TV Review – Manifest (2018 – Apparently Cancelled)

Hey 3.5 readers.

This show’s cancellation is as mysterious as a missing plane.

BQB here with a review.

Remember a few years ago when there was a missing plane, no trace of it found and all the cable news channels talked about it ad nauseum for hours and hours on end? (Not that it wasn’t a tragedy but it was to the point where you’d wake up in the morning and there’d be a guy on TV talk about the missing plane, then you’d go to bed and someone was still talking about a missing plane.)

Well NBC made an entire show about just that, only the passenger and crew survive. They take off in 2013, get struck by lightning and then miraculously land five years later in 2018. Ironically, while this show began in 2018, news of its existence took three years to reach my brain, with Netflix delivering said news.

The rest of the world has moved on without them…hard since for the passengers, no time has passed. Yet in those five years, friends and family have gotten older, some have even passed away. Spouses have found other romantic partners. Kids have grown up, leaving siblings on the plane behind.

I have to admit, I generally despise network television. It’s all very bland, formulaic and predictable. It’s that way so that Joe Blow McNoCable can tune in on any episode, pick up what’s going on instantly and then keep watching without bothering to go back and watch the earlier episodes.

But I like this one and I would have never heard of it if it hadn’t shown up on my Netflix radar. Frankly, it’s odd that NBC decided to cancel it as it has gained a lot of fans on the streaming platform.

I’m five episodes in and debating whether or not to keep watching. The overall question of the show is how did this plane land five years into the future? The individual episodes have mini mysteries, i.e. the passengers develop special powers they use to help people, thus the secondary question of how did the plane’s travel through time give them special powers? The mini mysteries are fun, though if the show is cancelled, I doubt we’ll get answers to the big questions.

To that end, it is somewhat reminiscent of Lost. I never bothered with that one but it was about a plane crash and a mysterious island. Plenty of threads let out and then fans tell me they never got any answers. (SIDENOTE: The show also reminds me of early 2000s’ The 4400, about 4,400 survivors of alien abduction who are suddenly returned to earth…so who knows? Maybe the plane’s passengers were abducted by aliens.

And there’s the rub. Whenever I discover a network show I like, I eventually do stop watching, rarely finishing it to the end if an end is even allowed. Years ago, I was into NBC’s The Blacklist and Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. Both followed the same formats, i.e. the sweeping question solved a bit in each episode, while each episode follows on a singular premise. But alas, the networks just keep pulling those strings without ever really tying them up. You can only follow bread crumbs for so long before you either find a gingerbread house or grow sick of bread crumbs.

I’ll probably watch a few more episodes and who knows? Maybe Netflix will order some more seasons since it’s high on their top ten list this weekend.

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