Of all the movie-to-TV adaptations coming this fall, perhaps the most interesting is Limitless. While some early responses pinned the new CBS drama as potentially the weakest of the bunch, the first trailer helped change a lot of those thoughts.
Now, with the series premiering in a little over a week, the network has unveiled a new behind-the-scenes featurette, breaking down who the characters are, how the series is going to work, and essentially explaining why viewers should tune in. And, as the video is quick to point out, one of those reasons is that the series aims to feature appearances from Bradley Cooper.
It is within reason to suggest that Cooper's involvement in Limitless will help turn audiences on to the idea of the series. Claiming to be a continuation of a film is one thing - as FOX's Minority Report has done - but to actually feature the main character of the film on which the series is based is something else entirely. It's worth noting, however, that executive producer Alex Kurtzman chooses his words very carefully in the video, saying Cooper's "plan is definitely to return" to the series, and that "he's obviously a pretty busy guy with a pretty full schedule." What that means in terms of the frequency of Cooper's appearances is anyone's guess.
Nevertheless, Limitless isn’t the first show to try this, it’s just one of the first to make it out of the pilot stage. Some may recall that CBS attempted a Beverly Hills Cop series with The Shield’s Shawn Ryan onboard as writer and producer. The concept behind that series featured Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley in a recurring role alongside the character’s son Aaron, played by Brandon T. Jackson (Tropic Thunder). Had that show made it to series, Limitless might not have been able to use potential guest appearances by an A-list star as a marketing tool so effectively. But it didn’t, so here we are.
The premise of Limitless seems to fit nicely into the standard CBS case-of-the-week format, as the video makes it clear the series' main character, Brian Finch (Jake McDorman), winds up working as a consultant for the FBI - kind of like Sherlock Holmes on performance-enhancing drugs. The concept of the show is also not too far removed from other CBS procedurals - like Numbers and the currently running Scorpion, for example - featuring genius characters who help stop evildoers on behalf of some kind of government entity.
Whether or not Limitless fits well alongside the latter of those examples, as a Monday-Tuesday one-two punch, remains to be seen, but there’s reason to be hopeful for what’s to come.
Limitless premieres Tuesday, September 22nd at 10/9c on CBS.