In the pilot of Manifest, we’re introduced to the primary characters, the Stone family who consist of Ben Stone and his wife, Grace. They’re with their family, 10 year old twins, Cal and Olive. There’s also Ben’s parents and sister, Michaela. They’re all waiting to board their plane back to New York after a vacation in Jamaica. Michaela is pondering her decision to marry her boyfriend, a police officer like her. Cal has cancer and is not expected to live long.
An announcement is made that their flight is overbooked and anyone who is willing to take a later flight will be compensated. Michaela wants to delay her trip back as she needs more time to decide on the marriage proposal and as Ben needs money for Cal’s medical treatment, he decides to take the later flight too along with Cal.
On the flight, there’s severe turbulence and it looks like the plane is heading into a storm. However, the pilot manages to control the plane and all is well in a matter of a minute. The pilot sends a message to the NY control tower for permission to land but is diverted to another airport where they’re met with law enforcement who announce that their plane has been missing for five and a half years.
Soon some of the passengers hear voices in their heads like cryptic messages. Cal draws what seems to be prophetic images. No one has an explanation for why or how they went missing for over five years. This drama is about how the passengers pick up the pieces and how things are connected, like the voices telling Ben and Michaela to do certain things that have an impact on others, whether they were fellow passengers or random strangers.
There’s something sinister going on as some of the passengers who didn’t have friends or family to pick them up when they arrived were spirited away and experiments conducted on their brains. There are also other time-travelling people like a guy who went hiking and what he thought was 2 weeks was actually a year away. There are 16 episodes in total in Season 1 and I have to say so far so good. All very engrossing and entertaining.