I’m always on the lookout for a good sci-fi show and the more twisted and confusing, the better. So, when I came across the photos and teasers for Netflix’s Maniac, I was beyond intrigued. The little glimpses they showed were enough to catch my attention but didn’t give too much away. And, watching the series, I didn’t know what to expect.
It focuses on two characters, Owen, played by Jonah Hill, and Annie, played by Emma Stone. They’re both dealing with mental health problems and decide to sign up to be part of a testing unit for a company’s new drug. The experiment consisted of a three-step process involving three different pills, each tapping into the brain of the patients. Throughout the show, you will see patients in the lab and scenes of what the drugs are making them see in their head.
As complicated, trippy, and mind-blowing as the show was, it got emotional too. The drugs they were taking were made so that people wouldn’t have to seek help anymore, like a quick fix to big problems. The experiment was supposed to help the patients dig deep to find their worst day ever and then confront the issue.
However, after taking each pill, they would be interviewed by a doctor. They would talk about their experience with the drug and how they felt. Ironic but it was almost like a therapy session. It showed that as much as you don’t want to, talking about your problems does more good than bad. Seeking for help is a good thing and you shouldn’t be ashamed about it.
Another element they brought up was companionship. Some of us feel like we do better when we’re alone with no attachments. You can’t hurt anyone or get hurt and you can’t disappoint anyone either. Owen felt that way until he met Annie. He felt connected to her and wanted to protect her—not in a romantic way. In each episode, you’ll see how they intercept each other’s visions. This shows that even if you choose to be alone most of the time, it is good to have at least one key person you can turn to like a best friend.
Overall, Maniac was a great sci-fi show but more than that, I think it showed the importance of dealing with mental health. It isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Going through the process of accepting your problems and seeking help isn’t going to be easy but it’s worth it.
Art by Marian Hukom
Photos courtesy of Netflix
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