Most of us, when a TV show we really love gets cancelled, maybe sulk about it for a bit. Or perhaps write a reproachful tweet. Bemoan the unfairness of life. Maybe buy the DVD box set and relive the memories — or wait for it to hit Netflix, at least. And then there are fans like those of the canceled, three-season NBC drama Manifest. A hearty band of hardcore loyalists who’ve gotten organized across multiple social media platforms (spurred on by Manifester-in-chief, show creator Jeff Rake), and who’ve mounted an all-hands-on-deck campaign to somehow bring about a Manifest Season 4.
What’s so extraordinary about this story is that they may be close to actually pulling this thing off. Reports have been swirling on Tuesday that Warner Bros. is taking another look at bringing the show back to NBC. And that Netflix is in the mix, as well. But here’s the thing. Even if this ultimately doesn’t pan out, the second life that the show has enjoyed post-cancellation has been truly something to behold.
Manifest Season 4
Here’s just one example. You know you’ve built quite a community of fans when they’re arranging paper airplanes, for crying out loud, to be sent to the NBC building at 30 Rock in New York City. As well as to Netflix headquarters in California.
✈️ DAILY #SAVEMANIFEST TASK 3⃣:
Send paper airplanes with #SaveManifest to Warner Bros TV, NBC and Netflix. As many as you can! We need to let our voices be heard!
4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91522 pic.twitter.com/XAK2O5Uvoh
— Save Manifest (@SaveManifest) July 20, 2021
Thematically, it’s certainly a fitting bit of outreach. The show is built around a flight of passengers who arrive at their destination, only to realize that they’ve “landed” five-and-a-half years in the future. NBC cancelled the show at the end of Season 3, leaving a ton of questions still unresolved. But the centrality of the mysterious Flight 828 to the show’s narrative makes clear why fans are now stepping up their advocacy for saving the show by launching … a paper airplane project.
Netflix, meanwhile, is a fitting destination for these paper airplanes. Because the show has, over the past month, quite simply been crushing it on the streamer. That’s why fans are hoping the streamer steps up and makes good on their wish for, at a minimum, a Manifest Season 4. Something that numbers like these presumably justify:
Audiences on @netflix spent over 2.5 billion viewing minutes with passengers onboard a mysterious flight. ✈️ #Manifest starring @melissaroxburgh, @JoshDallas, @JR8Ramirez, and @Misspkc takes the top spot in our new streaming rankings!
— Nielsen (@nielsen) July 15, 2021
Before we continue talking about the fans, though, we have to stop and say a word about Rake. Oftentimes, for those of us out in TV land who get the luxury of sitting back and consuming all this content, show creators are kind of like the paperboys of the business. They bicycle past our house, and just like those kids in the ancient world who used to fling newspapers as they peddle past, the creators sort of lob their show at us. It lands where it lands. The kid got paid whether you read the thing or used it to line a bird cage with. Meanwhile, they ride on.
To continue this metaphor, you get the sense after watching Rake’s fan engagement and efforts to save the show, that he — as the metaphorical paperboy, instead of a show creator — would have been a bit more hands-on. Rake would have knocked on your door, the newspaper rolled up under his arm. Maybe a box of chocolates in the other hand. He’d clean your house while you read the newspaper, then held a party when you finished. Then driven you around as you run whatever errands you need to take care of.
All of this is to say, the deep commitment from fans and the engagement from Rake go hand in hand. In recent weeks, as the show climbed Netflix’s Top 10 TV show ranking, Rake convened Manifest watch parties. I caught at least one “scavenger hunt” he hosted on Twitter. He’s answered fan questions. Shared behind-the-scenes anecdotes. And generally made the fans feel like they’re not just fans, but part of a community. Just open your Twitter app, and you’ll see what we mean. In the search box, type in “Manifest,” and it’ll pull up a long list of account names, with variants of “Save Manifest,” “Reshop Manifest,” or fan accounts professing love for this or that Manifest character in their account handle.
— Save Manifest (@SaveManifest) July 21, 2021
What’s so incredible is how grassroots this thing is, and how quickly it’s spread. Bottom line: Manifest fans may be about to find out that they possess a power they didn’t know they had: The ability to bring something back from the dead, through sheer force of will.
Per our sister publication Deadline, NBC is taking a look at possibly renewing the show. Netflix is also reported to be quietly talking to Warner Bros., about a Manifest Season 4 on the streamer.
Again, this is nowhere close to a done deal yet. But if it does happen, it will partly be the result of good luck. Some unplanned schedule-shifting at NBC has created holes in terms of NBC’s schedule and budget. And, also, the fact that it’s been a Netflix Top 10 show for more than a month (Manifest is currently #3 as I type this), explains why Netflix feels compelled to see if something can be worked out here.
So there you have it. Fans of this show seem to be closer than ever to, you’ll forgive the pun, manifesting a new season into existence.
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