What would you do if you returned from a trip only to find that everyone had thought you were dead for the past five and a half years? You come back to no job, a family who has moved on, no apartment. How do you take back your life? That is the question that NBC’s MANIFEST shows up to take on.
MANIFEST follows the story of the passengers of Flight 828 as they take off from Jamaica in 2013, and land five and a half years later. While no time has passed for the passengers, the rest of the world has presumed them dead and moved on without them. Not only that, but passengers start experiencing supernatural prompts to do or prevent things from happening, often with little to no explanation.
While it’s very tempting to push for that supernatural element from the get-go, what makes MANIFEST so compelling is its focus on the human element. It sets up the Stone family, Ben and Grace (played by Josh Dallas and Athena Karkanis), Ben’s sister Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), and their twins, Cal and Olive (Jack Messina and Luna Blaise). When their original flight is overbooked in Jamaica, Ben, Cal, and Michaela stay behind to take the fated Flight 828 while Grace and Olive go ahead of them. What do you do when your husband, that you thought was gone, turns up after five and a half years? What happens when one twin is suddenly five and a half years older than the other? Will a fiancé wait five and a half years for an answer?
Without giving too much away, the supernatural element touches on all the favorites in a good sci-fi genre, hearing voices, government conspiracies, and unexpected twists that keep the viewer guessing.
A month after its premiere, NBC extended MANIFEST from a 13 to a 16-episode run. In April, it was renewed for a second season.
NBC’s MANIFEST was the series that came out of nowhere to be my favorite new show of last season, and I walked by their installation at Comic-Con 2018 with no idea that I would kick myself later for skipping it. MANIFEST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is now available to own on DVD and Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.