It’s been just over a decade since Emma Stone made her breakout in 2007’s Superbad, starring, in case you forgot, Jonah Hill as a high schooler with plans to lose his virginity at a house party. Of course, plenty has happened for each since then: Stone has won an Oscar for Best Actress, while Hill has been nominated for two Oscars of his own and become something of a surprise menswear icon. And now they’re getting back together for a new Netflix series, Maniac.
Directed by Cary Fukunaga of The Alienist and True Detective, Maniac, whose September 21 premiere date was finally announced, is not your typical show. The release of its first trailer over the weekend features Stone and Hill silently staring at each other from across a table, with the only action being a brief attempt at a smile from Stone; a few flashes of red, blue, purple, yellow, and green light; and a short, vague voiceover. (“Once you begin to appreciate the structure of the mind, there is no reason to believe that anything about us can’t be changed. The mind can be solved.”)
That voice appears to belong to Justin Theroux, who’ll be playing Dr. James K. Mantleray, who runs a medical trial that brought Annie Landsberg (Stone, who appears apparently makeup-free with a head of middle-parted long blonde hair) and a potentially schizophrenic Owen Milgrim (Hill, who like Stone, is outfitted in a simple light gray jumpsuit) together. The two strangers are both participants in Mantleray’s three-day drug trial to test out his new and quite usual pharmaceutical treatment, which consists of taking pills that he claims can cure anything from heartbreak to mental illness. (Naturally, things don’t go down so smoothly from there.)
An eight-episode limited series draws on a 2014 Norwegian series of the same name. The dark comedy seen in the preview released over the weekend appears to have come along with three other quite different teasers, which Slate posted in very Maniac-like mysterious fashion on Sunday night. Only one of them, the story claims, is the real trailer, which would of course be the one widely circulated by Netflix. But who knows? With such little info out there about the series, it can’t hurt to look at some potentially related clips, all of which feature some excerpts from the 1983 film Flashdance!. They may (or, much more likely, may not) hint at what’s in store, but they’ll definitely keep you wondering about the series once Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” gets stuck in your head.