The Netflix limited series Maniac is one of the most enjoyable pieces of original content the streaming service has released thus far, but it’s also kind of insane. The premise for the show is hard to boil down to a simple logline, but it’s basically the story of a pair of individuals struggling with mental illness who agree to take part in a shady pharmaceutical study for a treatment that aims to replace traditional therapy. But over the course of this treatment, the individuals dive deep inside their minds and play out fantastical scenarios in which they work out their own issues.
The show is loosely based on a Norwegian series of the same name, but its origins come from filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga and actors Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, who all agreed to make the series before it even had a writer. They subsequently enlisted The Leftovers alum Patrick Somerville to serve as showrunner, and in the video below, the quartet (plus co-stars Justin Theroux and Sally Field) attempts to explain what Maniac is while also candidly discussing how the project came together and what it was like to create it.
I’ve seen all 10 episodes of the series and loved it. Fukunaga brings a cinematic spark to the whole proceeding—the cinematography and production design are phenomenal—while Somerville’s scripts are equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. They assembled a truly incredible ensemble, which also includes Sonoya Mizuno and Billy Magnussen, and Stone in particular does some fantastic work in front of the camera.
If you need more convincing, check out this neat little video below. For more on Maniac click here for Allison’s review and click here for our breakdown of the show’s ending. Maniac is available to stream on Netflix right now.