• Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 21, 2018
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Sep 20, 2018
    100
    Netflix’s Maniac is a fascinating, brilliant show, and one of my favorites of 2018. We should expect no less from the creative voices behind “The Leftovers” and “True Detective,” but this show still found a way to surprise me episode after episode. ... Maniac plays with genre and dramatic expectations to gain insight into the human condition in ways that other programs can’t touch.
  2. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    Sep 19, 2018
    100
    It is wild, audacious, addictive, and teeters so precariously between reality and fantasy that the audience will immediately question what’s real and what isn’t. The bold ten-episode series, one of the fall season’s best, repeatedly bounces in and out of its characters’ brains and hop-skips from genre to genre, yet somehow avoids spiraling out of control even when what transpires detours further into WTF-ville.
  3. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Sep 13, 2018
    100
    Maniac is a crescendo across genres that doesn’t stop building. ... Its power comes, in part, from its refusal to sprawl. As a trial of something new, Maniac passes every test, and ascends instantly to take its place among the very best TV of the year. Its eagerness to expose unexpected angles is its great gift.
  4. Reviewed by: Tim Surette
    Sep 20, 2018
    95
    Don't let the weird tag scare you off; Maniac is the boldest, most unique, flippin' strange masterpiece of 2018.
  5. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 20, 2018
    91
    Maniac, for its part, throws down a tale that swerves to the left and swerves to the right without ever losing velocity. But seeing is believing while not believing what you’re seeing is also part of the experience.
  6. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    Sep 20, 2018
    88
    Stone and Hill are skilled, magnetic actors who ground the series even at its most absurd. ... In Maniac, form follows function, and as its heroes reckon with the confusing beauty of their own minds, the viewer reckons with the strange allure of this oddball TV show.
  7. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Sep 19, 2018
    88
    Mostly--and occasionally despite itself--Maniac is just fun, at points raucously funny. ... Dive in, don't think, enjoy. You most likely will, by the way.
  8. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Sep 20, 2018
    83
    Maniac’s backstories are fascinating, with Owen’s family coming off especially twisted. ... With so many film stars turning to TV to star in TV shows, they can start to feel like vanity projects. That’s not the case with Maniac.
  9. Reviewed by: Erik Adams
    Sep 19, 2018
    83
    Maniac is one of the year’s most refreshing series and a series that always seems 10 seconds away from declaring, “The most complicated computer of all is the human mind.” It’s hypnotizing eye candy that won’t completely nourish the brain or the soul, but it will satiate them for a little bit.
  10. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    Sep 13, 2018
    83
    The many tonal shifts aren’t always well-finessed, but the star-studded, wildly ambitious miniseries serves up enough brilliant flourishes to leave a mark.
  11. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Sep 21, 2018
    80
    This 10-episode limited series is fascinatingly trippy, just this side of the even trippier “Legion.” ... The acting is, as expected, potent, with Gabriel Byrne and Sally Field also onboard, and the visuals are transporting.
  12. Reviewed by: Kevin Fallon
    Sep 20, 2018
    80
    Few shows are laid out this intricately or methodically, and the callbacks as the series progresses are gratifying and worth the effort of paying attention. This goes for Fukunaga’s winking, sumptuous direction; Stone and Hill’s challenging, ultimately miraculous performances; and Somerville’s tangled scripts. The process of uncoiling the knots might piss you off, but achieving it in the end feels like an accomplishment. Even if the achievement ends up being not as profound as you thought it might be.
  13. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Sep 20, 2018
    80
    Maniac is inventive and well-paced enough (the episodes clock in at a welcome 40 minutes or less) to breeze past its missteps. ... In an age of desiccated puzzle-stories, Maniac puts emotion first, even at the risk of sentimentality. It’s a heart-shaped Rubik’s Cube, a funny, consistently surprising fable of broken machines trying to reassemble themselves.
  14. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 19, 2018
    80
    The audacity and eccentricity of the thing comes as a welcome jolt to a Peak TV universe where too many shows are capable but familiar, coherent but dull. Is it real? Hell if I know. Is it entertaining? Absolutely.
  15. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Sep 19, 2018
    80
    Your results may vary depending on how important it is to you to have mental illness, grief, unhappiness and other important Big Ideas fully explored via characters you come to love. This theory will be put to the test in the middle stretches of the 10-episode run of Maniac, where Fukunaga truly gets unleashed. It's there where aesthetics tend to win over sustained attention to the core issues of the series--but there's no denying that it's hard to look away from almost any portion of what's going on.
  16. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 13, 2018
    80
    There’s a fusion here between modern melancholia and those romps where potential lovers keep encountering one another in skips through time, which sounds tedious but works somewhat splendidly, once the series gets going. ... Hill and Stone are both terrifically capable at conveying the series’s many moods, while Theroux looks especially grateful to be hamming it up after so much deeply-furrowed frowning in “The Leftovers.”
  17. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Sep 21, 2018
    70
    For better and worse, it’s like a psychedelic Hallmark card: gorgeous, clever, weird, but maybe you’ve heard the sentiment before.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Sep 21, 2018
    60
    Maniac isn’t weird enough to really achieve what it wants to, but it does say something--however accidentally--about how reality is already weird enough.
  19. Reviewed by: Allison Keene
    Sep 13, 2018
    60
    When Maniac is good, it’s funny, affecting, and fascinating; when it’s not good, it’s like having a conversation with a student in a Psych 101 class who wants to tell you about a dream they had last night and what it might mean. It leaves the series as a rambling journey that some will find charming and others frustrating.
  20. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 21, 2018
    55
    The undisciplined nature of the human mind -- which Fukunaga seeks to illustrate -- can present a frustrating maze to navigate. While the leads, especially Stone, are fine, their performances sometimes struggle against the off-kilter nature of the material.
  21. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Sep 21, 2018
    50
    A big, weird, tightly controlled mess of a show. It swings for the bleachers and doesn't always connect--and when it does, it can seem to skip some bases or run them out of order. But it does keep swinging and running. ... But Stone, an actress of alchemical gifts--she can turn lead to gold--is marvelous at every turn, in every version and inversion of her character.
  22. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Sep 13, 2018
    42
    Where The Leftovers successfully turned supporting roles into three-dimensional showcase star turns, this series reduces even the major characters to bare backstory essentials, poses of emotion. ... For all its manic poses and deflationary snark, it’s ultimately patronizingly sentimental.
  23. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Sep 20, 2018
    40
    Promising themes dissolve, episode by episode, into something more like forced quirkiness, revealing a buried conventionality, the curse of way too much cool-looking TV. ... Even an unreal world needs characters who make sense, particularly in a series that is as gooily devoted to exploring those characters’ inner lives as Maniac turns out to be. On this level, the show is half-baked and inconsistent.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 27
  2. Negative: 6 out of 27
  1. Sep 22, 2018
    9
    I could not stop watching. Every episode is exciting and there are no fillers. Especially the last episodes towards the climax I became veryI could not stop watching. Every episode is exciting and there are no fillers. Especially the last episodes towards the climax I became very emotional and experienced all kinds of feelings. The cast did a great job and acting wise there is nothing to complain about either in the dramatic or the comedic scenes. The visuals and the 80s/new tech mixture was refreshing to watch, overall I think this mini series is a very fine and carefully created piece of art! Full Review »
  2. Sep 21, 2018
    2
    Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Pretentious. Boring. Yawn.Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Pretentious. Boring. Yawn. Goodbye. Full Review »
  3. Sep 21, 2018
    3
    Wanted to love this so much because of the original. But the performances just did not hit home at all. Jonah Hill in particular was not inWanted to love this so much because of the original. But the performances just did not hit home at all. Jonah Hill in particular was not in the same realm as any of his cast, and it was difficult to watch. No chemistry with Emma (whose performance was fairly solid). If you want to beat the original version (which was phenomenal), it had better be insanely good. And it doesn't come close at all. Disappointed. Full Review »