Manifest (TV series)
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, Parveen Kaur, and Matt Long. 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. In June 2020, the series was renewed for a third season.
PremiseMontego Air Flight 828 from Jamaica to New York City experiences a brief period of severe turbulence. When they land, the passengers and crew learn from NSA director Robert Vance 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.
Cast and characters
- Melissa Roxburgh as Michaela Stone, a detective who works at the NYPD's 129th Precinct, and Ben's sister. She was a passenger on Flight 828. Ariana Jalia portrays a younger Michaela.
- Josh Dallas as Ben Stone, an associate professor, and Michaela's brother. He was a passenger on Flight 828.
- Athena Karkanis as Grace Stone, Ben's wife and Michaela's sister-in-law, who runs a catering business.
- J.R. Ramirez as Jared Vasquez, a detective at the NYPD's 129th Precinct and Michaela's ex-fiancé; he married Michaela's best friend, but got divorced after her return.
- Luna Blaise as Olive Stone, Ben and Grace's daughter, Michaela's niece, Cal's twin sister, Eden’s older sister. Jenna Kurmemaj portrays a young Olive.
- Jack Messina as Cal Stone, Ben and Grace's son, Michaela's nephew, Eden's older brother, and Olive's twin brother, now five and a half years younger than she is. Cal was a passenger on Flight 828.
- Parveen Kaur as Saanvi Bahl, a graduate student and medical researcher at Mercy Hospital and passenger on Flight 828.
- Matt Long as Zeke Landon, a hiker who got trapped in a cave during a blizzard a year ago, and returned to life in a situation similar to what happened to Flight 828. Colin Critchley portrays a younger Zeke.
- Daryl Edwards as Robert Vance, the director of the NSA who leads the investigation of the re-emergence of Montego Air Flight 828. Despite apparently being killed in season 1 during the raid on a Singularity Project's base, he is revealed to still be alive in season 2. Only a few people are aware of this, including Saanvi.
- Alfredo Narciso as Captain Riojas, the police captain of the NYPD's 129th Precinct, where Michaela and Jared work.
- Mugga as Bethany Collins, a flight attendant on Flight 828 and Georgia's wife.
- Tim Moriarty as Tim Powell, the deputy director of the NSA.
- Frank Deal as Bill Daly, the pilot of Flight 828.
- Malachy Cleary as Steve Stone, Michaela and Ben's father and Cal, Olive and Eden’s grandfather.
- Geraldine Leer as Karen Stone, Michaela and Ben's mother and Cal, Olive and Eden’s grandmother. She died while Flight 828 was missing. Her favorite bible verse is, "All things work together for good." The verse is often repeated by the Stones when they discuss the callings.
- Victoria Cartagena as Lourdes, Michaela's former best friend who married Jared after Michaela's disappearance.
- Daniel Sunjata as Danny, Grace's boyfriend whom she met after Ben's disappearance.
- Olli Haaskivi as Isaiah, a passionate but fragile member of the Church of the Returned. He starts a fire at a nightclub to show others that the Flight 828 passengers are miracles. He dies in the act.
- Nikolai Tsankov as Marko Valeriev, a Bulgarian passenger of Flight 828 who is among the foreign nationals in the custody of Unified Dynamic Systems and the Singularity project.
- Francesca Faridany as Fiona Clarke, a scientist on Flight 828 who is involved with Unified Dynamic Systems and the Singularity project.
- Shirley Rumierk as Autumn Cox, a Flight 828 passenger who has outstanding arrest warrants. She was used by Laurence's superiors to find out what Ben knows about the Singularity project.
- Elizabeth Marvel as The Major, a woman leading a government entity that is looking to weaponize the "callings" that the 828 passengers frequently experience. In "False Horizon," she is identified as US Army Major General Kathryn Fitz, a specialist in psychological warfare with thirty years experience in covert operations. She is later accidentally poisoned by Saanvi. Before dying, Kathryn stated that she planned to infect people with the same blood that is in the Flight 828 passengers, in hopes of replicating the mutation.
- Brandon Schraml as Director Jansen, a representative of The Major. He is tasked with oversight of Autumn Cox.
- Jared Grimes as Adrian, a passenger on Flight 828. He is an entrepreneur who forms of the Church of the Returned.
- Andrene Ward-Hammond as Captain Kate Bowers, the police captain of the NYPD's 129th Precinct who succeeds Riojas.
- Yasha Jackson as Suzanne Martin, the dean of a college and an old friend of Ben.
- Garrett Wareing as TJ Morrison, a college student and Flight 828 passenger.
- Ellen Tamaki as Drea Mikami, Michaela's new partner at the NYPD.
- Leah Gibson as Tamara, a bartender who works at a tavern that is frequented by the Xers.
- Carl Lundstedt as Billy, Tamara's brother and an Xer.
- Maury Ginsberg as Simon White, an elite faculty member of the college that hires Ben, revealed to be secretly leading the Xers.
Season 1 (2018–19)
Season 2 (2020)
DevelopmentOn 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. On June 15, 2020, NBC renewed the series for third season.
CastingIn February 2018, Josh Dallas, Melissa Roxburgh, and J.R. Ramirez joined the pilot's main cast. Athena Karkanis, Parveen Kaur, and Luna Blaise were cast in main roles the following month. In August 2019, Yasha Jackson, Garrett Wareing, Andrene Ward-Hammond, and Ellen Tamaki were cast in recurring role for the second season. In October 2019, Leah Gibson and Carl Lundstedt had been cast in recurring capacities.
MarketingOn May 13, 2018, NBC released the first official trailer for the series. On July 21, 2018, the series held a panel at San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego, California. Those in attendance included executive producer Jeff Rake and actors Melissa Roxburgh and Josh Dallas. On August 28, 2018, the first nine minutes of the first episode were released among various digital outlets.
PremiereThe series took part in the 12th Annual PaleyFest Fall Television Previews on September 10, 2018, which featured a preview screening of the series.
Critical responseThe 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, "Manifests 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 Todays 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, Varietys 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 Timess 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 Posts 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."