Limitless Best Watched Out of Order

Bradley Cooper in Limitless on CBS
Bradley Cooper will rarely, if ever, be appearing in 'Limitless'. (Photo: CBS)

C’mon, you know it’s best not watched at all.

I’m digging this whole DVR thing.1 Haven’t quite figured out all the buttons and settings and such, but I’m a smart boy, I’ll learn. In the meantime, I accidentally recorded only the last 18 minutes of Limitless‘ pilot and didn’t pick up on this fact for ten minutes or so.

I have seen Limitless, the movie, but Limitless, the series, was forced to assume I hadn’t seen Limitless, the movie. It was forced to do this because it’s on CBS and their demographic research probably suggests an audience that doesn’t catch little indie pictures starring that Bradley Cooprick fellow and the guy who played the monster in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.

That’s slightly unfair to say. Catching an audience up on your world is a necessary evil in serial storytelling, although it was a little direct here.2 No, the compounding sin is really what led me to enjoy watching 18 minutes (minus commercial breaks, so 12?) much more than watching the entire show in its intended order. Limitless must figure there’s a limit3 to how many thoughts their audience can track during 42 minutes of television.

Jumping in in media res I had no difficulty figuring out little details like which handsome but scruffy guy was the protagonist, or that the bloodstained pill box meant the guy we saw being shot was taking the miracle drug. Thus there was a sense of discovery to some of the moments, a little enjoyment at the clever storytelling I thought I was seeing.

And it’s not because I’m all smart and use Latin in a write-up about yet another friggin’ CBS procedural. No, it’s that (most) audiences can piece this shit together themselves, certainly much more than the spoonfeeding crud of an introductory episode that was Limitless’ pilot gives them credit for being able to do, wombat. The worse part of all this I realize is it leaves good actors with little to do and who knows what became of the (more) interesting directors and writers from even things like the first season or two of CSI. 

Please, network TV, you’ve done procedural stuff more interestingly, and elevated what could be ‘just’ procedurals into a decent serialized format before. Why can’t you effing do it more often?

And, seriously, why did getting my hopes tickled by watching the wrong 18 minutes of Limitless work me into such a lather here?4

  1. Next up – cellular telephones. They just might be the future.  
  2. That FBI person lady(?) behind the desk was almost certainly from the exposition department.  
  3. *There’s* the bit you were all expecting, eh?  
  4. BTW, I *did* watch the entire episode, from the beginning, even though four minutes in (to the full episode) it was apparent where things were going.  

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About Aaron Mucciolo 206 Articles
He does things. That's all we can say at this time. E-mail: mooch@whatelseison.tv