Enjoy Netflix’s ‘Maniac’ While It Lasts, Because The Cast & Crew Are Extremely Busy

Michele K. Short/Netflix

TV used to be so simple, didn't it? In this age of Peak TV, with its ever-expanding platforms and formats, it can be hard to tell what any given show is. Will Netflix's Maniac return for Season 2, or is it simply a one-off event? These days, it can be hard to tell from a glance whether a show is an ongoing series, a limited series, a limited series that became an ongoing series when it was unexpectedly renewed (Big Little Lies), or an ongoing series that became a limited series when it was unexpectedly cancelled (Seven Seconds).

So, should viewers expect the trippy saga of Annie Landsberg and Owen Milgrim to continue beyond the 10 half-hour episodes about to drop on the streaming service on Sept. 21? Or will this one season tell the entirety of their journey — beginning, middle and end?

That's an excellent question, and likely would have had a different answer depending on when you asked. When the project was first announced by Deadline way back in March 2016, there was every indication that Maniac would be an ongoing program, with reports simply describing the show as a "series," with no "limited" or "mini" qualification attached. But by the time Netflix announced a premiere date at the Television Critics Association press tour this past summer, Maniac was being described by outlets like The Wrap as a "limited series."

Now, when subscribers go to the show's official site, Netflix itself is clearly advertising Maniac as a "limited series." Even if that news comes as a slight disappointment for those hoping for as much Emma Stone on their TV as possible, it does make sense: the Norwegian series on which Maniac is based also only ran for one 10-episode season back in 2015.

It also makes sense, given how jam-packed showrunner Cary Fukunaga's schedule is about to get. Fukunaga has a previous relationship with Netflix, having directed their acclaimed film Beasts Of No Nation starring Idris Elba; but most viewers will probably be familiar with him from his work on Season 1 of HBO's True Detective. Based on his resumé so far, Fukunaga seems to prefer one-off stories over ongoing projects, having left True Detective after one season and dropping out of the recent It remake and its sequel. (He also directed the films Sin Nombre and Jane Eyre.)

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On Sept. 20, one day before Maniac's premiere, it was announced that Fukunaga has been tapped to direct Bond 25, replacing Oscar winner Danny Boyle, who dropped out of the Spectre sequel in August. Making the jump from TV and Netflix original movies to a major tentpole franchise like James Bond is a huge leap for Fukunaga, and one that will likely keep him tied up for the foreseeable future. (The untitled film is schedule for release in February of 2020.)

And he's not the only one with a busy schedule, either. Stone and her co-star Jonah Hill — both two-time Oscar nominees — aren't exactly scrounging for work these days. Stone is currently readying for a major Oscar push for her upcoming film, Yorgos Lanthimos' period farce The Favourite, while Hill is busy promoting his directorial debut, the indie skater drama Mid90s.

Michele K. Short/Netflix

While a limited series may occasionally find itself extended into an ongoing drama — like Downton Abbey or the aforementioned Big Little Lies — coordinating the schedules of talent as sought-after as Stone, Hill, and Fukunaga seems nearly impossible to pull off even once. The chances of lightning striking a second time is probably slim to none.

Then again, maybe Maniac could evolve into that other popular Peak TV format: the anthology series. If Season 1 is successful, maybe a hypothetical Season 2 could revolve around two brand new characters who are subjected to Dr. Mantleray's mind-bending pharmaceutical trials. Television has never been more unpredictable than it is these days, so don't be surprised to see Maniac return in some form — or to go down in history as a truly bonkers one-season wonder.