Slight spoilers for the end of Maniac follow below.
It appears that Maniac will be sticking true to its “limited series” name. The “limited series” term has become rather loose lately, as shows like Big Little Lies and The Alienist have wrapped up their one-season storylines, only for their respective networks to order a second season, thus retroactively turning them into ongoing series. So whenever a limited series comes along, it arrives with the caveat that anything could happen—for better or worse.
Netflix’s Maniac, however, appears to be a genuine one-and-done. The limited series was hatched by filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga who tapped writer Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) to serve as showrunner. Together, the two crafted a 10-episode headspinning sci-fi story about mental illness, anchored by a pair of terrific performances by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. The series comes to a definitive end by the 10th episode, but again in the wake of shows like Big Little Lies, the question remains whether Maniac Season 2 might ever possibly happen.
According to Somerville, you shouldn’t hold your breath. Speaking to THR, he says there have been no conversations about Maniac Season 2 and that the show was always planned as one season:
“No. This was always planned as a limited series, and I think that’s another reason why we had the freedom to have a more hopeful ending. A lot of times on TV, you have to throw your characters into distress again near the end to buy the next season, and we don’t have to do that. It is a tremendous amount of energy and imagination to just to make a new show, and so you do have this feeling of wanting to hold on and keep using it, because there’s so much imagination in there, but I think part of why Maniac had that improvisational feeling along the way was knowing that this is it. Let’s do it now, because this is what Maniac is.”
For his part, Fukunaga—who was just hired to direct the next James Bond movie—tells Business Insider he’d be happy to see a second season of Maniac, but he won’t be involved:
“For me, I like to do one and move onto something else. I’d be very happy if another season were to happen, but I think they were just thinking about this as a limited season and if there’s an appetite for another one then I think [show creator] Patrick [Somerville] would be happy to take it up and do it again. But not with me.”
Indeed, Fukunaga took the same approach to True Detective, when he was under the impression that each season would feature a new writer/director team. Famously, showrunner Nic Pizzolatto continued through Season 2 of that HBO series with greater creative control while Fukunaga moved on.
As for Maniac, I think it hits the perfect ending note and continuing on any further—at least with these characters—would potentially undo the satisfaction of that 10-episode story arc. Now, I would absolutely watch a new season that takes place on a different floor of that mysterious building, following different characters and a different kind of trial. But the story of Owen and Annie comes to a perfect end, so no need for a direct Maniac Season 2 from my standpoint.
What do you think folks? Do you want to see Maniac continue or do you think it works best as a limited series? Sound off in the comments below.