THE SERIES "Limitless"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Tuesday night at 10 on CBS/2

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WHAT IT'S ABOUT One day, an old friend of Brian Finch's (Jake McDorman) -- a struggling musician in New York -- hands him a pill. Take it! Brian hesitates. Then swallows. And vrrrooommm. His brain takes on superpowers. But when that friend turns up dead, Brian is a hunted man, especially by FBI Agent Rebecca Harris (Jennifer Carpenter). This series is based on the 2011 movie, starring Bradley Cooper, who recurs here, as a mysterious U.S. senator.

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MY SAY Jake McDorman must remind CBS of a young Cooper. That smile. Those eyes. The jaunty, slightly dissolute swagger. And, like Cooper early in his career, McDorman is still trying to find the right TV vehicle for all of this promise. "Greek" was the launching pad in the mid-2000s, but ever since, it's been bombs away ("Are You There, Chelsea?," "Manhattan Love Story").

Another bomb with "Limitless?" Actually . . . no. The producers here may have finally cracked the McDorman code. He was usually unlikable in those (mostly unlikable) sitcoms so the obvious solution was to make him likable. Brian Finch loves his dad, plays guitar, bucks the System and -- if there was a puppy handy -- he'd probably cuddle that, too. Brian actually turns out to be someone you won't mind spending time with.

The show could go interesting places, too, even explore provocative ideas -- although the pilot pokes at those only halfheartedly. "Limitless" instead sets up as just another buddy cop show, with a superhero component and a sinister subplot. Those potentially interesting ideas are kicked to the curb.

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GRADE B