Good ideas let down by inefficacy

Helen Milner
Helen Milner
The world is full of very good ideas for things that would just be excellent if only they would work.

They include magic skin creams that would actually make you look younger, and a good cure for cancer.

Limitless uses one of these good ideas - a pill that allows you to use all your brain, not just the 20% (or whatever; who came up with that figure anyway?) most of us supposedly use.

The show, which begins on Prime at some point the station describes as "soon'', wasn't the first to use the idea. Instead, it borrows it from the 2011 American science-fiction thriller film of the same name starring Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish.

The film actually wasn't the first either, as it was based on the novel The Dark Fields, by Alan Glynn.

Actually, there's been talk of pills to make you clever for ages, but never mind.

If we all had such a pill, there would heaps more great ideas. However, the market for good ideas would be flooded.


The television version stars Jake McDorman as Brian Finch, who is provided the drug NZT-48 by an old band mate, giving him perfect recall of everything he has ever read, heard or seen.

As we discover in Finch's narration in episode one, our hero was something of a loser - a wannabe rock star who didn't make it - and something of a disappointment to his family and himself.

One little pill changes all that, but quickly runs out (as pills do), and when he returns to see his chum, he finds him dead but with a useful stash of pills to make off with.

That sets him off on a course that ends up with him working for (who else?) the FBI, and seeing he has very quickly become something of a superman (somewhat beyond the bounds of what one might expect) he is a very useful asset.

Silly? Yes!

But it has Bradley Cooper (who is very handsome) appearing as a US senator, and surely someone will like it - such is the nature of television.

Meanwhile on Sky's Jones channel, the brilliant Jeeves and Wooster, with Hugh Laurie as young 1920s English gentleman Bertie Wooster and the fabulous Stephen Fry as Jeeves, his incredibly intelligent valet, comes back for a welcome rerun on February 4.

Episode one of the P. G. Wodehouse-inspired 1990s masterpiece takes us back to the very beginning, with Bertie badly hungover and in trouble with the courts, when a ring at the doorbell introduces us to a very young-looking Fry as Jeeves, who "was sent by the agency, Sir''.

Jeeves and Wooster is 26 years old and excellent.

- Charles Loughrey 

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