'Manifest': Fans wonder if the show is losing focus with too many plot points
The multi-layered storyline of the show has introduced several angles to the narrative, however, it might struggle sometimes to keep up with all of it
NBC's record-breaking show 'Manifest', starring Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, Parveen Kaur, Melissa Roxburgh, and J.R. Ramirez, has been declared by viewers and readers as the best TV show this fall season. The Jeff Rake-directed show follows the aftermath of the return of Montego Air Flight 828 which had disappeared for almost five and a half years, and as the passengers arrive — presumably from their deaths — they begin to experience certain "callings" in the form of visions and voices.
Besides its mythical sci-fi angle, the show has a multi-layered storyline which includes relationship dynamics, rebellions by the masses, and the recurring turmoil between the authority and the suppressed. Although every angle is treated with its own depth and significance, fans are confused if the show is diverting too often from its focal point.
One Reddit user has mentioned, "With MANIFEST the show hasn't yet really earned the right to focus on characters at the expense of the mysteries. They still need to build the world in which things are taking place. And find ways to make it internally consistent."
In many ways 'Manifest' has been addressed as a descendant of the Jack Bender-Stephen Williams-directed show 'Lost', which focused on one character in every episode and brought out their backstory. Although initially 'Manifest' seemed to have set out to do something similar, in the last three episodes it has completely taken a different direction. The fan also mentions, "Also, it can't be as character driven as LOST because of different storytelling styles. LOST was great in that each episode focused on the backstory of one character and how the past was informing the present. That's not going to happen in the same way in 'Manifest'."
In spite of the looming mystery surrounding the plane which is supposed to be the focal point of the show, it continues to be a character-driven story. Unfortunately, that is not what the storyline of 'Manifest' demands. Another Reddit user commented, "I don't mind some family drama but to me, it was too heavy on it in the first few episodes. I know they have to set up characters and get a connection going but it still felt heavy and forced. The main advertising spiel was the flight, so I was a little frustrated when they took more and more time away from the mystery."
However, fans are now glad that the show is finally getting back on track instead of loitering about with different characters. Over the last few episodes we discovered that, unlike the first few episodes, they were drawing parallels between the main characters and the paranormal influence of the plane on the other passengers. Fans are of the opinion that the show has certainly geared up in the last few episodes. "The first couple of episodes focused too heavily on family drama instead of Flight 828. They really have done a great job with the last couple and I can only hope it stays like that!"
As the series is drawing to its break before the end of the fall season, it has become one of the most popular shows on television. Its skillful style of storytelling without diverting too much from the plotline has been of great advantage in the last few episodes. Hopefully, 'Manifest' will retain its pace once it returns in January 2019.