OK, so here’s something that could be cool or weird or both: a ten episode mini-series on Netflix, featuring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone and directed by Cary Fukunaga. The last time I saw Fukanaga direct the entirety of a mini-series, it turned out pretty awesome.
So, let’s spend a few weeks on Maniac and see if it works. Most of the episodes are kinda short anyway.
So, after a long, somewhat rambling and somewhat poetic monologue about why humans may or may not have destinies and soul mates, we follows Annie Landsberg (Stone) around for a bit as she does some light cons to get by in a futuristic version of New York City that includes your standard omnipresent advertising. But we don’t see much of her for now.
Instead, the bulk of the episode is to talk up Owen Milgrim (Hill), a quiet sad sack of a human being. He’s from a rich family but wants to make it his own way so he tries to support himself. That means providing an alibi for his jerk brother Jed in a sexual misconduct case even though he knows he’ll be lying under oath. Owen’s father Porter (Gabriel Byrne) actually thinks that helping Jed escape legal consequences is the most important thing Owen can do, and Owen has other problems that include pining for Jed’s fiancee. But then Owen is fired, his own lifestyle is pretty crappy as is, and he may be a schizophrenic. He does seem to see and hear things, including a man who looks like Jed telling him he has to meet a certain woman for further instructions in order to save the world.
Considering how quiet and resigned Owen is about everything, he needs that probably imaginary friend to make his life at all interesting, though he doesn’t seem to be taking his medicine.
Well, maybe a drug trial will help. Owen volunteers for a three day trial at some company called Neberdine Pharmaceutical and Biotech, or NPB, that will somehow solve all his problems. That seems a bit unlikely, but that’s where we are in this weird future.
Oh, and Annie is also in the trial, and since Owen has been seeing Annie’s face in various advertisements, he assumes she’s there for his further instructions. She’s hostile at first, but then she tells him he needs to go back to his pod to wait for the rest of the instructions, which is probably just her playing along to make the creepy guy go away.
We’ll just have to wait and see. I think episode two fills in Annie’s backstory.