Manifest S01 Movie Review
Manifest S01 Movie Review Metadata
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Billed by many as “Lost in reverse”, NBC’s newest drama Manifest offers one of the most encouraging and creative pilots of the otherwise ho-hum 2018-2019 season.
The series opens with the Stone family alongside hundreds of passengers waiting for a flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica, to New York. Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), a police officer and self-described screw-up, is frustrated by her parents meddling in her personal life, including encouraging her to marry boyfriend, Jared. Traveling with them are Michaela’s brother, Ben, and his wife Grace, and twins, Olive and Cal. When the flight is announced as being oversold, Michaela jumps at the chance to escape her parents while Ben sees it as an opportunity to use the money earned towards Cal’s Leukemia treatments. Little do they know that the decision to get bumped to the next flight forever changes the lives of the Stone family and all of those aboard Montego Air flight 828. As Michaela states, “It’s funny how one little decision can ruin your life but also save it.”
What starts as a routine flight on April 7, 2013 soon turns into a nightmare due to a short bout of extreme turbulence caused by inclement weather. All aboard escape harm, but when they land, it’s now 2018. While their friends and family have moved on due to the flight never being found and all aboard being presumed dead, to those on the flight, it’s only been a few hours and they are returning to life as they know it. The first episode teases the drama that will eventually ensue as a result of this great disconnect.
The mystery that will be what makes or breaks the series begins shortly after they land, with Michaela and then Ben hearing their own voices in their heads. Each time they hear something, it warns them of danger to others so that seemingly they can help. With its spiritual references and focus on second chances, it is Michaela’s mother’s favorite saying that “all things work together” that seemingly forms some type of key to what is happening to Michaela, Ben, and the other “survivors”.
With an intriguing cliffhanger that will likely grab the attention of viewers and leave them anticipating what happens next, where the series goes from here now depends on the writers. If done well, it can continue on for years and grow a cult following like Lost. Conversely, it can follow last season’s promising pilot The Crossing that no longer is on the air. It’s still unclear how the government inquiry into this mystery will play out, but one hopes that Manifest learns from other shows, doesn’t get bogged down on or rely on government conspiracies and instead focuses on having viewers continually guessing the answer to this puzzle. Only time will tell…
Manifest airs on NBC on Monday’s at 10pm ET.