We all love a good new show on Netflix. Sometimes watching Friends and The Office gets tiring, and Netflix knows to spice it up with an edgy new original show that gets everyone hooked. I started and finished watching the show Maniac in three days. At first glance, I saw the names Emma Stone and Jonah Hill and thought, “Wow, this is going to be something good.” After watching the first 10 minutes of the show, which is a montage about evolution featuring a time lapse of grass growing and some other weird footage, I decided the show was too avant-garde and not for me. But after another week went by of watching the same old shows and my mother pestering me to start Maniac, I gave it a second chance.
The show takes place in the near future and in the past, where time is not a linear concept.
Imagine a world where populations continue to grow, the top 1 percent gets even wealthier and you can literally pay for things with your time. When people don’t have money, they can choose to pay for transactions with an ad-buddy, which is someone who reads you advertisements.
The two main characters, Annie Landsberg and Owen Milgrim, are both deeply troubled and burdened by events of the past. Annie had to witness the death of her sister and Owen is medicated for schizophrenia and has to lie for his brother in court while people question if he is really the most qualified witness. The two characters keep crossing paths and find each other when they both partake in a pharmaceutical trial. They are subjected to three days of treatment and each pill they take repairs the most intense mental trauma that they experienced. This system is monitored by the inventors’ computer system, the “GRTA,” who they refer to as Gertie, and things start to go wrong as Gertie tries to insert herself into the subjects testing.
While this seems like a somewhat basic story of two disturbed souls trying to find a solution, they are involved in what seems like a bigger plot of saving the world. While this doesn’t necessarily happen, the two save each other’s worlds and leave the experiment with a lifelong friendship and someone they can deeply confide in.
This show may not be for everyone and there is some sensitive content, but if you get past the bizarre first 10 minutes, I promise you will finish the show feeling deeply reflective and genuinely connected to the characters.