September 9, 2019  (Web Review)

Manifest: The Complete First Season

Warner, 4 discs, 683 min., not rated, DVD: $29.99

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

Lost was surely in the mind of creator Jeff Rake during the development of this high-concept NBC series—a mix of sci-fi, supernatural mystery, and conspiracy thriller. The passengers of Flight 828 arrive back home after what seems to be routine turbulence, only to discover that five years have passed while they haven’t aged a day. That’s mystery enough for the NSA to take an interest but the passengers also start hearing voices with vague instructions: “free them” and “stop him” and other such puzzling remarks. Melissa Roxburgh and Josh Dallas star as grown siblings Micheala and Ben Stone, whose stories center the show. She’s a cop whose fiancé married her best friend. He’s a husband and father whose cancer-stricken son Cal (Jack Messina) traveled with him, returning home to a wife/mother who mourned their deaths and a daughter/twin sister who is now five years older than Cal. The personal dramas often revolve around clichéd complications and the unexplained voices initially spur some episodes in the direction of cop drama cases, but over time the voices connect all of the passengers. And there’s a shadowy organization that kidnaps and experiments on the passengers, as well as a religion that treats them as miracle workers. While much of the show is derivative and the characters lack dimension, Manifest is fast-paced and often cleverly plotted, constantly dropping clues that suggest a bigger picture to the mystery. Compiling all 16 episodes from the 2018-19 debut season, this is a strong optional purchase. (S. Axmaker)