-y reviews we’ve seen all year.

On the one hand, Variety gave it 5 out of 5, saying “Maniac is a crescendo across genres that doesn’t stop building. … Its power comes, in part, from its refusal to sprawl. As a trial of something new, Maniac passes every test, and ascends instantly to take its place among the very best TV of the year. Its eagerness to expose unexpected angles is its great gift.”

On the flip-side, Entertainment Weekly thought very little of it: “Where The Leftovers successfully turned supporting roles into three-dimensional showcase star turns, this series reduces even the major characters to bare backstory essentials, poses of emotion. … For all its manic poses and deflationary snark, it’s ultimately patronizingly sentimental.”

Leaning back to the more positive side, the Washington Post found more positives than negatives: “Maniac starts off too absorbed in its own complicated structure, but once Owen and Annie are strapped in at the lab (and experience an accidental melding of their subconscious states), the show becomes a visually compelling romp through highly detailed dreams and personal discoveries.”

And finally, in a review that basically seems to be the written version of a long shrug, Collider said “When Maniac is good, it’s funny, affecting, and fascinating; when it’s not good, it’s like having a conversation with a student in a Psych 101 class who wants to tell you about a dream they had last night and what it might mean. It leaves the series as a rambling journey that some will find charming and others frustrating.”

Find out for yourself what you think of it, when all ten episodes of Maniac arrive on Netflix on Friday 21 September.

Check out the trailer below.

Clip via Netflix


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