From creator, writer, and executive-producer Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers), Netflix’s limited series Maniac tells the story of two strangers who find themselves drawn into the late stages of a mysterious drug trial, and from there, things start to get really weird. The series stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, and will be directed by the absolutely fantastic Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation).
The first full trailer shows a mind-bending trip that is, in some ways, reminiscent of Michel Gondry‘s surrealist film The Science of Sleep. But thanks to its limited series format (rather than a feature), the show can really spend time exploring these bonkers worlds within the mind, a bit like Legion. And yet! unlike Legion, it won’t have to sustain that narrative past this first season. Have I mentioned how much I love limited series?
Netflix also released a host of new images that further reveal the fantastic cast, including Julia Garner (The Americans, Ozark) and Billy Magnussen (Game Night), along with Oscar-winner Sally Fields. But mostly I’m excited because of Fukunaga’s involvement. He’s such a wonderful director who can really elevate a series to greatness (see True Detective Season 1, which he directed, versus Season 2 which he did not). Ultimately, Maniac looks like twisted, funny, and emotional. Check out the trailer below; Maniac debuts September 21st on Netflix.
Here’s the official synopsis for Maniac:
Set in a world somewhat like our world, in a time quite similar to our time, 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.