Tag Archives: TV

Maniac (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2018)

Netflix miniseries Maniac, from Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) and Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), is an enticing prospect even before taking the stacked cast into account. Led by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, it also has Sally Field, Justin Theroux and Sonoya Mizuno (Ex Machina) supporting, with the likes of Gabriel Byrne and Hank Azaria regularly popping up…

Full review for SciFiNow

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‘Maniac’ creator Patrick Somerville on making you question reality and normalcy

Based on a Norwegian show of the same name, Netflix’s limited series Maniac reunites Superbad stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, alongside a formidable ensemble cast that features Justin Theroux, Sally Field, Sonoya Mizuno, Billy Magnussen, Julia Garner, Jemima Kirke and Gabriel Byrne in recurring roles. Directed in full by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), the dystopia-tinged dark comedy sees two strangers drawn to the late stages of a mysterious pharmaceutical trial, for mind-repairing pills sold as being able to solve all of a test subject’s problems permanently. What they experience is hallucinations of different worlds and realities.

Ahead of Maniac’s arrival on Netflix, we spoke to writer, executive producer, and the man with the ‘Created by’ credit on the show, Patrick Somerville. Also an author, his previous writing and producing work in television includes fellow Scandinavian series adaptation The Bridge and The Leftovers, the latter also starring Justin Theroux…

Full interview for SciFiNow

Marianna Palka on ‘Bitch’, ‘GLOW’ & feminist films

The Skinny is chatting to Marianna Palka, the Scottish writer, director and actor, who’s fresh off the close of the Sundance London film festival where her latest directorial effort, Bitch, has just played. Glasgow-born though largely US-based since her teens, Palka has her “finger in both pies”, as she describes it, regarding filmmaking in her two home countries. “I’m always working on getting stuff done in Scotland and getting stuff done in America at the same time,” she says, “so it’s kind of like whatever happens first happens. But there’s many plans to do many things here that are really exciting…

Full interview for The Skinny

American Gods – Episode 8

Considering their show is so much about taking a leap of faith, it’s appropriate that Bryan Fuller and Michael Green took their own one in ending the first season of American Gods on a cliffhanger before they even knew for certain that a second season was to be greenlit (spoiler: it has been). It’s a pretty satisfying one, too, thanks to the quality of the rest of the episode. Some non-book readers may be wondering when the heck anyone is going to get to Wisconsin, but, for the most part, viewers will have their faith rewarded…

Full review for VODzilla.co

American Gods – Episode 7

One of the greatest assets of this first season of American Gods has been the breathing space it allows its various subplots, as well as its breaking away from traditional episodic structure, be it devoting an entire instalment to a flashback or lavishing a lot of attention on the various side vignettes of Neil Gaiman’s source novel. It’s an enjoyably weird show, one that prefers to luxuriate in a particular mood, before actually explaining what it’s just shown you.

Unfortunately, there can be a breaking point regarding a show’s otherwise pleasing qualities, and Episode 7, “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney”, hits it. That’s not necessarily down to the instalment being bad per se, nor its storytelling quirk (the ‘Coming to America’ prologue device becoming the focus of an entire episode) being inherently objectionable. The direction (from Adam Kane) and performances continue to be very engaging, and Pablo Schreiber and Emily Browning would be wise to submit this episode for any Emmy consideration, in light of the dual turns they get to play with (and play well)…

Full review for VODzilla.co

American Gods – Episode 6

Vulcan (Corbin Bernsen) is the first deity introduced in American Gods that doesn’t appear in Neil Gaiman’s novel, although was reportedly created by Gaiman himself, specifically for the series. Considering the skeleton of the book that needs to (mostly) be followed for the show’s main narrative, it’s not surprising that Vulcan ends up a one-episode-and-done deal in a pretty concrete fashion – sacrificed by Wednesday, in response to his betrayal of Wednesday and Shadow to the New Gods. He’s based on the Roman god of the forge, metalworking and volcanoes, and while he crafts Wednesday a sword in the old way, guns are more his forte these days and his volcanoes are now fiery lead vats with which to create them; not so much a god of open flames, as a god of open fire…

Full review for VODzilla.co

American Gods – Episode 5

Not that the previous four episodes of American Gods were lacking in flirtation with horror, but Episode 5, “Lemon Scented You”, is the show’s most showily spooky outing to date. David Slade, at the helm for the first three episodes, has numerous horror films on his resume, but Episode 5’s director, Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice and, like Slade, a Hannibal alumni), gets a lot of body horror moments to play with, from reanimated Laura’s interactions with Shadow, Mad Sweeney and one unlucky morgue employee, to the squirm-inducing contortions that various police officers find themselves in after an encounter with the New Gods. Oh, and a sentient tree grows up through a corpse and tries to kill Shadow – Groot, why have you forsaken us?

Full review for VODzilla.co