Limitless, the CBS procedural that serves as a sequel to the Bradley Cooper-starring film of the same name, is in limbo. While it hasn't been officially canceled by the network, it also hasn't been picked up, either.
In fact, during upfronts week, when the network was announcing its new schedule, CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller said of the show's future: "Right now we're in discussions with other potential buyers, so I'd rather not comment on that at the moment."
Which means Limitless still has a well-deserved chance at living on. Here's why it should get a second season:
1) Limitless was the most successful movie-to-TV adaptation this year.
We're drowning in movie-to-TV adaptations these days, but unlike last season's Minority Report, Damien and Rush Hour -- which all failed to find audiences — Limitless did not. In fact, it raked in an average of 6 million viewers per week. Those are pretty solid numbers for network TV these days... though perhaps not for CBS, the No. 1 rated network. Hence the possible move.
2) Limitless was also arguably the best movie-to-TV adaptation this year.
In the show, we meet Brian Finch (Jake McDorman), a down-on-his-luck screw-up with dreams of being a musician. But everything changes the day he encounters NZT, the drug that turned Bradley Cooper into a genius in the film. After that, Brian finds himself able to be the best version of himself, physically and mentally, and thus able to be of service to himself and others. He goes so far as to save his father's life in the pilot episode by discovering the answer to a perplexing medical condition.
The aforementioned Minority Report and Damien were both sequel series, while Rush Hour was an out-and-out remake of the original film. But Limitless is the only one of the bunch that not only follows the story of its original film, but does so in a way that makes it feel like it belongs in that universe.
3) The character dynamics are quirky.
In the original film, Bradley Cooper's Edward Morra, an author turned financial wizard, becomes a fast-talking, quick-on-his-feet charmer who can do no wrong. And on NZT, even cleaning his apartment becomes hilarious, as he "works" with multiple versions of himself (which is just one of the effects of the brain-altering drug). In the show, Brian also gets into verbal sparring matches with his own brain, creating visual aids to explain his theories and ideas to his co-workers (and the viewers).
Other characters are played for laughs too, like Brian's glorified F.B.I. bodyguards, nicknamed Mike & Ike against their will. But, as long as Brian's a genius, they go along with it. And the tone sometimes borders on dark comedy — like when the office janitor, who Brian makes a member of his "crew," stabs himself in the leg with a fork to move a case forward (let's see NCIS do that).
It's fast-paced, funny and, unlike a lot of grim procedurals, a joy to watch these characters just bounce off each other.
4) We need to find out the answer to the show's central mystery.
The show's central mystery surrounding NZT is wonderful, and constantly leaving itself open to further expansion. Before, NZT was a MacGuffin meant to drive Morra through his rivalry with the original movie's bad guy, played by Robert De Niro. The show, on the other hand, is far more concerned with exploring what's behind NZT.
Who created NZT? And why? And how did the drug even get out into the open in the first place? The government was interested in it, but are they the reason it eventually hit the streets in the movie? This show is so not even close to wrapping up, given how much is still left unanswered. Give us answers, show!
5) More Bradley Cooper, anyone?
Early on, Cooper announced he would occasionally pop-in as his original movie character — now a senator on the verge of taking the White House — while serving as executive producer. We need to see what will happen with Morra. Sure, he's a Hollywood heartthrob, but Cooper has a real opportunity to take his Edward Morra to new heights if the show were to continue.
6) It has far more left to say.
Limitless came to the table with zero expectation of working. A sequel to an only sort-of popular movie? That's a TV show? But it worked, because it always put character first.
Brian, and the team that surrounded him, created an ensemble cast that delivered laugh after laugh, while taking viewers through a global conspiracy that doesn't feel too far off from the kind of world we live in today.
The stories that are left to tell with Limitless are vast in number, and to cut it short now would be to cut short a show that's in its prime. Take Limitless' 6 million viewers to the likes of Amazon or TNT, and the possibilities are... wait for it... Limitless.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)