NBC's Manifest has a big Thursday. Not only did the Season 4 finale air, but the first two seasons were made available on Netflix. However, the future of the science fiction drama remains as in flux as the show's central mystery about Montego Air Flight 828. NBC has not renewed or canceled the show for a fifth season yet.
Manifest remains one of the few shows on NBC's bubble after it canceled Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist earlier in the week. It also canceled another high-concept series, the little-watched freshman show Debris. This could be a good sign for Manifest if NBC still wants to keep at least one sci-fi show on the schedule. Plus, Manifest was by far the most-watched show among NBC's bubble shows. In May, Deadline reported that NBC wanted to wait a few weeks before deciding Manifest's future because Season 3 began late. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic production delays, Season 3 didn't start until April 1. It also only ran 13 episodes, the same as Season 2. Season 1 included 16 episodes.
The show also has a unique behind-the-scenes story. It was developed at Warner Bros. TV under Susan Rovner, who sold it to NBC. She later joined NBCUniversal as content chief last year. The series is a Warner Bros. TV and Universal TV co-production. "We are having conversations with Susan," Warner Bros. TV Group Chair Channing Dungey told Deadline in May. "We would love for the show to continue on NBC. We are still in conversations with NBC and keeping our fingers crossed."
Manifest begins when the 191 passengers of Montego Air Flight 828 return to New York City, only to learn they have been missing for over five and a half years, but they haven't aged a day. The ensemble cast includes Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, Matt Long, and Holly Taylor. The series was created by Jeff Rake.
Back in 2018, Rake told Collider he mapped out six seasons for the show, which he first conceived 10 years before the show debuted. "In my first incarnation, I did basically have a sense of the ultimate end game, but as anyone who watches or writes television knows, there’s a long way from the beginning to the end," Rake said at the time. "Over the course of the years, after I was unsuccessful in getting anyone to bite at the concept, it spent a few years on the shelf. And then, I would noodle with it, and give it more shelf time. And then, I would try to get a producer interested, and noodle with it. Ultimately, I was lucky enough to get Warner Brothers and NBC excited about it last summer."
"Over the years, I certainly iterated on it throughout," Rake continued. "I found some important middle plateaus. And then, it came to me in one fell swoop. The many layers that I intend to bring to the show have been the result of my own contemplating, over the years. Now that I’m working with eight incredibly talented writers in the room with me, I have the benefit of collaborating with all of them to fill in all the gaps in between." Manifest is also available to stream on Peacock and Hulu.