Maniac: Season 1/ Episode 1 “The Chosen One!” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for Netflix's Maniac.
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The only reason Maniac presents to continue past episode 1 is your loyalty and faith in the actors. Not their characters or the story.


Network
Netflix
CreatorPatrick Somerville
Director(s)Cary Joji Fukunaga
Writer(s)Patrick Somerville
Air Date9/21/2018
Genre(s)Drama, Mystery
Good If You LikeShows That Make You Go WTF?
Noted Actors
OwenJonah Hill
JedBilly Magnussen
AnnieEmma Stone

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The Introduction

In an alternate world, Owen finds himself posed with a lot. He just lost his job, he is expected to testify on his brother’s behalf, as an alibi related likely to something sexual, and he is having delusions. Specifically, one of his brother Jed being some sort of spy who can appear and disappear out of thin air. All the while pointing out patterns and making Owen believe he is the chosen one of some kind.

Which, around 10 years ago, Owen had a psychotic break about but he seems to be fine now. Well, he has stopped taking his medication, so he isn’t truly 100% but he is functional. Though with his brother appearing again and him needing a job, he finds himself guided to Neberdine Pharmaceutical and Biotech to take part in a drug trial. It is there that he meets Annie who seems to be unhinged. However, her bark may be worse than her bite.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

I am vulnerable, but I am not stupid.

On The Fence

The Actors Are More Of The Selling Point Than Characters & Story

Maniac begins as the kind of show which is driven by star power than anything else. Because you enjoy Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, or the rest of the characters advertised for us to see, that is really the only reason to stick around. For watching Jonah Hill walk around in a daze, there isn’t much to invest in with that. Stone be bug-eyed and threatening people? Again, no real hook there. And whether we’re talking about Owen’s rich family, who treat him as a black sheep, or Annie who is this mystery girl, you’re just led to wonder if this can get better or just getting these two to do a TV series is all Maniac has to sell you on.

First Impression: Mixed (Stick Around)

Maniac begins like the kind of indie movies critics laud, present awards to and yet, going by box office totals, it seemed no one really wanted to see. It says a lot but gives so little that, perhaps like Forever, it depends on your faith and loyalty to the leads to stick around. Hence the mixed label for while I do like the lead actors, I don’t think there is anything that could drive those who don’t like them to continue past episode 1.

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Maniac - Episode List

Season/ EpisodeSynopsis

Season 1/ Episode 10 “Option C” [Series Finale]

Maniac concludes with not much in the way of fanfare but Annie, as usual, being the catalyst for a rather sweet moment.

Season 1/ Episode 9 “Utrangatta”

We come to the end of Phase C and it’s an emotional end for Annie. As for Owen? Well, while it lacks emotion he does get to be a hero.

Season 1/ Episode 8 “The Lake of the Clouds”

As we get to see the rise and fall of a theoretical Owen and Olivia relationship, Annie is given an ultimatum by GRTA.

Season 1/ Episode 7 "Ceci N’est Pas Une Drill"

We may FINALLY begin to really address the topic of Olivia as Annie is stuck in the fantasy world of Ellie’s dreams.

Season 1/ Episode 6 "Larger Structural Issues"

In order to prep for Pill C, the GRTA situation is addressed. Alongside Dr. James’ issues with his mother Dr. Greta.

Season 1/ Episode 5 "Exactly Like You"

We come to the end of the Pill B arc and, naturally, with it being Owen’s episode, things transition to addressing his issues – like Olivia. Until Annie upstages him.

Season 1/ Episode 4 “Furs By Sebastian”

The only way to make sense of “Furs By Sebastian” is remembering the point of Pill B is finding a subject’s defense mechanism(s).

Season 1/ Episode 3 “Having A Day”

Remember Dr. James, from the commercial with Dr. Robert? Well, he is reintroduced and, as a bonus, we learn why Owen was committed.

Season 1/ Episode 2 “Windmills”

Focusing on Annie helps Maniac rebound from a lackluster premiere. Especially as we learn how and why she got into the trial.

Season 1/ Episode 1 “The Chosen One!”

The only reason Maniac presents to continue past episode 1 is your loyalty and faith in the actors. Not their characters or the story.


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About Amari Sali 3434 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

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