Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Limitless

LIMITLESS | Prime, 8.30 Wednesday


By Doug Coutts

You know it’s not going to be a good day when men in black overcoats start chasing you … the best thing to do is run down to the subway station and try your best to lose yourself amongst the teeming throng of film crews shooting chase sequences.

And so begins Limitless. Except the action stops just at a crucial point and the hero starts giving the back-story in voiceover. It is the pilot I suppose.

So anyway the hero – we’ll call him Brian because that’s his name – has had a bit of a troubled past and has turned out to be what Donald Trump would call a loser.

To be fair, Trump calls everyone that but in this case he’s right on the money. Then one day Brian is offered a helping hand, and the hand contains a pill – a jump start called NZT.

As Brian says, what does he have to lose? I guess we’ll find out later in the show. But right now, Brian’s brain, which previously has been operating at 10% efficiency – much like 10 Donald Trumps – is going full bore.

His superfast processing power not only lets him get two weeks’ worth of temp work done in two hours but it magically lets him see into the future – a condition known to science as a Flimsy Premise.

As we all know, drugs that can produce a Flimsy Premise can have serious side effects. And pretty soon they start piling up, starting with Serious Plot Credibility Issues.

To be fair, not everyone is as susceptible to SPCI as perhaps I am, but when Brian decides not to call the police, the symptoms of Cliché Overuse Syndrome and Déjà Vu kick in. I’ll be going cold turkey on this one.

What other critics said:

“Yes, there have been a lot of television characters, especially crime fighters, with heightened abilities: Sherlock Holmes and Adrian Monk with their observational skills, Carrie Wells of Unforgettable with her total recall, and so on. But Limitless retains the flippant style of the movie, especially in Brian’s voice-overs, which distinguishes it from many of the others.” — New York Times.

“A fast-paced, sure-footed pilot that tells the same essential story as the film …. Whatever chemistry the two leads have will not be enough to separate Limitless from the stack of new and returning high-concept procedurals.” — Los Angeles Times.

“Like many CBS dramas, Limitless is made with aggressive competence … There’s a cinematic sheen borrowed from Neil Burger’s film … but there’s a depressing lack of originality, which quickly positions itself as a dull cop show despite its wackier sci-fi origins.” — The Atlantic

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at:

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One Response to “Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Limitless”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    February 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    This is the TV version of the Limitless film with Bradley whatshisface? That was pretty bad so not holding any hope for this.

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