ELN: ‘Magnum’ misfires; ‘Manifest’ makes safe landing

Monday evening began my trek through the fall TV season. As new and returning shows begin to bloom, the balancing act of what to watch live, watch later and never watch again commences. Monday evening gave me a reboot and mystery in CBS’ Magnum P.I. and NBC’s fantastical Manifest.

250px-Magnum_P.I._Cast Wiki
Original Magnum P.I. cast. Courtesy of Wikipedia

The original Tom Selleck vehicle has been returned for 2018 – yet it felt like I was watching a series already set in syndication. Jay Hernandez takes the helm as John Magnum; former military operative and POW turned private investigator in Hawaii. Each supporting character returns – TC and Rick – with a gender twist for British accomplish Higgins.

The pilot introduces each character – with the unnecessary narration from Magnum – as they solve a mystery too close to home. Their comrade is kidnapped and murdered by some villainous employers. While the authorities don’t want Magnum snooping around their investigation, he simply can not let this go. Unfortunately viewers never quite grasp the emotional weight this incident has on our group.

Between some very stale dialogue and hokey comic relief, Magnum meddles his way to a solution that feels too rushed. Procedurals are CBS’ bread and butter, but not sure if it works for me. Why not make the friend’s death the series long mystery in-between handling other cases? Perhaps that’s what they have in mind. I’m just not sure I’ll be around long enough to find out.

Manifest - Pilot
Courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Switching networks and genres, NBC debuted it’s science fiction-Lost-compared Manifest. When a flight from Montego Bay lands in NYC, the 180 passengers are stunned to learn they have been missing for five years. As they readjust to life in 2018, they come to grips with an unexplainable gift of premonition. Was this occurrence a freak of a nature, or are more sinister hands at play.

We’re introduced to the story through the eyes of two siblings who realize life proceeded on without them. Their mother passed; a fiancé remarried; and, one child grew as her twin brother remained the same age.

Although predictable at parts, I think the series will improve. I hope we expand to other passengers’ vantage points of the phenomenon, allowing a diverse set of stories. It’s no Lost but it could see a second season if they embrace expanding the narrators.

CBS’ Magnum P.I. airs Monday evenings @ 9 p.m. ET Manifest airs on NBC at 10 p.m. ET

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