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Friday, October 2, 2015

Limitless TV 1.2: Genghis Khan Gene

Limitless was a fine movie, released in 2011, starring Bradley Cooper as a guy whose intelligence is augmented to genius+ level by a drug NZT.   The movie was fast, funny, serious, and mainly featured Cooper's character Eddie Morra using his enhanced intellect to best a mobster, get back the love of his life, and turn the tables on a brilliant corporate exec played by Robert De Niro.

Limitless the television series, which debuted on CBS last week, shows signs in its first two episodes of being even better.  First and foremost, the series tells the story of Brian Finch, who also takes NZT, and his work with FBI, in particular with Agent Rebecca Harris, played by Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter.   The pace of the series is also fast and funny - Brian puts together a video compilation to help solve a crime, and puts in a little background music, because it's "cooler" - and takes on some cutting-edge issues, just the other side of the real into the realm science fiction (which makes sense, given that NZT is itself science fiction).   The story in episode 1.2, for example, features a virus designed to target descendants of Genghis Kahn, a prolific breeder.

But what makes this television series really notable is the way it integrates the movie.  The story of Eddie Morra - still played by Bradley Cooper, itself a real coup for television - indeed picks up on TV right where it concluded in the movie, with Morra a US Senator from the state of New York.   He supplies Brian with an injection that makes Brian immune to the destructive physical consequences of longterm NZT use, and proceeds to use that to run Brian.  But Morra's ultimate agenda is not yet clear in the TV series - which adds a layer of suspense and tension above the difficulties Brian has with his family and the FBI.

I can't recall a spinoff or sequel or remake ever set up or rolled out like this, and that alone would make me want to see how all of this develops.  But Limitless the TV series on its own is first-class viewing, and I'll be back with reviews throughout the season.  (Thanks to my Facebook friend Cie McCullough for calling my attention to the series.)


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