Is Manifest a Lost Cause? 



   As a Society, we like to compare things. Whenever there is a new talent in basketball it is said: ” this might be the next Michael Jordan.” A new rap artist comes on the scene,” this might be the next Notorious BIG or Tupac.” If the standard has been set for a specific category it's hard not to compare the new thing to the standard that has already been established. In the same way, since 2004 if a TV series even slightly appeared to be a character-driven mystery mythology type of show the question was “ is this the next Lost?” This media driven habit hasn’t changed today either, and in 2018 NBC’s Manifest became the “next Lost” suspect. Manifest is a mystery drama show with great acting and exceptional writing that will keep you on the edge of your seat, even though the outline has similarities and comparisons to the American drama series Lost, Manifest has clearly blazed its own trail that will keep faithful followers coming back for more. 

  There was an American rhetorician named Lloyd Bitzer. I know you are asking a rhe-what-ican, what is a rhetorician? Rhetorician is defined as a speaker whose words are designed to impress or persuade, and with that definition being known I realize my 5-year-old daughter is already a professional rhetorician. Lloyd Bitzer (to read his quote click here) summarizes that when something new happens that requires a response, someone must create that first response if that situation happens again, another person uses the first response as a basis for the second. The TV Series Lost was the first of its kind and has been consistently ranked by critics as one of the greatest television series of all time. Lost created the first response to these type of shows, so when shows like Manifest come along, they naturally use the first response (Lost) as a basis to compare other shows too. 

   Interestingly Manifest and Lost do have some similarities. They both start with a plane, Manifest passengers and plane take off from Jamacia and land in New York only to realize they have been gone for 5 ½ years, Lost passengers and plane take off and crash on a mysterious island. The characters in Lost have flashback or flashforward instances, the characters in Manifest have similar instances known as callings. Each show can be illustrated like an onion, the center is the end resolve to the mystery, so each week a layer is peeled off and new information is learned about characters and instances that build the plot. However long you can keep the viewers' suspense is however long the show runs, for Lost fans it took 6 years to get to the center of the onion and for Manifest, the clock is still ticking. 

    Nick Venable wrote an article whose title makes a profound statement, Manifest Isn’t Exactly Like Lost And That Is Definitely Ok. When you are evaluating anything it is natural to compare to other examples in that genre. Of equal importance is to understand that it’s ok to be different. Just because Manifest isn’t exactly like Lost doesn’t take away from the show that it is. Carson Kressley said, “ It's really important to share the idea that being different might feel like a problem at the time, but ultimately diversity is a strength.” It’s ok to compare and it’s ok to find the differences, these differences make everything unique. If everything was the same that would make life boring. 

  Manifest is a thrilling American Drama Series that premiered in September 2018. The premiere episode was both the top-rated new show for the broadcast season and the top-rated show airing that week. Although you can compare it to other shows,  Manifest brings a fresh new plot to a Tv series that I think is very entertaining. Margaret Lyons disagrees and she negatively reviewed the show, “ Manifest has a frustrating lack of propulsion, a central dullness whose force field is so strong it bends all the interesting parts toward itself.” We can't make everyone happy, but don't let me or anyone else tell you what you like or don’t like.  If you haven’t watched Manifest, go download the NBC app, pop you some popcorn, get settled down in your recliner, start binge-watching and come up with your own critique. Then won't you please come back and tell me your answer to the question: Is Manifest a Lost cause?