©2018 Kari Carlisle
Coincidences. We have all experienced them. And usually, we dismiss them as just that – coincidence. But once in a while, a coincidence seems just too… convenient. Is there something else behind this? If so, what? Or who?
Manifest is a new NBC series on Monday nights that addresses coincidence in a most inventive plotline, the connection of a group of people who are intertwined by a common experience. They boarded an airline flight in the year 2013 and landed hours later in the year 2018. This slightest of descriptions is all it took for me to be giddy with anticipation over this new show, and after two episodes, it is delivering more than I could have hoped for.
The first episode follows Michaela and her brother and nephew as they forego an overbooked flight to take the later flight 828. When the passengers land and learn they’ve missed five and a half years of their lives, it’s clear there is a lot of catching up to do and plenty of fodder for primetime drama. But there’s more…
Main character Michaela, played by Melissa Roxburgh (Star Trek: Beyond, Supernatural, Arrow), is distraught to learn of major events she’s missed that have a huge impact on her life, love, and career. She struggles to understand how “All things work together for good,” as her mother asserted as her favorite Bible verse, Romans 8:28.
Within a day of returning from the fateful flight, Michaela starts to hear a voice, her own voice, in her head. She hears it as she passes by a particular address beginning 828. Flight 828. Romans 8:28. Address 828… coincidence? Only the first of many that I won’t spoil by reporting them here. Be assured, the coincidences begin subtly and then sneak up on you with a big WOW!, not a groan.
It turns out Michaela is not alone. Something has happened to the passengers of flight 828, and episode two has the government very concerned about what’s going on, let alone the passengers themselves who are trying to make sense of what they are experiencing and what it means and how they are going to regain some semblance of a normal life… if that’s even possible.
After just two episodes, multiple stories are unfolding, and the series promises to string us along for as long as the ratings keep this show alive. What is behind the voices, the coincidences? Is it God? Something supernatural? Aliens, technology, magic, the government, some secret agency? Undoubtedly, the evidence will take the characters – and us – in many directions from week to week.
Aside from the enjoyable and complicated story arcs, the characters are compelling and lovable. Most of the main characters are developing depth quickly, and the rest are not far behind. The acting is superb to the least of roles, including characters we don’t expect to see again. As for diversity, we’re already seeing gobs of it, and I’d be surprised if that doesn’t continue.
Manifest is my new favorite show. While the Fall lineup on multiple networks seems strong this year, Manifest is the one show that I’m excited and looking forward to watching each week. If the actors keep delivering superb performances and the writers continue to deliver strong, unique stories and dialog, we can expect to see this show stick around for a few seasons. Fingers crossed for this one!