Manifest on Netflix was released in September 2018. Some people say that it is the English version of JL50 (released in September 2020) that was released in the Hindi language on SonyLiv.
I was searching for JL50 when I came across Manifest and gave it a try. So here’s my review of MANIFEST (you can check out the series here) –
Table of contents
WHAT IS MANIFEST SERIES ON NETFLIX
Manifest series on Netflix is the story of 191 passengers of the Montego Air Flight 828 that were presumed dead after the flight disappeared in the year 2013 but then returned after 5 years, in the year 2018. These passengers start hearing some inner voice guiding them to solve the problems around them in society, which all seem to be connected to each other at some point of contact.
The protagonist, Michaela Stone played by Melissa Roxburgh, an NYPD Officer (reminds me of the LUCIFER series where a detective solves all the problems along with Lucifer) and also a passenger on flight 828, has easy access to the scenes of crimes and therefore helps the other passengers get their family members and friends out of the crime scenes and life problems that followed after they have returned with a gap of 5 years on flight 828.
MY REVIEW OF MANIFEST ON NETFLIX ( 6 POINTS TO CONSIDER )
- THE HOOK –
The series has been made with the sole purpose of ‘keeping the audience hooked to the episodes one after the other‘; for this purpose, most of the episodes have a ‘curious’ ending to keep the viewer waiting for the next episode to understand the ‘cause‘ behind the things in the previous episode’…good from the perspective of the Director and the creators of the series but I am sure it’s a different perspective for different viewers.
This pattern of keeping the audience hooked to the episodes, I had first seen in the ‘Ekta Kapoor’s K Serials‘ when I was a child and my grandma watched those serials. One episode after another had a curious ending and the audience waited for another episode until the next evening.
Well, the audience has pretty much matured now. They are more aware and they know what they are being served on the palate. So yeah…
2. THE SYMBOLS
Most passengers see signs & symbols and hear voices that lead them to certain people that need help or the animals and the children that need to be freed.
The Problem: The Universe Is Desperate to talk to Humans
Sadly, this is not how symbolism works in the spiritual realm or in the spiritual sense. I mean, of course, the Universe does talk using symbols but there’s a problem with the concept shown in this one.
When the Universe really talks to us, it is usually in ‘No Specific Language’. Doesn’t the Universe that is giving you the signs know which language you speak?
Symbols that are actually sent, do not require any translation into another language on the part of the receiver.
What it means is that, whichever language a person speaks in, the Universe communicates in that language.
But the fact that different episodes are calling out for translation of different so-called ‘words’ (okay, the words I can understand & actually ignore) but the ‘symbols’ and ‘images’, the meanings of which are also being translated into various languages like Chinese, Arabian?
…it feels like there’s a desperation on the part of the Humans to find meaning in just every single thing that they come across.
So they have ‘Google’ opened up which translates every word and image into 2000 different languages out of which their so-called ‘analytical and logical’ mind is going to find ‘that One’ meaning that is correctly connecting to the sequence of events that is happening with these humans.
Now ‘This’ is not interpreting the symbols of the Universe… This is called losing one’s mind and wisdom. Nope. That’s not how the Universe talks.
3. PATTERNS ALL AROUND
Now I am not sure if only I can see these patterns or if you can see them too. (let me know in the comments)
This series could hold me on, only up to Episode 4 of Season 1 soon when I realized that this might be taking me down the road of another Lucifer series (though I appreciate Lucifer, it still had an innovative and non-human touch to it but this more of a copy).
But there’s this same pattern where there is One Detective (the Protagonist) who comes along with another (the Deuteragonist) in the series and then they start solving the crime problems because this Protagonist is working in LAPD, like in every series…seriously? yeah, of course, else how would they get into the police department and get all the reports, right?
4. NO RESPECT FOR TIME WHILE TALKING ABOUT TIME.
SUCH AN IRONY!
While the directors, in their perspective, played their part well by ‘hooking the viewers’ onto the next episode, in the desperation of keeping the episodes and the seasons running, the quality has been highly compromised.
Episode after episode, there’s just one problem after another that is somehow connected to a survivor from Flight 828 and this problem then needs to be solved and the viewers must keep wasting their time while they watch a series that talks about how important time is and what all people already lost in the 5 years that they were on that flight. Such an Irony!
5. WATCHTIME & PROFITS OVER QUALITY & INNOVATION
Unlike the series, Stranger Things which had a lot of innovation in each and every episode, this series is not much of an innovation. It’s a great try but naaah…
It’s just a Loop and a Pattern repeating over and over.
At the end of the 4th Episode of Season 1, one of these Police officers says that they are so close to getting the medical reports of Cal Stone (another great character in the series played by Jack Messina, a sweetheart kid & a wonderful actor) and thus finding out about the flight 828 mystery.
I doubted that this would come to the fore in the next episode really and therefore in order to confirm my doubts, I jumped to the 12th episode of Season 1 and laughed out realizing that they were still talking about the same point they were talking about in the Episode 4.
I was right! This series was just another ‘Watch time and Profits Over Quality’ stunt.
6. BECOMING MENTAL WITH FAITH ??? REALLY?
It’s true that once anybody has experienced something miraculous in their life, they expect more miracles because now they know that there’s something more to life than just this normal material world. (Read my story on How I turned from an Atheist to a Knower of God)
But at the same time, miracles and faith don’t make people mental or lose their sense of wisdom or understanding.
In fact, knowing that there is more to life, should make one understand that mind and soul must work together in order to get better results in our work in this world. It makes one more sensible than ever.
But the ways in which the series has been made make it look like more of these characters are becoming ‘people operating less from Faith but more from becoming mental’.
It hurts me when the concepts that form the foundation of a series are not well researched because a large part of the audience gets these concepts straight into their heads and so many of them may even start thinking that this one concept could be real in their lives too and not just on-screen!
For eg., the series ‘Behind Her Eyes’ that is all about consciousness (definitely not created with the help of a highly experienced spiritual guide of the inner realms) is created with poorly researched or shall I say, half-researched or experienced concepts of consciousness. It has been made more from the experiences that come from one’s imagination but not from one’s consciousness.
I feel bad for the audience that might think that what is shown in ‘Behind Her Eyes’ could entirely be true and feel fearful of it. I will write about that later.
RATING FOR THE SERIES ‘MANIFEST’ ON NETFLIX?
Well, I shall give 1.5 stars (1.5/5) to the Manifest series on Netflix for wasting the time of people and focusing more on watch time and profits while offering them a story about ‘TIME‘.
But I shall also give 1 more star for just the hard work of the team in making the series.
So total (2.5/5).
Read the Review of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ here.
Read the Review of ‘Aashram’ here.