A plane mysteriously goes missing mid-flight. Later, it reappears. For the passengers on board, it’s like it never happened. For everyone else, years have passed with the assumption that everyone on board was dead.
That’s the plot of Manifest, a new TV pilot ordered by NBC that’ll be produced by Robert Zemeckis.
Jeff Rake (executive producer of The Mysteries of Laura) wrote the show, which will focus on how that passage of time changes the lives of the people on board as well as, of course, why it happened in the first place. The idea of using a plane disaster to spawn dramatic mysteries obviously brings to mind ABC’s Lost, but it sounds like Manifest will be much more grounded than that show. No beaches, no smoke monsters—just one massive, unfathomable event and the fallout from it.
Zemeckis, of course, needs no introduction. He’s the director and co-creator of Back to the Future who won an Oscar for directing Forrest Gump. He’s produced a few TV series over the years, but nothing in several decades, and never anything that’s really stuck. This one, however, certainly has that potential.
By ordering the pilot, NBC has committed to one episode of the show. If the network likes it, it’ll get ordered to series, and that’s when the audience comes in. I hope the blend of Zemeckis and this great idea turns into something special.
*Correction: Originally we’d listed Jeff Rake as the creator of The Mysteries of Laura. He’s actually the executive producer and developer of the American remake of the show.