7/10 2018’s “Maniac” series on Netflix was my 3rd most anticipated new TV show of the year but once I realized it was loosely based off of this 2015 Norwegian TV show, I had to watch it first for comparison sake. This 10 episode limited series has episodes that are roughly only 22 minutes long so the entire series comes in at about three and a half hours, making it easy to binge watch. Each episode jumps back and forth between reality and what is going on in our protagonist’s head, whom is a mental patient at a hospital. Every episode has a different theme for his imaginary adventures ranging from a zombie apocalypse to a western to a “Seinfeld” spoof. These were all fun, clever and mixed things up. The only strange exception was that the 5th episode combined a few of the previous episodes which was inconsistent and not as effective. The cast has a lot of fun acting in the imaginary scenarios and it really is entertaining to jump back and forth between them and reality to see what is actually going on and what the lead protagonist THINKS is going on. The series seems rather low budget but is able to pull everything off with its limited resources. The lead female caregiver brings a lot of heart to the show, even if the show’s villain, her boss, is rather two dimensional and thinly written. There could have also been a little bit more background information as to why our protagonist became the way he is while in the mental hospital. The show has some funny moments as well as some emotional ones, with a nice blend between the two. The ending of the show was a rather mixed bag for me. On one hand, since this is not an American show for mainstream audiences, the ending is not the happily ever after, cookie cutter ending that it most likely would have been if made in America for the mainstream public. On the other hand, I was left a little dissatisfied by the ending and it really leaves room for another season. However, since there won’t be another season, a more conclusive ending might have benefited the show. Overall what makes this show worth watching is the original, silly premise and the fact that you can get through it very quickly. It is always interesting seeing another country’s take on humor and emotion as well. It will be interesting to watch the American remake to compare but if you want something fun and off the wall, give “Maniac” a shot.
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