There have been many event mystery series that have come and gone. Some have succeeded and some haven’t gone so well. Many point to Lost as a benchmark when it comes to the genre, but Manifest is looking to pave its own path. Series creator Jeff Rake was joined by actors Melissa Roxburgh and Josh Dallas to talk about the show and what to expect from the new NBC drama.
Like Lost, there is an ongoing mystery and the pilot shown at Comic-Con leaves tons of unanswered questions. Inspired by the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Manifest explores what would happen if a missing plane and its passengers suddenly reappeared.
In the show’s case, when Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible.
Instead of just winging it (no pun intended), Rake says that he didn’t want to fly blindly into the project which he came up with 10 years ago. Instead, he has it all charted out.
“I have a pretty serious roadmap,” he said. “As an event mystery, buyers want to know where you’re going. They need to know you have an end game.”
He adds, “I don’t know everything but I know a lot.”
For stars Dallas and Roxburgh, who play siblings that were on the mystery flight, they will be avoiding spoilers as much as the fans — or as Dallas calls them, “Manifesters.”
“It’s better to not to know and go along on this journey with you guys,” he said.
The Manifest pilot, written by Rake and directed by Frankel, and also stars Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina and Parveen Kaur.