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Recursion: the process of repeating items in a self-similar way. (Something is “self-similar” if it is exactly or approximately similar to a part of itself.) Keep this in mind when you watch Limitless (CBS, Tuesdays, 10:00 ET). Limitless might remind you of another CBS series (from last year), Intelligence, about an FBI agent with a computer chip in his head that made him super smart. And Intelligence may have been inspired/influenced by the motion picture Limitless (2011) for which the current TV series is sort of a “sequel.”

And the TV snake eats another portion of its tail.

Brian Finch is the person everybody knows, someone who dreams of doing “something great” but despite their desire, they do not have the talent of focus to accomplish it. Approaching 30 and having accomplished little (and seemingly unlikely to ever accomplish anything of note) he gets a temp job at a company where a friend from “back in the day” has become very successful. Over lunch the friend offers him a meal that will “make a difference,” and for no reason other than he can’t think of a good reason not to, he takes the pill.

The pill is NZT-48, a street drug that increases neural connectivity to the point that you have total access to every thought, fact, whatever, that ever entered your mind. You are totally connected to your body and your senses; in the 12 hours the drug lasts, Brian completes a two-week project in two hours, defeats every chess player in Central Park, becomes a guitar virtuoso, and diagnoses his father’s life-threatening illness. But when the NZT wears off, the crash is awful. Brian goes to his friend for ore and finds he’s been killed—and he’s the FBI’s number one suspect. (It seems the FBI is looking for whoever is making NZT because their own efforts at making it had been abysmal: one of the side effects of the drug is you end up looking like one of the Faces of Meth, and that’s one of the better side-effects.)

Of course, we wouldn’t have a series if Brian didn’t solve the crimes, become immune to the disastrous side effects of NZT, and become an FBI consultant. (One day we’re gonna have to talk about what is it with the FBI working on everything, is that where all our tax dollars are going?) The show breezes along, a little too breezily, because important decisions are made almost on a whim. (Brian takes the pill “just because,” an FBI agent doesn’t shoot him because of “a look in his eye,” the supervisory agent decides to bring him on board because the agent who didn’t shoot him suggests he could be “an asset.")

Yet this initial episode was fun (if not intellectually challenging) and it’s good to see smart people not getting wedgies for a change.

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