CBS have made waves in the TV industry by making a rather interesting business decision. They have released the pilot episode of their newest show early…for free. But you see the thing is to watch it you have to sign up to their new streaming service called All Access. It is an archive of thousands of CBS shows including The Big Bang Theory and NCIS as well as a place to watch their stuff live. Releasing the Limitless premiere early on there is obviously a ploy to get people to try the service and with any hope get them hooked on it with the desired result being that they stay a member after the free trial runs out. More and more companies are noticing the surge in popularity of online streaming services. Using an online platform as a place for fans to get their entertainment anytime has proven very lucrative for a lot of corporations. The exact format has been used in the pro wrestling industry, WWE have their WWE Network, it is a place to watch live content as it happens as well as every archived match ever. They too have events where it is free for the month of a big PPV, the hope being that people will use the free month, get hooked on it and stay a subscriber.
However, I digress, let’s get down to brass tacks. We of course are here to talk about the season premiere of Limitless. You may or may not be aware that Limitless was actually a movie starring Bradley Cooper (who appears in this episode) back in 2011. This TV series is a direct follow-on from that movie. It is set in the same cinematic universe and features the characters from the movie, this fact is established early on when Bradley Cooper’s character can be seen on a poster. He later shows up in person in a way that I thought was very satisfying.
What is clear from the beginning of this episode is how much effort has been put into it making this show as aesthetically interesting as possible. It is really well shot with some very interesting effects for example when the main character is coming down off the drug everything looks grey and bland. But after the NZT is taken the contrast is thrown all the way up making every colour much brighter. The show looks like a video game in some sequences. Which I imagine is what the producers were going for, given that being on the NZT drug is like having the cheat codes in the video game of life. I love a TV show that doesn’t just show the character going from point A to point B in a really simple bland way. A TV show is more enjoyable if it includes effects in a way that makes the experience feel more immersive. It was good to see Bradley Cooper’s character from the movie appear once again, I am actually really surprised that they went with this. It is rare that you see huge movie stars like Cooper show up on a TV show, it is nice to see. It is especially exciting that he has said that he will most definitely be a series regular. The dialogue and acting combined to really sell to audiences the idea that these people are on a higher plane of thought. The scene in which Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper’s character) tries to convince Brian to join him was really cool. Especially as we get to understand more about what the drug can do. The effect when he describes the ability to remember what it was like being in his mother’s womb was really weird, they actually showed a graphic of a baby in the womb with his mouth moving along with Eddie’s words.
I like that at the beginning of this episode Brian is Bradley Cooper’s character from the film. If you compare Bradley Cooper at the start of the movie to Jake McDorman’s character at the beginning of this episode you will see that they even dress the same. Although having said that, at this point in the story Morra has used the drug to raise himself up in the world, he is now actually more like Robert De Niro’s character, we got a glimpse of this at the end of the movie. The Limitless season premiere took on a Sherlock vibe when it was suggested that he become a consultant for the police force. This series looks to become a sci-fi style take on the tale of the consultant detective. By the end of the episode the writers had set out the ground work for the coming season in an entertaining way. A pilot episode is supposed to give the audience an idea of the premise, style and the storylines that will be explored going forward. Mission accomplished.