More than 10 years in the works and after several weeks of hype, NBC’s new suspense-filled drama, “Manifest,” debuted Sept. 24 to an audience of 10.3 million viewers.
Producer Jeff Rake originally thought up the idea for the show, in which a passenger plane suddenly reappears after five years, although for the nearly 200 passengers it’s only been a few hours, while on vacation 10 years ago. While Rake’s original pitch was shot down, he presented it to networks again after the real-life disappearance of Malaysian Air Flight 370 in 2014.
“My crazy pie-in-the-sky idea didn’t feel as crazy and impossible after,” Rake said in an interview at the TCA Press Tour 2018.
The series revolves around siblings Ben (Josh Dallas from ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”) and Michaela Stone (Melissa Roxburgh), as well as Ben’s son, Cal. Cal, who has cancer and less than six months to live when he boards the flight, lands in the same condition, to the amazement of doctors.
While life has passed many of the passengers by, the missing time may actually have saved Cal’s life because of new treatments now available, thanks to another passenger on the plane.
Michaela, a police officer, begins hearing voices shortly after the plane returns. While she initially thinks she is the only one, she learns her brother hears the same voices.
Just when the passengers of Montego Air 828 think they will be able to try and adapt back into their lives, they soon realize that settling in won’t be nearly as easy as they imagined. The voices begin to pester the Stone siblings and lead them to stop terrible occurrences from happening, as well as discover strange revelations. Soon after, Ben and Michaela learn that they are not the only ones experiencing unusual phenomenon, when not only them but everyone else is mysteriously subconsciously lured back to where it all began, the plane.
In this series, Dallas and Roxburgh do a good job with their characters. While watching the show you can feel the emotional rollercoaster the characters take you on, as they try to reconnect with their loved ones and figure out what exactly happened on the plane.
This series will definitely capture your attention — not just because of its peculiar plot, but also due to the mixed genres it depicts.
“I think what I’ve learned just from being a fan of serialized event mysteries, but also more broadly just being a fan of television drama, is that shows that sustain have great and compelling characters at their core,” Rake said as he sat down to talk about the show with SyFy Wire.