‘Maniac’ Leaves Viewers Crazy For a Second Season


courtesy of wired.com

Nicole Casal, Entertainment Editor

Netflix’s newest original series, “Maniac,” is a perfect mixture of analytical psychology and a disorienting trip.

“Maniac” premiered Sept. 21 and it features two A-list actors, Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. Stone plays Annie Landsberg, a lost soul dealing with drug addiction and an estranged mother. Hill plays Owen Milgrim, a struggling schizophrenic who is about to lie under oath to protect his narcissistic brother. 

Annie and Owen are both grouped together in a pharmaceutical trial for a drug that claims to repair any trauma in the mind without the need for therapy. As expected, the trial goes awry when the computer, called Gertie, develops depression after her creator, Dr. Muramoto, overdoses on the drug they are testing. 

The trial drug is taking in three parts, A, B and C. The A pill makes the brain relive its most traumatic experience. The B pill, which stands for behavioral, shows how people lie to themselves through defense mechanism. Finally, the C pill, standing for confrontation, allows the brain to let go of this trauma.

The cinematography makes the viewer feel like they are having a fever dream. Scenes seem to constantly switch between Annie’s and Owen’s ‘reflections’ while being under the influence of the pills. There are also breaks for the viewer to see how the scientist are trying to regain control of Gertie once they discover her malicious tendencies. 

Another remarkable trait about the series is the costuming and set design. Annie’s and Owen’s reflections range from old Hollywood, a 70’s middle-class household and an elf fantasy world. Stone gives a convincing performance being able to flawlessly switch between the different reflections that Annie is experiencing. Stone also does a wonderful job of showing Annie’s pain and refusal to let go of her emotional trauma. 

Hill is almost unrecognizable as Owen. Being known for comedy roles in movies like “Superbad” and “Wolf of Wall Street,” it is surprising to see him excel at a dramatic role. Hill impeccably portrays Owen’s distancing personality and internal demons distracting him from reality. 

Aside from portraying a bleak and dystopian future, “Maniac” offers a look at analytical psychology. According to C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles, analytical psychology is also called Jungian psychology, after it’s creator Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist. This branch of psychology emphasizes on our need for wholeness instead of perfection. All characters in this series are seeking for a way to move past their traumas. Subsequently, the ego will be strengthened by the integration of the unconscious parts of our personality. This is the goal of the A, B and C pills in “Maniac.”

Unfortunately, the show’s creator, Patrick Somerville, confirmed that the series wouldn’t be returning for a second season.