(QUICK) TV Review: LIMITLESS PILOT

By T. Mack

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The new CBS show, Limitless, is based on the 2011 movie of the same name about a man who discovers a drug, NTZ, that gives him superhuman intelligence. The movie starred Bradley Cooper, so the series now stars Jake McDorman, a man who looks and sounds almost exactly like Bradley Cooper. The pilot follows the same general plot a the film, but adds the ridiculous element of… SPOILER { the main character establishing a relationship with the FBI, who will supply him with this his daily dose of illegal drugs as long as he works as a consultant for them } END SPOILER

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See? Told you they look alike.

The pilot of Limitless was good, if a bit rushed. This was understandable since it was required to set up the same premise as the movie in half the time. Having watched the movie definitely helps viewers understand what’s going on but those who haven’t seen the film won’t be lost. As a matter of fact, those who’ve not watched the movie might like this episode better because they won’t have already seen the plot play out before.

Jake McDorman does a good enough job as the main character, Brian Finch, though that’s about all I can say regarding his performance. Jennifer Carpenter returns to TV as another law enforcement agent, this time with the FBI. It felt a little strange trying to wrap my head around her as anyone except Dexter‘s Debra Morgan. I kept expecting her to go into a profanity-laden tirade at any moment, but she never did. I’m sure I’ll get used to this new character in time. Bradley Cooper will recur on the show and appeared in the pilot to help set things up for Finch. His tie-in makes sense and doesn’t feel forced, which I previously feared it might.

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The use of lighting and effects in the storytelling of Limitless is kind of cool, as it was during the movie. However, it takes me back to a previous concern I mentioned during our last vlog: this show may end up costing more than the network is willing to pay long-term. I believe this show will have to pull in a greater audience than your average show might in order to make it past this first season.

It’s hard to know where Limitless will go and what to expect. I believe we are probably looking at a basic case-of-the-week premise, at least through this first season. And in the end, I don’t know that Limitless will end up being any more exceptional than all the other procedural shows that have super-smart protagonists solving cases. Don’t get me wrong. Those shows are great, but they are also numerous (Scorpion, Elementary, Criminal Minds, CSI, etc). Right now, I don’t see Limitless standing out from the rest.

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I’ll keep my DVR programmed to record the show each week, but I doubt I’ll be in a huge hurry to watch it. It will likely be the thing I turn to on Friday or Saturday when I’ve gone through all the other recordings from the week. While not bad, the show is also not exceptional. The movie it’s based off of was very original and unique. The series looks to be much less so. For that reason I’m reluctant to eagerly recommend everyone tune in to this program. If people do, they shouldn’t expect to see anything particularly unique. If folks are looking for something a bit different, I recommend Blindspot instead.

Rating: 3 SHIELDS

3 SG Shields

Did you watch the pilot of Limitless? Did you like it? How do you think it compared to the move? Do you think the premise is totally unique and will produce a stand-out show? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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