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 over five years. It stars Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur and Matt Long.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. But in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years - and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they're all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible. From Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke comes an emotionally rich, unexpected journey into a world grounded in hope, heart and destiny.[1]

Cast and Characters[edit | edit source]

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Season Episodes Originally aired (U.S. dates)
Season premiere Season finale
1 16 September 24, 2018 February 14, 2019
2 13 January 6, 2020 April 6, 2020
3 13 April 1, 2021 June 10, 2021

Production[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

Jeff Rake originally came up with the idea for Manifest in 2008, and spent the next decade coming up with more ideas while trying to pitch the series. By the time NBC picked up the series he had developed a six-year plan for it.[2]

The series is executive produced by Jeff Rake, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, and David Frankel. Jeff Rake also serves as a writer for the series while David Frankel also serves as a director. The series is produced as Warner Bros. Television and Compari Entertainment.[1]

On October 18, 2018, NBC ordered an additional three episodes of the series, bringing the first season total up to sixteen episodes.

On April 15, 2019, NBC renewed the series for a second season,[3] which premiered on January 6, 2020. On June 15, 2020, NBC renewed the series for third season,[4] which is set to premiere on April 1, 2021.[5]

Casting[edit | edit source]

In February 2018, it was announced that Josh Dallas, Melissa Roxburgh, and J.R. Ramirez had joined the pilot's main cast.[6][7] In March 2018, it was reported that Athena Karkanis, Parveen Kaur, and Luna Blaise had been cast in main roles.[8][9] Jack Messina also stars.

In November 2018, Matt Long was cast in a recurring role[10]. He was later promoted to series regular for season 2.

On September 22, 2020, Holly Taylor was cast a new series regular for the third season.[11] On October 22, 2020, Will Peltz was cast in a recurring role for the third season.[12]

Release[edit | edit source]

Marketing[edit | edit source]

On 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.

Premiere[edit | edit source]

The series took part in the 12th Annual PaleyFest Fall Television Previews on September 10, 2018, which featured a preview screening of the series.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Critical response[edit | edit source]

The 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, "Manifest's 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 Today's 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 LostBreaking 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, Variety's 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 Times's 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 Post's 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."

Ratings[edit | edit source]

The premiere episode was both the top-rated new show for the broadcast season and the top-rated show airing that week.

Season Timeslot (ET) No. of
Premiered Ended TV season Rank Avg. viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
1 Monday 10:00 PM 16 September 24, 2018 10.14 February 18, 2019 5.36 2018–19 #9 12.61
2 13 January 6, 2020 4.73 April 6, 2020 4.36 2019–20 #39 7.69
3 Thursday 08:00 PM 13 April 1, 2021 3.99 2020–21

Accolades[edit | edit source]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2019 Saturn Awards Best Science Fiction TV Series Manifest Nominated
2019 Imagen Awards Best Primetime Program - Drama Manifest Nominated

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.