The problem with any show that boasts a long-term plan for a mysterious, twisting, mythology-heavy storyline is that, all too often, that story leaves viewers hanging when a network decides it’s not going to renew it. Plenty of network shows with passionate, if not huge, fanbases have been frustrated when a climactic season-ender turns out to be a series-ender with many unanswered questions and that intended story far from complete. Others wonder if there really was a long-term plan or whether incomplete storylines are merely a way to encourage renewal.
Last year NBC cancelled Emergence after one run and now, a couple of weeks after cancelling Debris after its first season, comes the news that – just as the world prepares to get on planes again – NBC will be grounding another of its genre shows, Manifest.
Manifest told the story of a group of plane passengers who land back in the US, only to discover that their flight has been ‘missing’ for five years. It seems inexplicable, but it becomes even more bizarre when some of those passengers start receiving warnings or messages or ‘callings’ which seem to be necessary as part of their survival. It debuted to decent ratings in 2018, to the extent that extra episodes were ordered, taking it to sixteen episodes. However a hiatus that divided the first season somewhat hobbled its momentum – though its popularity meant a second season renewal for a further thirteen episodes. In 2020 it was renewed for another thirteen episodes which began broadcast in April 2021.
The season finished on 10th June and late on 14th June, NBC formally announced that they would not be moving forward with a fourth run, despite a cliff-hanger ending to the run.
Manifest‘s showrunner Jeff Rake tweeted that he hopes that the cancellation by NBC might not be quite the end of the journey. Though it’s often a long-shot, there are examples where other platforms have optioned to take over a series production.
“My dear Manifesters, I’m devastated by NBC’s decision to cancel us. That we’ve been shut down in the middle [of a planned six-season run] is a gut punch to say the least. Hoping to find a new home. You the fans deserve an ending to your story. Thanks for the love shown to me, cast, and crew. #savemanifest”