In the US: Mondays, NBC, 10/9c
In the UK: Not yet acquired
With some shows, it’s a bit hard to work out what exactly they’re knocking off, they’re so derivative and unoriginal.
Initially, you might be tempted with Manifest to think the show is knocking off Lost, seeing as it has a plane disappearing in mysterious circumstances, forcing its passengers to come together and forge bonds. There are even mysterious numbers associated with the plane that the passengers keep seeing reoccurring around the place.
But it’s not Lost. For one thing, the plane doesn’t crash.
Perhaps it’s emulating one of the Lost knock-offs of yore then, maybe FlashForward. You see, in Manifest, the plane takes off in 2013, passes through some turbulence, then lands in 2018, its passengers not a day older. Meanwhile, the world outside has marched on five years – relatives have died, fiancés have moved on and children have grown up. No one knows what’s happened, not the passengers, not the FBI agents who investigate it.
But it’s not FlashForward, since they get stuck there and don’t get to go back to the past to let everyone knows what happened.
So maybe it’s another Lost knock-off – say, Six Degrees. After all, some of the passengers are linked in mysterious ways – one woman (Parveen Kaur) is a medical researcher who just manages to send off her data before the plane enters strange turbulence. When the plane lands, her research has already been turned into a life-saving cure for leukaemia. Which is fortunate as one of the other passengers on the plane is a child with leukaemia who had only six months to live. If he’d not gone on the flight, he’d be dead in 2018, but now he stands a chance at remission.
But it’s not Six Degrees, which only ever sought to imply that people were only ever six degrees of connectedness away from each other. Here, Manifest has a dual meaning: it’s both the manifest of the plane and a reference to destiny. Because the passengers are hearing voices telling them what to do. In particular, unlucky in love cop Melissa Roxburgh keeps hearing a voice telling her to “set them free”. Can it be those dogs she keeps seeing? Or is something related to a kidnapping case her ex is now investigating?
Got it. Special powers? Mysterious return of strangers? Time travel? An other worldly force? It’s The 4400, isn’t it, just with a lot fewer people? Phew. Glad I worked that out.
Here’s the trailer for Manifest and if you liked that, there’s the whole first act of it afterwards, too.