I have been waiting a LONG GODDAMN TIME to punish review this show.

My wife forced me to keep watching Manifest (2018-2022) despite the regular retching noises from my end of the couch. I too share the blame because, in the tiny section of my brain where hope yet lingers, I thought “Yeah maybe it won’t continue to suck” but I was wrong.

So wrong.

Manifest is Christian propaganda.

Christian propaganda so dogmatic I have to repeat myself.

Short precis: Plane reappears after 5.5 years lost. Passengers struggle to return to their old lives for various banal reasons (wife now rooting new bloke, etc) but mostly because they now have divine paranormal abilities. Mostly, they share “callings” which by S03 are a chance at redemption. Because science is evil. Science has no answers. Faith, on the other hand, will save them all. Like faith has done with ‘rona in real life, I guess…

Flight 828, geddit?

Jeff Paul Rake is responsible.

This is perplexing, because JPR wrote Boston Legal which wasn’t at all shit. I’m not sure what happened after 2008, maybe JPR fell through the ice and narrowly survived a drowning. Whatever it was, JPR found (or re-found) god. It infects his script with a strident, almost hysterical anti-science message.

Not subtle, Jeff.

The Book of Jeff has chapters to go: He’s resurrected the dead, hinted at a biblical flood, so it will be the second coming next, then judgment day. S04 is twenty fucking episodes long AND there’s no guarantee this smug Christian polemic will end with S04 either. Rake admits he’s written at least six seasons, which prompts random Shakespearean misquotation:

“Why do you show me this? A fourth! Start, eyes!

What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?

Another yet! A seventh season? I’ll see no more.” (Act 4, scene 1, 112–117)

Melissa Roxburgh has a jaw that could scuttle an aircraft carrier.

While its unkind to make fun of people with macrognathia, or acromegaly, or whatever the fuck she’s got, my wife summarised Jaws imperfectly: “She’s almost beautiful”. Her looks are irrelevant, woman: Jaws can’t act! She should be flipping hamburgers with her chin at a roadside cantina in Texas. Olá! I don’t blame Jaws for poor character development (Jeff), but I do find her unconvincing.

Plus, every time she turns to face the camera I want to duck.

Josh Dallas caught my wife’s interest until he took his shirt off. The Professor dons fake glasses for added professorial credibility, but his attempts at manly action are undermined by all that hairspray and his nasally alto shouts of “He’s my son! He’s my son!”

I can’t link my wife’s summary (“He should’ve kept his shirt on”) to any particular scene because I fell asleep every time the Professor started talking.

JR Ramirez as Detective Jared, on the other hand, held my wife’s attention.

I heard her cooing sympathetically at the Detective’s plight when true-love Jaws returned from the dead and he, lusty Cuban stallion that he is, mounted her immediately despite being engaged/married to Jaws’ best-friend!

OH MY GOD right?

Infidelity is biblically bad, but my wife forgives him.

Then there’s poor Zeke.

He wasn’t on the plane, but has been hijacked by god nonetheless. I’m thinking of calling him “Remora’ because all he does is suck-up to Jaws. And that whole ’empath’ thing with the wobbly camera? C’mon. Matt Long the actor hasn’t had much luck getting roles, so I hope S04 gives him something a bit meatier than house-husbanding for Jaws until she decides to dump him for true-love Detective Jared.

I wanted to avoid mentioning the “kids”, but Jack Messina (Cal) is baby Jesus with the super-dooperest powers, and his twin sister Luna Blaise (Olive) is the reason why boys aged 12 to 75 are watching this rubbish.

I’ll add in their mother Athena Karkanis (Grace), only because somebody finally had the good sense to stab the dull bitch at the end of S03. One-dimensional = expendable. PLUS it means the Professor can finally take his shirt off with…

The resident supermodel.

Parveen Kaur as Saanvi Bahl is a doctor who must ultimately admit defeat, abase herself and seek atonement for her mortal sins or some silly god-bothery shit.

I had great hopes for the Supermodel.

Fun fact, Parveen Kaur’s entire acting career has been a lesson in typecasting — she’s been Porti, Anu, Geeta, Gupta, Asha, Savita and ‘Jewellery Store Woman’. I’m still waiting to see the Supermodel in the black coat of paint she wears in the opening credits; so far it’s just been labcoat, labcoat, labcoat, oooh! skinny jeans!

There are many, many, oh so many more characters who annoy me, but I’m saving this last slot for the one who doesn’t.

Daryl Edwards as NSA Director Robert Vance is the only convincing actor in the series. His story arc is complex, his character development is intriguing. I just don’t understand why Jeff couldn’t do the same to the others. Because Vance isn’t converted yet, I dread what Jeff’s got planed for him in S04 (Wikihow: How to Accept Jesus Into Your Life in 13 Easy Steps!).

Watch out Vance.

Lastly, I applaud anyone who tries to reconcile the innately oxymoronic concept of Christian Science Fiction. No applause, then, for Jeff Paul Rake, who didn’t try to find the middle-ground with this didactic, grindingly unsubtle Christian propaganda piece.

He just fished around on christianbabynames.com for Calvin, Ezekiel, Angelina, Benjamin, Grace, Olive and Michaela, and went from there.

Our world has never needed science more.

It’s telling that Manifest’s audience has dwindled from 10 million viewers per episode to less than three. Great social media campaign to persuade a network to pick it up, just a pity this didn’t happen for a truly great series like Firefly (2002-2003).

Absolutely last, I cheered up a little at some of the 18 reviews for Manifest on Common Sense Media.org. Read some truly kooky Christian shit here.

My favourite is a lady who gave the series (after watching one episode) two stars — which is one more than I’d give it, but for different reasons than mine. Here’s her opinion:

That is just so god-damned funny.

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