Manifest: The Complete Series - DVD Review

Michael Scott

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Manifest: The Complete Series


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Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras:
Final Score: :3.5stars:





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Movie

Not gonna lie, but I didn’t really have many expectations when Manifest started airing on NBC back around 2018. It was another one of those sci-fi/puzzle box/supernatural mystery shows ala Lost, The 4400 etc., and didn’t seem to putting anything new into the genre. However, the show opened up with a MASSIVE 10.5 million viewer pull and continued to rack up the views making it the #1 broadcast TV show behind Fox’s This is Us. So, I decided to give it a watch and ended up being pleasantly surprised.

The series premise is pretty simple for one of these “lost in time” TV shows. The passengers of flight 828 have a fairly typical flight home, only to find out upon landing that everyone is shocked to see them. You see, while they departed from the airport in September of 2013, they land at their arriving destination in 2018, 5 years later. As per the usual TV trope, that means something super mysterious and supernatural has gone on, and now we have to figure out what exactly happened to flight 828. The first season sets up the rest of the show by acting as a starting point for the big mystery ahead. It tends to focus on the passengers reintegrating into society once more, all the while hinting at something deeper.

Seasons 2 and 3 open things up a bit more, with the passengers of flight 828 hearing “callings” or visions of things about to go wrong before they happen. Unfortunately, there are more than a few people who believe that the passengers are a danger to humanity rather than a help, and do everything they can to contain and control them as well.

Now, I didn’t get to review season 4 when it released back in 2023, so I spent some time this last week binge watching it to get caught up, and my suspicions that I had going into the season came true. First and foremost, Manifest has always thrived at being a typical puzzle box show with a weekly look into how the people are doing, and tickling our mystery itch finding out what they find out this week. Much like J.J. Abrams TV shows (except for Fringe, which is his best work) 99% of the effort goes into the puzzle box mystery, and less about ANSWERING the questions brought up. It is what it is, I’ve enjoyed the show so far and I can live with that.

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The first half of season 4 gave us exactly what we we expected. More of Manifest that we’ve seen for 3 seasons, with more questions being asked, and more answers trickled out. Popcorn fun. The latter half of the season is where I feel it doesn’t really stick the landing. Maybe it was because showrunner Jeff Rake originally planned a six season arc (according to interviews) and his show got canceled before he could bring those plans to fruition, or maybe it was “puzzle box” syndrome. And by that I mean the writers get so busy writing mysterious to solve that they forget (or have no idea) how to actually tie things together. Meaning no major long term plans and the ending gets made up along the way. Either way, the last half of season 4 struggles as it tries to wrap up plot lines in rapid fire, and borders on disbelief with just how quickly things get finished off in the show. With 20 full episodes in the season, it ranks as one of the longest seasons to date, with Rake trying to stuff everything and the kitchen sink into those 20 episodes to wrap up his plot. End result, it is pretty decent. Things wrap up according to what Rake set out to do, but the pacing is pretty brutal in this last set. It is what it is.

As a serious overall I feel that I have to give it a 3.5/5 vs. the 4/5 rating I originally gave the 1st season. The show starts out very strongly (one of the best NBC starts in some time), but has trouble sticking the landing as you can tell there was either not enough time to wrap things up the way that Jeff Rake wanted, OR he had to figure out an ending out of the intricate puzzle layers that he backed himself into. It’s fun, but not revolutionary. It’s cheesy, but never painful. And it’s just general popcorn fun that people tune into to see what’s happening in the lives of the passengers.

Seasons 1 and 3 were reviewed by yours truly a few years back, so if you want to read more in depth about those particular seasons, you can check them out below

Manifest: The Complete First Season - DVD Review
Manifest: The Complete Third Season - DVD Review



Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :4stars:
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All 4 seasons have maintained a near perfect replica of the season before it video quality wise. It’s a digitally shot show in the modern era, with a nice looking DVD release. Warner puts seasons 1 and 4 onto 4 DVD-9s, while the 2nd and 3rd season (a bit shorter than the rest) get 3 apiece. Visuals look nice, with solid max bitrates for most episodes (though I noticed some dips into the 3 and 4 mbps range more often that I’d like). Luckily the disc is free of any major artifacts, with only the banding and the soft edges that MPEG2 encoded DVD is prone to. Noise spikes happen here and there, otherwise this is a clean and visually clear DVD presentation.










Audio: :4stars:
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The 5.1 Dolby Digital track has been equally consistent. In order to maximize video bitrate the show has utilized the lower bitrate 384kbps audio compression rate vs. the higher rate of 448 kbps (which usually just makes things a little thinner, and harsher to the ears SLIGHTLY), but still feels nice and punchy. Bass is nice and prominent throughout all of the dun dun dun mystery elements, and the dialog is clean and clear. Surrounds are busy, but never really awe inspiring (outside of that initial airport scene). It’s a solid mix, and one that doesn’t really forge new territory or expand the limits of Dolby Digital, but it does everything asked of a dramatic TV show with good aplomb.







Extras:
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Final Score: :3.5stars:


Manifest was a rather solid puzzle box mystery show (despite being delayed due to covid pretty heavily). It works the same angle that shows like Lost and The 4400 did, and really didn’t TRY to be anything different, or make itself stand out. But for some reason, it was entertaining. It didn’t have the same cult like following that Lost did years ago (which is probably a good thing, as expectations weren’t as insanely high so that the ending didn’t crush people like it did in Lost), but it was a solid popcorn show from beginning to end. The DVD boxset from Warner is simply all 4 seasons put into one of those giant clamshell cases that Warner and Paramount use for complete series (I loathe these cases btw, which is my only con for the series) so this will be a very cost effective and space saving way to grab the whole series for fans of the show.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Daryl Edwards
Created by: Jeff Rake
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: TV-14
Runtime: 3720 Minutes
DVD Release Date: June 4th, 2024
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Recommendation: Interesting Watch

 
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