thu 21/11/2019

Manifest, Sky 1 review - late arrival causes cosmic upheaval | reviews, news & interviews

Manifest, Sky 1 review - late arrival causes cosmic upheaval

Manifest, Sky 1 review - late arrival causes cosmic upheaval

Where has flight 828 been for five and a half years?

Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) and Ben (Josh Dallas) try to make up for lost time

It’s been nearly a decade since the sixth and final series of Lost, JJ Abrams’s baffling odyssey of time-travelling air crash survivors, but judging by Manifest, its influence still hovers over TV-land. Produced by (among others) film director Robert Zemeckis, Manifest is another mystical thriller that might make you think twice about boarding that holiday flight.

This first episode began with vacationers gathering at the airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica for their flight home to New York. We zoomed in on the Stone family, comprising Ben, his wife Grace and two children, his sister Michaela and their parents. After an announcement that the flight was over-booked, Michaela, Ben and his son Cal took the offer of $400 each to catch a later one.

Despite a burst of severe turbulence, they proceeded successfully to New York, but air traffic control didn’t recognise their flight call-sign. When the passengers finally disembarked after being diverted to an obscure upstate airport, they were met by swarms of cops and emergency services, and were startled to hear that their flight had arrived five and a half years after it took off. Not even on obscure airlines from Kyrgyzstan or Tuvalu is punctuality this bad, and everyone aboard had long been written off as deceased.

Thus, the stage is set for all manner of dramas and intrigues as everybody struggles to comprehend their weirdly altered circumstances. Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) had just started a career as a police officer, but is gobsmacked to find that thanks to the elapsed time, she’s now minus her fiance Jared (JR Ramirez, pictured left) and her best friend Lourdes (Victoria Cartagena). As well as having missed a big chunk of his daughter Olive’s childhood, Ben (Josh Dallas) is about to discover that his wife is doing a lot of texting to a person unknown. As for the security services, they don’t believe the story they’re being told by passengers and aircrew, and are convinced some secret (possibly extra-terrestrial) plot is afoot.

Perhaps they have a point, because Manifest has a distinctly supernatural dimension to it. Both Michaela and Ben hear voices in their heads that seem to be guiding them to do virtuous deeds, and the number “828” keeps recurring like a harbinger of divine intervention. The fact that their flight (number 828) turned up half a decade late means that a new treatment for Cal’s leukaemia is now available, while verse 8.28 from the biblical Book of Romans talks about God making all things work together for good. They’ve set enough plates spinning in the air here to make you want to come back for more, but how it’ll all develop God – Her again – knows.

Michaela and Ben hear voices in their heads that seem to be guiding them to do virtuous deeds

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.