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Created By:
Jeff Rake
Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis
Writing Credits:

After a turbulent, but routine flight, those onboard discover the world has aged five years, and soon a deeper mystery unfolds.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 683 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 7/23/2019

• None


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


Manifest: The Complete First Season (2018-19)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 13, 2019)

A fantasy series with a theme similar to the “Blip” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Season One of Manifest takes us into the characters’ lives after a major event. This DVD package includes all 16 of the first season’s episodes, and the plot synopses come from the official website.

Pilot: “When Flight 828 lands in New York, siblings Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) and Ben Stone (Josh Dallas) and the other passengers learn that years have passed, but they haven't aged a day. They reunite with loved ones, piece together their old lives and deal with mysterious voices in their heads.”

As a premise, Manifest entices, and “Pilot” launches the show with intriguing elements. Will it be able to sustain these notions across 16 shows? That remains to be seen.

Reentry: “Michaela is conflicted when she faces her best friend, who is now married to Jared (JR Ramirez). Meanwhile, mysterious music in his mind moves Ben to help a fellow Flight 828 passenger connect with his imprisoned son, and Olive (Luna Blaise) urges Grace (Athena Karkanis) to tell Ben her secret.”

Despite its supernatural bent, so far Manifest feels more like a drama, and not an especially good one. “Reentry” advances overall narrative points but it comes with a bit more melodrama than I’d like.

Turbulence: “Michaela and Ben investigate the murder of a fellow Flight 828 passenger. Meanwhile, Saanvi (Parveen Kaur) discovers an unusual marker in Cal's (Jack Messina) blood that wasn't there before the flight, Ben worries for the safety of his family, and Michaela is urged to own her truth.”

Like the other shows, “Turbulence” mixes intrigue related to the overall Flight 828 narrative and drama connected to the personal lives of the characters. Both seem fairly mediocre here, as they advance manners in a competent but semi-flat manner.

Unclaimed Baggage: “Michaela and Saanvi have a similar vision, but it takes them some trial, error and teamwork to heed the call. Jared takes the fall for Michaela's misstep at work. Ben struggles to connect with Olive.”

I get that a series like this needs to stretch out its mystery as long as possible. To maintain interest, the show requires compelling characters, which Manifest can’t muster. That factor makes “Baggage” another meh episode.

Connecting Flights: “Flashbacks reveal how Grace, Olive and Jared coped with the loss of their loved ones after the disappearance of Flight 828. Ben tries to escape the voice in his mind by going on an adventure with Cal.”

“Flights” mixes flashbacks with “present day”, and that’s a mistake. A superior series would’ve resided solely in the past, a choice that would’ve allowed “Flights” to boast a more consistent through-line and narrative. As it stands, the flashbacks work well but the rest feels less interesting.

Off Radar: “When Cal has a calling that jeopardizes his health, Ben and Michaela set out to cure him by following the calling and looking for a missing passenger from Flight 828.”

Cal goes all ET/Elliott on us via a bond with a Bulgarian passenger. This adds some intrigue but often seems too silly to succeed.

SNAFU: “Michaela tries to make sense of her newest calling: the sound of a beating heart. Meanwhile, Ben goes to risky lengths to investigate the whereabouts of 11 missing Flight 828 passengers.”

That seems like an every episode occurrence: characters risk their necks to work out the mystery. This factor makes the shows blend together and lack the urgency they attempt. “SNAFU” follows this trend and feels like more of the same old.

Point of No Return: “Ben finds himself working with an unexpected partner to search for the missing Flight 828 passengers. Michaela fears for the lives of her loved ones after she has a mysterious calling. Cal returns to school.”

One of the less interesting episodes, “Point” does advance some story areas, but these seem mushy at best. More emphasis than normal on the series’ goopy melodrama makes this a blah program.

Dead Reckoning: “When a missing Flight 828 passenger shows up at his doorstep begging for help, Ben's quest to uncover the truth reaches a fever pitch. With NSA Director Vance's (Daryl Edwards) help, Ben, Michaela and Saanvi race against time.”

As the season progresses, the secret conspiracy comes more to the fore, and that seems like it should jack up the excitement. It doesn’t, and “Dead” suffers from the general lack of thrills that plagues the series. Even though it should become more and more compelling, it remains largely mediocre.

Crosswinds: “Ben struggles to trust a journalist who wants him to participate in a Flight 828 podcast. Michaela's callings rise to a whole new level when they are accompanied by hallucinations.”

Romantic hogwash comes to the fore here, and that makes “Crosswinds” even more of a slog than usual. The conspiracy plot points continue to drag, so “Crosswinds” delivers a weak show.

Contrails: “Captain Daly (Frank Deal) is desperate to prove that he is not at fault for the disappearance of Flight 828, and he needs Ben's help to clear his name. Michaela unknowingly lets a traitor into her home.”

For once, an episode manages to generate a fair amount of tension, mainly via the path Captain Daly takes it. Some sluggish spots remain, but this offers the strongest show in a while.

Vanishing Point: “Ben and Grace rush upstate to find a kidnapped Cal, using his drawings as clues to his whereabouts. Meanwhile, Michaela arrests and interrogates a traitorous Autumn (Shirley Rumierk).”

After the pretty good “Contrails”, we go back to the usual mediocrity with “Point”. It does manage to advance narrative areas but it does so in a less than engaging manner.

Cleared for Approach: “Michaela uses her skills as a detective to find out more about Zeke (Matt Long), a hiker who disappeared for two years and may be one of them. Ben's family is impacted as public disdain for the passengers of Flight 828.”

A fresh character should mean fresh intrigue, but instead, Zeke feels like little more than an opportunity to give Michaela a new prospective boyfriend. Maybe that won’t happen, though I do occasionally wonder why Ben and Michaela never meet anyone unattractive. This leads to another lackluster episode.

Upgrade: “Ben and Michaela try to figure out what Zeke's return means in the bigger picture. Meanwhile, Cal has another ominous calling and is nervous to connect with Zeke.”

My biggest problem with Manifest tends to come from its unfulfilled potential. The series boasts plenty of intriguing threads, but it devotes most of its time to mopey melodrama and over-done thriller material. These traits come to the fore with “Upgrade”, as it squanders compelling threads to rely on the usual blandness.

Hard Landing: “Another non-passenger appears to have come back from the dead, and Ben, Michaela and Saanvi want to know why: Why now? Why him? This mystery-man is also having callings.”

With little time left in the season, “Landing” attempts to build suspense, and it does fairly well in that regard, mainly because James Griffin (Marc Menchaca) – the “mystery-man” of the synopsis – provides a creepy presence. Other aspects cut it short, though, so don’t expect consistency.

Estimated Time of Departure: “Michaela, Ben, Zeke and Saanvi all have the same calling. After another panic attack, Saanvi is finally ready to see a therapist, but it may not be what's best for her.”

With a chance to conclude S1 on an exciting note, “Time” goes the cop-out route and ends with a cliffhanger! Spoiler? Maybe, but I feel so annoyed that the producers wouldn’t even attempt some form of season-ending wrap-up to something that I don’t care.

Not much about “Time” works. It teases different plot/character points but sends none much closer to resolution. It’s a terrible way to finish a season, though given the level of mediocrity that preceded it, I can’t claim to feel true disappointment.

To be disappointed, Manifest would’ve had to be consistently good. It’s not. The series comes with an intriguing premise and boasts the occasional quality episode, but most of it seems overwrought and half-baked. When Season Two rolls around, I won’t be there to see what happens.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio B/ Bonus F

Manifest appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The shows looked decent but they demonstrated the limitations of SD-DVD.

These concerns largely impacted definition, as the episodes tended to seem somewhat soft. Close-ups worked pretty well, but anything wider than that ended up on the fuzzy side of the street.

Jagged edges and moiré effects remained modest, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to materialize beyond some minor and inevitable digital artifacts.

Like prior seasons, the series opted for a fairly subdued feel, with an amber or teal sense much of the time. Within those choices, the hues looked acceptably well-developed.

Blacks came across as mostly dense and tight, and low-light shots demonstrated pretty nice clarity. Given the capabilities of SD-DVD, the shows remained watchable.

Expect fairly positive audio from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Manifest. The forward dominated, as the shows featured solid stereo music and a good sense of environment. Elements meshed smoothly and moved across the spectrum well.

In addition, the surrounds added some pizzazz. The back speakers used music well, and effects also created a fine sense of place. The surrounds didn’t have a ton to do throughout the series, but the mix used them in a satisfying manner.

As for the quality of the audio, it seemed good. Speech always came across as natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues.

Music was bright and clean, while effects showed nice reproduction. Those elements came across as lively and dynamic, and low-end response appeared deep and firm. The episodes consistently boasted pleasing audio.

No extras of any sort appear here.

Blessed with an interesting concept, Manifest came with the potential to become a lively, thrilling series. Instead, it opted to give us cheap soap opera melodrama and overwrought stabs at excitement. The DVDs offer mediocre picture, positive audio and no supplements. Chalk up Manifest as a major missed opportunity.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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