Netflix’s ‘Manifest’: A sci-fi thriller

‘Manifest’ is an original Netflix series written by Jeff Rikes, produced by Cathy Frank and directed by Micheal Schultz.

Starring Micheala (Melissa Roxburgh) and Ben (Josh Dallas) as the protagonists, the show centers around the passengers and crew of a commercial airline who suddenly reappear after having been declared missing and dead for almost five and a half years.

As the news of the aircraft having landed after such a long gap is disclosed, the relatives of the passengers are surprised and overwhelmed at the same time.

As so much time has passed, the lives of those connected to the passengers has changed considerably.

Ben’s wife Grace (Athena Karkaness) has to deal with her son Cal’s cancer all on her own. As she tries to overcome the vacuum in her life, she turns to Danny for moral support and the absence of love. Danny and Grace marry each other. Olive, Grace and Ben’s daughter miss her dad. He was not there for her when she needed him. She accepts Danny as her father. However, as Ben re-enters their life, Olive finds it hard to accept the fact that he is back. As Ben and Olive, Cal and Grace are reunited, their relationship goes through a turbulence that gradually heals with the passage of time. They all make an effort to heal their wounds and learn to live like one happy family.

On the other hand is Micheala (Ben’s sister). Before she boarded flight 828, she was engaged to Jared – the man she loves. However, upon her return she is devastated and broken when she hears that Jared (J.R.Ramirez) married her best friend in her absence.

Bearing the loss of her mother and her star-crossed lover leaves Michaela scarred. She finds it difficult to accept the truth.

Running parallel to these two stories is that of Cal’s. The doctors cannot seem to diagnose Cal’s medical condition. He has cancer but his fever does not break. As the show moves on, Cal’s fever has finally been broken and he is on the road to recovery.

The passengers from flight 828 all undergo a change. They hear voices and see visions where they hear and see people they have to save.

As Micheala turns to Jared for help in her mission, Jared cannot seem to understand the absurdity of Micheala’s state of mind. A little bit of comic relief is given as Jared asks Micheala what if she’s wrong again, to which Micheala says with a twinkle in her eye:

‘Then we will have a nice country drive.’

Both Angelina and Ben were on flight 828. Angelina is a doctor and she and Ben both believe that Cal’s fever has got to with something strange. Grace, frustrated and unable to comprehend their ‘wild theories’ agrees to give them a chance.

And to her surprise, Cal becomes better.

‘Manifest’ means to show or something that is evident. The title is apt because Micheala, Jared and Angelina all three hear ‘guiding voices’ where they can look into the future called ‘callings’. On the whole, it’s a neat and clean show with a meaningful storyline. ‘Manifest’ is worth watching and offers a spice of the super-natural.

Beenish Mahmood has a double Master's in English Literature with almost a decade of experience in magazine journalism. She is passionate about South Asian Fiction and environmental issues. She can be reached through email at