When I saw the Limitless pilot at San Diego Comic-Con, I thought it was good. I thought it was funny and it definitely had potential. I was extremely impressed by and engaged with the producers and what they had to say during our roundtable in the press room.
But I'll admit it -- I was concerned. Because the show was picked up by CBS, there is a certain stigma attached to it. Namely, that stigma is "procedural." Automatically, I often cringe at that word because it's synonymous, so often, with "formulaic" and "predictable." I say this, of course, as someone who watched CSI:NY for the vast majority of the time it was on the air and as a person who loved the original CSI, too. I enjoy procedurals (I watch The Blacklist, which I consider to be one of those and for a long time there, Sleepy Hollow was essentially a case-of-the-week series too), but they often leave something to be desired. They can become dry, like a hamster spinning around the same wheel, and mostly end up recycling plots from procedurals before (or, oftentimes even from earlier seasons of their own show).
So I was apprehensive, expecting that maybe Limitless would start out of the gate strong and its second episode would turn into the generic, predictable formula of a procedural that I have seen hundreds of times over dozens of years. And while there are elements of the series that tie it to a procedural in theme (the FBI, a case-of-the-week story structure, etc.), there are a lot more elements that set this show apart from everything I've seen recently on television. It is emerging in a market where there are more procedurals than ever fighting for our attention (you still have NCIS and its spinoffs, Criminal Minds, new series like Blindspot, returning veterans like Law and Order, hits such as The Blacklist and Scorpion, etc.), and there are a few things that have managed to set apart this show from all the rest. I thought I would discuss some of the elements within the first two episodes of Limitless alone that have made this series rise above a lot of new and returning series for me, while also explaining what I hope the series will continue to do.