I have pretty much given up on new TV series. In general, I don't agree with the morals displayed or the political and social philosophies that they push. But I cannot resist checking out the occasional TV series where the trailers show something intriguing. Manifest was one of those series.
A plane full of people disappear for five years then land. The people on the plane did not age, and they weren't aware they were not landing the day they took off. The lead characters are a family that split up before the plane took off to take advantage of an airline offer for taking a later flight. That includes a pair of twins (one male, one female), the parents, and I think the husband's sister.
Well, the plane blows up a day or two later. Several of the passengers hear voices that tell them to do things that help people. And one of the doctors on board notices a new blood marker in several of the flyers. Of course, the NSA seems to think this is a national security crisis and tends to view all of the passengers as suspects (weird).
So far, so good. It's a kind of sci-fi mystery that is intriguing to me.
Now to the most recent episodes. First, we find out one of the flight attendants smuggled a relative's boyfriend on the plane, and they are now hiding him from the NSA (and I presume ICE). He's an obvious illegal immigrant. To enhance diversity, I think he is gay. The flight attendant is a lesbian. They make the smuggled guy out to be very sympathetic. So several social justice themes there. I'm not into social justice in my TV series. I want to be entertained. I'm looking for the sci-fi mystery plot to be extended.
Next, we have the husband's sister who is a police officer. She was engaged to another officer who was apparently at times her partner. During the five years, her fiancee got promoted to detective and married her best friend. She was obviously distressed. But she hears voices and helps find/rescue victims. But she doesn't always understand what the voice tells her, so we see a couple of missteps. The last one destroys a sting operation. Her detective/partner/former fiance takes the fall, and he may lose his job. Disturbingly, she won't explain the voices to him, apparently thinking the NSA is a bigger threat than the consequences of honesty. But the most disturbing point is that her father (he appears to be in his 60's) tells her since she still loves the detective, she should pursue him even though he's married. To me, that's moral offense number one. Its a very offensive plot detail.
The next issue is that the twin's mother got a boyfriend during the missing five years, and apparently they became close lovers. She, and the daughter who was with her, hide this from the returning husband/father. That part's a little believable; though it doesn't say a lot about what they think of the husband's ability to understand and forgive. The problem is that she simply ignores the former lover's messages. When he becomes insistent, she finally tells him she has decided to carry on with her marriage. But in this last episode, he shows up at her door, and she lets him in. Maybe they are doing this for the tension. But it sure looks like the plot trajectory is going to have her be unfaithful to her husband in the present. Maybe I'm wrong. But it's an irritating plot line and it could become offensive to me.
So, instead of a straight sci-fi mystery series, we get a melodrama with social justice themes and potential gutter morals that have become too common on TV. I'll record the next few episodes, but will stop watching live. Then I'll check out whether the plot evolves in a way that I can live with.
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