Ben forms a cautious alliance with an isolated college student from Flight 828, whose callings either uncovered a violent crime or helped him commit one. As Saanvi strives to further her research into the Death Date, Grace makes a startling discovery about her pregnancy, and Olive meets a kindred spirit. Guest starring Garrett Wareing and Ellen Tamaki.
Episode title: “Grounded”
Release date: January 13, 2020 at 10pm
Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J. R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise
Manifest is an American supernatural drama television series, created by Jeff Rake, that premiered on September 24, 2018, on NBC. The series centers on the passengers and crew of a commercial airliner who suddenly reappear after being presumed dead for more than five years. It stars Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J. R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, and Parveen Kaur. In October 2018, NBC ordered an additional three episodes of the series, bringing the first season total up to 16 episodes. In April 2019, NBC renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on January 6, 2020.
Montego Air Flight 828 from Jamaica to New York City experiences a brief period of severe turbulence. When they land, the passengers and crew learn that over five and a half years have passed while they were in the air, during which time they were presumed dead. As they reintegrate themselves into present-day society, the passengers begin to face the fact that their lives—and loved ones—are not the same as they were before, while they also begin to experience guiding voices and visions representing events yet to occur.
The series was met with a mixed response from critics upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 57% with an average rating of 6.24/10, based on 37 reviews. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Manifest’s attempts to balance supernatural mystery and melodrama largely work thanks to its well-chosen cast — though it could use a few more distinguishing characteristics.” Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 55 out of 100 based on 15 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews.”
In a more positive assessment, USA Today’s Kelly Lawler explained how she felt that the series’ simplicity and variety of drama subgenres might help it outlast similarly themed but ultimately unsuccessful past shows. She further praised the series for maintaining the standard of quality it set with its premiere episode saying, “Heavily serialized shows, such as Lost, Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones often start with a great concept and first episode. But many lesser shows collapse when the story expands. Manifest navigated through its first major roadblock by easily moving from the setup to meatier stories.” In another favorable evaluation, Variety’s Daniel D’Addario commented that the pilot didn’t “pretend to have answers; it only poses questions. But its inquisitiveness and willingness to be bold and fairly uncynical given all the things it’s trying to be is more than welcome.” In a mixed critique, Los Angeles Times’s Lorraine Ali remarked that the series had a compelling premise and that the many mysteries it introduced “point toward a potentially addictive series if Manifest allows its gripping supernatural narrative to rise above its characters’ less interesting personal dramas.” In a negative review, The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever compared the series negatively to other network science fiction series saying, “Manifest, alas, beelines thoughtlessly toward its hokiest idea, when some of the returning passengers discover they’ve acquired psychic powers. Just like that, a viewer who might have been interested in the human element is instead served a cold plate of mystery meat — not the new Lost, but a feeble throwback to forgettable failures such as The Event.” In a similarly dismissive appraisal, The New York Times’ Margaret Lyons commented that “Manifest has a frustrating lack of propulsion, a central dullness whose force field is so strong it bends all the interesting parts toward itself.
On August 23, 2017, NBC gave the production a put pilot commitment. The pilot was written by Jeff Rake, who was also set to serve as executive producer alongside Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke. Jackie Levine was expected to serve as a co-executive producer. Production companies involved with the pilot were slated to consist of Compari Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. In January 2018, NBC gave the production a pilot order and that David Frankel would direct and executive produce the pilot. In May 2018, NBC gave the production a series order of thirteen episodes with a premiere in third quarter of 2018 and a Monday timeslot at 10 p.m. On June 19, 2018, the series premiere was set for September 24, 2018. On October 18, 2018, NBC ordered an additional three episodes of the series, bringing the total up to sixteen episodes.
On April 15, 2019, NBC renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on January 6, 2020.
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