Returning to New York from a vacation in Jamaica, the Stone family is separated when adult siblings Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) and Ben (Josh Dallas), along with Ben’s gravely ill son Cal (Jack Messina), are bumped to a later flight, while Ben’s wife, daughter and parents fly ahead. When that second flight lands, the passengers are bewildered to discover that five and a half years have gone by. They attempt to reconnect with the loved ones who mourned their passing and moved on, and try to make sense of a mystifying phenomenon steering them to act in ways they don’t understand.
Creator Jeff Rake spoke to The Post from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., about how this show, inspired by both ABC’s “Lost” and NBC’s “This Is Us,” came together.
I’m very proud of the title because it’s a verb, it’s an adjective and it’s a noun. When I think about manifest I think about our internal lives being brought out into the external world. It’s what lives inside of us becoming manifest. The show is very much about redemption. It’s about second chances. Also, the aviation experts know that the passenger list on each flight is called the “passenger manifest.” That list of names handed to the flight attendants before a plane takes off is known as the passenger manifest.
The idea of a plane being missing for half a decade felt like a fundamental passage of time. It’s kind of summed up in this story device that I developed with the two kids in the family who are the center of the show. You meet this family in the opening scene of the show with their 10-year-old twins. Six minutes later a plane has disappeared and returned, but five and a half years have passed. One twin was on that plane. One wasn’t. And all of a sudden the two kids are 10 and a half and 16 years old. To kiss a 10-year-old goodbye and in the blink of an eye return to a 16-year-old … I’m a parent of four kids. To think about that devastates me.