• Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 21, 2018
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24

Where To Watch

Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. Sep 21, 2018
    60
    Maniac isn’t weird enough to really achieve what it wants to, but it does say something--however accidentally--about how reality is already weird enough.
  2. Reviewed by: Allison Keene
    Sep 13, 2018
    60
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 21, 2018
    55
    The undisciplined nature of the human mind -- which Fukunaga seeks to illustrate -- can present a frustrating maze to navigate. While the leads, especially Stone, are fine, their performances sometimes struggle against the off-kilter nature of the material.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Sep 21, 2018
    50
    A big, weird, tightly controlled mess of a show. It swings for the bleachers and doesn't always connect--and when it does, it can seem to skip some bases or run them out of order. But it does keep swinging and running. ... But Stone, an actress of alchemical gifts--she can turn lead to gold--is marvelous at every turn, in every version and inversion of her character.
  5. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Sep 13, 2018
    42
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Sep 20, 2018
    40
    Promising themes dissolve, episode by episode, into something more like forced quirkiness, revealing a buried conventionality, the curse of way too much cool-looking TV. ... Even an unreal world needs characters who make sense, particularly in a series that is as gooily devoted to exploring those characters’ inner lives as Maniac turns out to be. On this level, the show is half-baked and inconsistent.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 250 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 36 out of 250
  1. Sep 21, 2018
    10
    It is amazing and so well-done. The cast is also perfect. It gets more and more exciting every episode. Iconic!!!!
  2. Sep 24, 2018
    9
    Cary Joji Fukunaga is quickly turning into a real force in filmmaking. I say filmmaking because Maniac is quite possibly the most cinematicCary Joji Fukunaga is quickly turning into a real force in filmmaking. I say filmmaking because Maniac is quite possibly the most cinematic miniseries ever to grace Netflix. Cinematic not exclusively in looks and special effects, but overall story, character-building and pacing.

    I watched Maniac as a 300 minute movie and loved almost every minute of it. This is an inventive deep look at psycho-therapy and mental illness, and how people handle trauma, in a very realistic manner. The characters of Annie and Owen are realized to a high degree by talents of Jonah Hill and Emma Stone (weird seeing them together so long after Superbad, a real then-and-now story for both of these Academy Award nominated actors). Emma Stone knocks this one out of the park with her nuanced and highly informed portrayal of a deeply disturbed character. Jonah Hill works out of his comfort zone and plays it totally straight and haunted, letting his eyes and pensive expressions do the work. Apart from an unfortunate yet strangely compelling Icelandic accent/character turn, he shows us how much he has grown as a dramatic actor. However, every scene of Jonah is definitely outclassed by Emma, clearly the heavyweight in the room.

    Sally Fields and Justin Theroux round out the ensemble. Sally Fields is a delight every time, but Justin Theroux hams it up to an extent that feels a little jarring, even though this is supposed to be a comedy. It should be noted that Justin's introductory (masturbatory?) scene is one of the highlights of the entire show, but he quickly moves from that to just a sort of cheesy ham performance, which, after performances like in The Leftovers, feels strangely inconsistent. He probably needed to workshop his character and hammer out a few kinks, which would have made this a well-rounded character study of three flawed and disturbed humans.

    A revelation to me was Sonoya Mizuno who is also a standout in terms of screen presence and physical acting. I wish her a good future in TV/movies, would like to see more of her.

    Another standout performance is by Billy Magnussen, who has been popping up in supporting roles in many shows and movies, but this is the role where he truly shines and creates a veritable place for himself among actors who can give a compelling performance. He has a dual role in the show, and he plays both roles (a sort of yin-yang thing) with talent usually not seen from people other than veteran thespians.

    The production value of this show surprised me: there were details woven into every set and costume, both of which were movie-quality. But where the show comes truly alive are with the scenes in which a certain genre takes hold of the episode. Many genres are explored, from an 80s couple heist movie to a Departed-style gangster movie to a nod to Tolkien's fantasy. (The seance episode should receive awards considerations.) Each of these are handled perfectly and you, with the characters, are transported into these worlds. These are not gimmicks either, each of them is used as a vessel for the study of these characters and their connections despite of themselves.

    One of my favorite movies is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind. I love movies where science fiction provides the setting to explore the human condition. It is funny, as both Jim Carrey and Michael Gondry, who directed Eternal Sunshine, have teamed up to work on a new show airing now. But I think Fukunaga and Patrick Sommerville have achieved an endlessly entertaining character study similar to Eternal Sunshine, showing us that there is still hope for new and creative shows to come out in this cynical age of recycled ideas.

    Weirdness was handled perfectly in this show, which is good because I was an evangelical supporter of Legion, whose Season 2 has since left a bad taste in my mouth. Maniac is like a breath of fresh air for weirdness enthusiasts. Hope is not yet lost. Thanks, Netflix. This one was definitely worth it.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 22, 2018
    8
    Finally something different. It succeeds more often than not and doesn't take itself too seriously. I would describe the tone/style of theFinally something different. It succeeds more often than not and doesn't take itself too seriously. I would describe the tone/style of the series as Charlie Kaufman meets Wes Anderson Full Review »