A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Limitless is set several years after the events of the feature film that inspired it and centers on a mysterious, mind-enhancing drug with addicting powers. (The main character is technically a drug user but uses his abilities to help others, making ethical compromises in pursuit of the greater good.) You'll see some intense moments of violence, including shootings with some blood, as well as light sexual tension between characters. You'll also hear words such as "damn" and "ass."
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What's the story?
When a well-meaning friend slips struggling musician Brian Finch (Jake McDorman) a dose of NZT-48 -- a mysterious drug that unlocks his mind and pushes his brainpower to unprecedented levels -- his intelligence is LIMITLESS, and he jumps at the chance to save his ailing father (Ron Rifkin) with his newfound mental prowess. But there's a catch: The seemingly magic drug has a limited supply and only lasts for 12 hours, and the side effects can be deadly. Enter FBI agent Rebecca Harris (Jennifer Carpenter), who first tracks Finch as a murder suspect but soon realizes he isn't a criminal -- and that his powers can be put to good use if he keeps popping pills.
Is it any good?
It would’ve been easy to take the 2011 Bradley Cooper thriller Limitless and transfer its plot to a much smaller screen, but this slick adaptation made the decision to be a bit more original. By setting the TV show several years after the events of the film and building in regular cameos from Cooper himself -- who reprises his movie role (albeit in a minor capacity) and doubles as the show's executive producer -- this continuation of the Limitless brand plays like an effectively smart sequel, using the story that spawned it as a springboard rather than a blueprint.
That's not to say that this Limitless is without its limits: If you peel away the shiny exterior, you'll find a pretty standard crime drama with predictable formulas. But Limitless at least gives us a charismatic hero and a complex set of questions to ponder concerning addiction, motivation, and moral compromise, with the potential to become more addicting as the story unfolds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's main character and his complicated relationship with NZT. Does Brian's dependence on the drug make him an addict? What are the consequences of his usage, and how do his problems compare to those of real-life drug addicts? Where's the line between use and abuse when it comes to drugs?
How does Limitless the TV show compare to Limitless the feature film? What changes did the show's creators make to the movie's plot to tailor the story for television? Do those changes work, and why or why not?
How does Brian measure up as a role model? Is it OK to break the law if the intentions behind your actions are good?
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