‘Manifest’ destiny?

Photo by NBC

It’s been a while since a TV show has caught my attention and reeled me in with its premiere episode. Only a few have done that to me over the years. “Lost,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Heroes” come to mind.

Well, it’s happened again, thanks to NBC’s “Manifest,” which premiered on Sept. 24 to 10.3 million viewers. While it didn’t win the overall ratings for the night—that honor went to CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” with 12.7 million viewers—it did attract the highest viewership for its time slot.

What’s happening?

If you don’t like spoilers, stop reading here.

So what’s going on with Montego Air Flight 828? Similar to Oceanic Flight 815 on “Lost,” something strange happens midflight to the 191 passengers onboard. They don’t crash on a mysterious island, though. Instead, they land safely in the not-too-distant future in 2018 after experiencing rough turbulence. Thing is, the plane took off in 2013.

If that isn’t strange enough, then perhaps what happens to one of the main characters—and subsequently others—will intrigue you.

As if time traveling wasn’t odd enough, Flight 828 passenger Michaela Stone (played by Melissa Roxburgh) hears a voice in her head that tells her to do something that seems wrong, but harmless, at first.

Her brother, Ben (played by “Once Upon a Time” alum Josh Dallas), also hears a voice in his head saying the same thing, though we don’t know if it’s the same voice.

Like “Lost,” “Manifest” starts out of the gate by only telling enough of the story to intrigue and mystify. Crafty little writers.

The pilot episode (pun intended) lays the groundwork for some pretty intriguing drama. Like Michaela’s boyfriend (played by J.R. Ramirez) moving on with his life by marrying her best friend.

It also seems like Ben’s wife Grace (played by Athena Karkanis) may have remarried in his absence, but that’s yet to be revealed for certain.

Or Saanvi (played by Parveen Kaur) who learns in 2018 that her 2013 research has caught on and could save the life of a fellow passenger, but the powers-that-be refuse to include him as part of their case study.

Not to mention the explosive ending to the episode.

There’s a lot to like about this show, including its similarities to “Lost.”

‘Lost’ comparison/Bible tie-in

Speaking of “Lost,” “Manifest” creator Jeff Rake said, “I”m a fan of ‘Lost.’ My writers’ room, similarly, fans of ‘Lost.’ Were it not for ‘Lost,’ this show (“Manifest”) would not be on the air…I’d like to think our storytelling is inspired by it.”

If your Bible radar went off when reading about Montego Air Flight 828 earlier in this post, 1,000 brownie points for you! The flight number is in reference to Romans 8:28, which, in part, reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…”

Part of this verse pops up on a homemade decor piece during the pilot episode. Watch for it.

In true “Lost” fashion, it’s probably a safe bet that these numbers (828) will pop up and play a part in the story throughout the series. Hopefully, the show will avoid the one-and-done seasonal fate that many new TV series meet.

If you haven’t watched “Manifest” yet, what are you waiting for? A manifestation? (Thank you, folks! I’m here all week.) It’s on Hulu, so fire up the Roku…or whatever your streaming device of preference.

If you prefer watching it the old-fashioned way, “Manifest” airs Mondays on NBC at 10/9 Central.

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