Did you hear the story about the fan-beloved TV series that shockingly disappeared from network TV and was presumed dead, only to be miraculously brought back to life on Netflix?
It happened (again).
Supernatural drama “Manifest” served its devout fans (known as Manifesters) a multiple cliffhanger-ending with its June 2021 Season 3 finale, only for NBC to cancel the show weeks later.
But after Netflix reruns showed “Manifest” as one of its most popular shows, the streaming giant has revived the “Lost”-like drama, starring Josh Dallas and Melissa Roxburgh as brother-sister passengers aboard the fateful Montego Airlines Flight 828 which mysteriously lands five years after taking off.
Netlfix’s new Season 4 of “Manifest” will properly end the series with a 20-episode, two-part season that begins Friday.
“Is this divine intervention?” asks Dallas, whose Ben Stone is the unofficial leader of the 828 passengers. “It would have been a cruel situation to leave these characters where they were left at Season 3’s end. Cruel to the audience and the actors.”
After its NBC cancelation: ‘Manifest’ takes flight on Netflix
“Manifest” is merely the latest example of the “Netflix effect,” when a high-profile show finds a new global audience on the streaming platform. YouTube’s “Cobra Kai,” Lifetime’s “YOU” and ABC’s “Designated Survivor” moved to the streaming behemoth with new episodes after being canceled, while Netflix has similar plans for the comedy “Girls5eva,” which Peacock canceled. And Netflix turned Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” and AMC’s “Breaking Bad” into hits after exposure on the platform.
The “Manifest” return was made possible by non-stop fan support for the tautly-executed three seasons of the sci-fi series, which follows Ben, former police officer Michaela (Roxburgh) and the other passengers contending with prophetic visions (“callings”) while searching for the meaning behind their disappearance.
The show’s Season 3 finale, which coincided with Netflix’s initial streaming of the first two seasons, unleashed the drama.
Ben’s wife Grace (Athena Karkanis) was tragically stabbed to death by 828 passenger Angelina (Holly Taylor), who kidnapped the couple’s baby Eden. And then there was the couple’s son Cal who appeared after suddenly aging five years, and the actual plane vanishing entirely from its secret government hangar.
‘Manifest,’ ‘The Rookie,’ ‘For Life’:What happened to your favorites in USA TODAY’s Save Our Shows poll
However, with ratings having dipped from giddy Season 1 heights, NBC canceled the unfolding series just four days later. As a shell-shocked Dallas announced on Instagram at the time, “I’m sorry to say that it’s the end of the line for now.”
Fans took to Twitter with the #SaveManifest hashtag, including luminaries such as Kourtney Kardashian, Demi Lovato and Stephen King. A GoFundMe petition pleading “We can’t lose Manifest, we just can’t!!!” has more than 90,000 signatures and “Manifest” was a favorite in USA TODAY’s “Save Our Shows” fan polling.
Fans also flocked to Netflix for their “Manifest” fixes. When the streaming giant launched its Weekly Global Top 10 lists on June 24, the “Manifest” seasons claimed two of the Top 5 slots.
“Those Netflix numbers for ‘Manifest’ took off and just kept climbing,” says Dallas. “It took us all by surprise, but such a thrill.”
After adding the third season, “Manifest” remained in Netflix’s Global English-language TV Top 10 for 20 weeks, beginning in July 2021.
“It was a Manifest lovefest, for sure,” says Peter Friedlander, who oversees Netflix’s North American scripted series, adding that the streaming release and fan reaction “worked together to create this global conversation and this perfect storm.”
On Aug. 28, 2021, appropriately at 8:28 a.m., Netflix announced it had resurrected a new fourth “Manifest” super-season, concluding the Flight 828 story.
“I was just so relieved and excited,” says Dallas, who was deep into a TV cancellation beard, which executive producer Jeff Rake decided would be key for the world-despairing Stone in Season 4.
“By the time we got picked up by Netflix, Jeff was like, ‘Keep that beard, we’re going to use it,’ ” says Dallas. “But the show didn’t skip a beat, maybe a couple months out of our normal pattern.”
The 20-episode season is the longest for “Manifest” and picks up two years after the Season 3 finale. But the only differences to the format are the ability to curse, because the show no longer airs on broadcast TV, and slightly longer episodes without commercials.
“We’re delivering the same episodes, with the same twists,” says Dallas.
While Stone might look exhausted and tearful during the show’s constant high-stake scenarios, Dallas says he’s thrilled and looking forward to ending “Manifest” in a proper manner.
“We’re telling the whole story that Jeff intended to tell. It’s going to leave audiences and fans surprised and shocked,” says Dallas. “But I think they’re going to be really satisfied with the ultimate ending.”
Story Credit: usatoday.com