Jun 15, 2021

The Top 7 Hunks of "Manifest"

(2018-2021) was on my Vudu wish list for a long time.  I was intrigued by the premise of an airplane taking off from Jamaica in 2013 and landing in New York five years later, but it might be dreadful, so I didn't want to risk spending $20 on a full season.  But it just dropped on Netflix for free, so I turned on the first episode.

Scene 1: A crowded airport terminal. where a nauseatingly perfect extended family is waiting for their flight home from a vacation to Jamaica.  20-ish Michaela introduces them:

Her older brother Ben (Josh Dallas, below) and his wife Grace, "still in love after 15 years," smiling at each other like this is the last scene of a romcom.

Their annoyingly cute preteen tykes, Cal and Olive, one of whom has a tearjerker disease.

Her elderly parents, still in love after 40 years, cuddling.  Whoa, they're pulling out all the Hallmark Card tropes.  

Mom interrupts the Hallmark Card tropes to tell Michaela that she should marry Jared, even after what he did: "Even people who make mistakes deserve happiness."  Help!  I'm suffocating under all the smarm!

But it doesn't end.  Mom's evidence that Michaela should forgive Jared and marry him: Romans 8:28 (King Jamess Version): "All things work together for good."  Why does she omit the rest: "To those who love God, who are called according to His purpose."  Does she not want to come out as a fundamentalist Christian so soon in the series?

Darn, the flight is overbooked (I still can't figure out how that practice is legal. Buying a ticket to a baseball game or concert reserves you a seat.)  So some of the family decides to take a later flight for the $100 voucher.  Only Michaela, older brother Ben, and tearjerker tyke Cal get on doomed flight 828.

Scene 2: The flight.  Halfway through there's major turbulence, but otherwise it's uneventful, except we may see passengers who will become important later.  But when the pilot contacts New York to request landing clearance, things get weird: "Which flight is this, again?  WHAT????  Hang on, I have to get my supervisor....and call the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and the White House....."

Scene 3:  The plane is diverted to a small airfield north of New York, where an endless group of dour-looking government goons is waiting to yell at the pilots: "What terrorist group do you belong to?  Why did you hold the passengers hostage?   Where were you keeping them?  Why did you bring them back?"  Eventually they start terrorizing the passengers, too, before figuring out that no one knows what happened.  They just started the flight in 2013, and ended it in 2018 without aging.

Scene 4:  Loved ones who thought the passengers were dead run like mad into a vast hanger, which is pressed tight with thousands of heterosexual nuclear families hugging and crying.  Michaela, Ben, and Cal reunite with their loved ones, and drive home to the house with the 23,000 family photos and the pillow embroidered with "All Things Work Together for Good."

 Dad tells them that, in the intervening years, Mom got sick and died: "She fought like hell.  You kids meant everything to her"  I hate that kind of rhetoric, like fighting the inevitable makes you so superior to the pitiful weaklings who practice calm acceptance.  Anyway, shouldn't she have accepted it as part of God's Plan?

 Grace, Ben's wife, is still around...but things are complicated.  Their daughter Olive is now a teenager, which freaks Cal out. 

Jared (J.R. Ramirez), whom Michaela was thinking of marrying, isn't there: he's moved on with his life and married someone else.  But he promised to drop by to say hello later.  Ten to one they get back together.

At this point I was too overcome by the nuclear family tearjerkery to continue.  I just checked IMDB to see what fundamentalist Christian organization bankrolled this series.

There are about 300 producers, but the creator and executive producer is Jeff Rake, who also produced Beauty and the Beast and The Cashmere Mafia.  His IMDB bio doesn't say which seminary he graduated from.

Then I went through the character list on wikipedia to see if there were any hunks.  Not much luck.  

1. Ben, an "associate professor."  I'm surprised the writers know the difference between assistant, associate, and full professors (associates have tenure).  Don't they think of higher education as evil, promoting secularism and atheism?

2. Jared.  Hey, Michaela and Jared are both cops.  I thought they were college students.

3. Zeke (Matt Long), who was trapped in a cave during a blizzard.  When he emerged, a year had passed on the outside: during the three years of the series, we see several time-jumps.  The main plots are about determining whether they are part of a secret government project or part of God's Plan.

That's it for the main characters.  Supporting characters include the pilot, the director of the NSA, and the captain of the precinct where Michaela works (apparently it's easy to get your old job back), but none of them have beefcake photos available.

4. Tim (Tim Moriarty), the deputy director of the NSA.  This is Tim Morarity the fitness model.  They may be the same person.

5. Danny (Daniel Sujata, top photo), who Grace dated while thinking that her husband Ben was dead.  Are they still legally married?  

6. TJ (Garrett Wareing), a passenger who become close to Olive and starts helping the Stones research what happened on the flight.

7.  Levi (Will Peltz), an underwear model...um, I mean archaeology professor who apparently got his Ph.D. at age 12.  He helps Ben decipher some ancient scrolls with clues to the mystery.  


  1. Daniel Sujata played the gay baseball star in " Take Me Out" a play that should have been a movie by now- it features a lot of male nudity.

  2. I watched seasons 1 and 2 of 'Manifest' on a regular TV-channel. One or two episodes a week is the best way to digest it. The first episode is indeed quite heavy on the family, I presume to let everybody know: "They are going to get through this". But the rest of the series is more about the mystery of the time jump, supernatural visions and/or helping a passenger or crew member of the plane (usually only one per episode). The mystery is kept afloat for a pleasantly long time. But towards the end of season 2 it seems to veere in the direction of divine intervention. One of the main characters happens to be a lesbian, but we only find out after a long time when she tries to get her ex back. A big surprise for some viewers, but I shrugged my shoulders.


No comments that use abusive or vulgar language or point out that a character is Not Wearing a Sign. DO NOT use the term "homosexual." Don't worry if a photo does not depict the person mentioned; beefcake is beefcake.

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