NBC’s Manifest is our MUSTSEE series for the Fall and we talked to the show’s cast and creators at Comic-Con 2018 about the mystery, mythology, and comparisons to LOST. Check out our interviews!
One of the new debuts I’m most looking forward to this Fall 2018 TV Season is NBC’s Manifest.
According to the official synopsis:
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.
Melissa Roxburgh and Josh Dallas star as Michaela and Ben Stone, a brother and sister who are two of 191 passengers on this Montego Air flight and through their lenses and that of the family, we start to learn about the mystery in the aftermath of their experience.
We had a chance to screen the pilot episode are hella intrigued by the mystery of the plane’s disappearance, the time jump, and the passengers’ supernatural abilities. The dynamics between these characters are also fascinating, particularly in terms of the romantic entanglements that become very complicated.
At this year’s Comic-Con, we sat down with Manifest‘s series creator Jeff Rake, Melissa Roxburgh, and Josh Dallas. They gave us a few more details about what we can expect from the series. Truth be told, it has me even more excited!
In our interview with Rake, he lays out the core of Manifest‘s story and how Ben and Michaela will represent the two major debates about what explains the plane’s disappearance. Where as Ben believes there’s a scientific, earth-bound explanation, Michaela is more willing to explore this as a faith-based, supernatural phenomenon.
Fans should expect relationship drama, mystery, and mission-oriented, procedural dimension as we move from week to week. When Rake first proposed this series, he pitched it as a six-season arc. This would provide quite a bit of time to explore Ben and Michaela’s stories, as well as how they intersect with the other 180+ passengers. Within Season 1, there will be two pivots that will blow open the show’s mythology, which will drive the remainder of the series.
While Rake is looking forward to exploring the two major love triangles (“infidelity without culpability”), he shares that the relationship between Ben and his now 15/16 year-old daughter is one that he’s excited about, too.
Rake also tackles LOST comparisons… (I mean, I can’t lie, my initial attraction to the show emerged from these similarities). He views such comparisons as compliment, especially if Manifest could experience that sort of longevity and enthusiasm among audiences.
Melissa Roxburgh tells us a little bit more about Michaela Stone. From early in the pilot, we have an inkling that her character has already experienced some trauma. Roxburgh shares with us that, in fact, Michaela was in a car accident in which her best friend died and is dealing with a lot of guilt in the aftermath. This distress heightens as Michaela returns from her flight and is trying to deal with losing her mother and her fiancé, as well as these new supernatural powers, which may not be so benign.
In terms of what attracted Roxburgh to the project, she was intrigued by the mythology and mystery embedded in the writing, as well as the character relationships, particularly the potential tension between Michaela and Ben.
Right off the bat, Josh Dallas describes Manifest as LOST meets This is Us, which is really accurate! Dallas shares that his character, Ben, is a scientist, family man, and fixer. As the series progresses, we’ll see that Ben’s adherence to logic can lead to some impulsivity and blindness to the circumstances around him, particularly as it relates to solving the mystery of Montego Air Flight 828. Dallas sees this as a major difference between himself and his character: whereas Ben is science-based in his worldview, Dallas would describe himself as spiritual.
He also tells us about the ways Ben’s life overlaps with the other passengers on the plane, the most major being that a woman onboard is the scientist who develops the treatment needed to save his son who was dying. Interestingly, Dallas teases that there are some folks (“entities”) who want to keep Ben, Michaela, and the passengers quiet. So Ben’s priority will be to protect his family.
For Dallas, the show is all about second-chances and watching the choices Ben and others make as they try to reclaim their life. “He is a stranger in a strange place,” and this is very apparent in Ben’s now complex relationship with his wife.
For more, make sure to watch Manifest‘s Comic-Con panel and pictures from their autograph signing:
Manifest premieres on Monday, September 24 at 10p/9c on NBC! We’ll definitely be live tweeting, so plan to join us!