Pilot Season Showdown: Limitless, Episode 1 Review

Feel like you’ve heard the word Limitless used as a title of something before? Well that’s because this new show is based off the Bradley Cooper film in 2011. Remember the one? Yeah, that one. So how does it shape up on the little screen. The writers start off using the same basic formula as in the film: we meet Brian Finch, an ordinary guy that has let life pass him by in his pursuit of being a musician. As his father gets ill he takes up a job as a temp in a bank where he meets his old friend Eli, and finally reveals that he hasn’t been productive in over a year.

When Eli offers him a pill to give him ‘a jump start’ it finally makes him more productive, as he runs around being the smartest kid in on the block. He figures out his father’s illness but it sends him on a spiral to need more pills which then makes him the main suspect for Eli’s death. Using the NZT helps him to track down where to get more pills. He goes to the FBI agent on his trail to convince her that he isn’t behind the murder and goes after the last man to get more NZT.

When he turns one of Eli’s colleagues was the murderer he tries to patch up the wound himself and ends up passed out. When he wakes up he finds himself face to face with Bradley Cooper. His character’s now on the way to even running for President. He offers Brian the chance to have as much NZT has he wants, in exchange for never telling anyone about the conversation they’re having. takes the offer and manages to find the pills.

When the FBI realises that he’s immune to the side effects to the NZT Rebecca suggests that he comes to work for them so they can utilise his good skills whilst being able to study hi,. He agrees in exchange for a new liver for his father.

As pilots go, Limitless has its upsides and downsides. If we haze past the now ignored belief that we could somehow utilise more of our brains and we suspend belief, the show can get quite fun. Bradley Cooper’s star turn does a lot for a pilot that may at the worst be called a tad popcorn cheesy. We finally get some mysteriousness injected into the second half, but if suggestions that Brian becomes a consultant makes him some kind of bearded Sherlock 2.0, I’m still on the fence about how it could turn out. There were moments when the voiceover dialogue and analysis made me cringe, and he doesn’t have the panache yet to make his mental transition convincing, no matter how effective the tonal colour change on screen. That being said, I did enjoy it with a charismatic lead in Jake McDorman and fairly simple but endearing plot – but one pilot a show does not make, and it still remains to be seen if Limitless can expound on its potential.

3/5 = ‘Give it another shot next week.’

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