Maniac: Season 1 (2018)

Plot: Two strangers, Annie and Owen, take part in a drugs trial. Both choosing to take part for different reasons, their worlds collide. The pills they’re taking are supposed to cure all their problems and they’re not supposed to have side effects but things don’t go to plan.

Created By: Patrick Somerville

Starring: Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux, Sonoya Mizuno


A show to delve into the darkest secrets that surround our minds is a brave endeavour because let’s face it, what do we actually know about the human brain? It’s a complex thing that remains a mystery. What Maniac does well is its depiction of mental illnesses. It visualises depression, anxiety, schizophrenia with realness, however, it wasn’t perfect.

Jonah Hill plays Owen, a lonely paranoid schizophrenic desperate for money. He attends the drug trial as it promises happiness at the end of it. Emma Stone’s Annie is a drug addict clinging onto memories of her dead sister. In reality, their lives are gloomy and dull but the drug trial offers them another world where everything is more colourful, more vibrant.


Things get weird very quickly when they start taking the pills. They’re thrown into an alternate universe which feels real but something is not quite right. Each drug offers them a different story, a different reality.

Its premise sounds promising but in all honesty, it’s a TV show we could have done without. Or it may have been better as a film. It just felt pointless. There was no reason this show needed to be made. It felt like a black mirror episode but just dragged out for 10 episodes instead of one. I loved the nostalgia feel to it and the gloomy quirkiness of the look of the show but the story lacked and I found it boring and dragged out. It was weird and wasn’t my cup of tea.


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