Three TV shows worth watching this week

Jake McDorman stars in the TV show Limitless. Photo / Cam Camarena, CBS
Jake McDorman stars in the TV show Limitless. Photo / Cam Camarena, CBS


Although there has been a boom in the number of television shows adapted from hit movies recently, very few can boast the involvement of the source material's principal talent. Limitless, based on the 2011 Bradley Cooper thriller, is one such show - Cooper isn't just an executive producer credit, he will also put in appearances as his character from the original film, beginning in the first episode.

"Having Bradley reprise his role as Eddie Morra helps a ton," Jake McDorman, star of the small-screen Limitless, tells TimeOut.

"He's a great resource for me as an actor but also, there are some really distinct differences between Brian and Eddie, which is one of the most attractive things about a show like this. It's not a reboot of the movie, it just expands on the universe the movie established."

McDorman's character, Brian Finch, is a young layabout whose life is tranformed when he comes into contact with NZT, a miracle drug that makes the user incredibly smart.

Cooper's character, Eddie Morra, used the drug to write a bestseller and go into politics, but Brian has a slightly more grounded response to becoming the smartest person in the room.

"Brian maybe is introduced to the pill in a similar way that Eddie is, but he immediately thinks about how he can help his father and somebody else - there's a selflessness. And maybe it's that naivety to Brian that makes him interesting and a good fit for a longer story."

With Eddie, now a rising politician, providing Brian a steady supply of NZT and the means to avoid the side effects of the drug, Brian is persuaded to help the FBI with his heightened intelligence. Even in the era of the quirky detective, it's kind of extreme to have your lead character be entirely reliant on pills.

"He's a high protagonist," agrees McDorman. "It makes the character a lot more interesting and it's something we're going to be able to play with as time goes on. Also, even though he's immune from the side effects, it's not as if this drug doesn't have complete control over his life as is the truth with many addicts. He can't really get away from it. He can't get out of the situation of taking it every single day. There are obviously some advantages of being very smart and having a good time and wish fulfillment.

"And on a larger scale, he's roped into doing God knows what for this politician who's basically threatened his well-being and the well-being of the people he cares about if he does anything to abandon that plan. So, as long as those elements are present - it doesn't do anything but enrich the story for me, because I don't think it goes celebrated without its consequences."

When: Wednesday February 17 at 8.30pm
Where: Prime
What: Movie-derived pills and thrills

- Dominic Corry

The Barefoot Bandits

A little-known but mightily talented Kiwi animation company named Mukpuddy have been beavering away making cool cartoons for several years.

You might've come across their work in the 48Hour Film Festival or various short films, but lately they've been putting together a fabulously funny new family comedy: The Barefoot Bandits.

A scene from the Barefoot Bandits.
A scene from the Barefoot Bandits.

Blending the Kiwi humour seen in films like Boy with the spirit of classic cartoons of the 80s and 90s, they've come up with a story that revolves around adventurous youngsters Tane, Fridge, and Riley (the bandits of the title). They live on the little-known Kiwi island of Ngaro, which has long held many a mystery, and the bandits take it upon themselves to investigate everything the island has to offer, often with hilarious results.

Featuring the voice talents of Tammy Davis, Josh Thomson, Laura Daniel, Rhys Darby, Teuila Blakely, Temuera Morrison and Leigh Hart, with guest appearances from Lucy Lawless, John Rhys-Davies, Cohen Holloway, Jason Hoyte, Rima Te Wiata and more, it offers an opportunity for proper family viewing New Zealand TV hasn't had in ages.

And to complement it perfectly, TV2 is screening all-new episodes of The Simpsons straight after, at 7pm on Sundays.

Where and when: TV2, 6.30pm, Sunday
What: Homegrown animated family comedy

Family Feud

Step 1: Ask 100 people a simple question that has no right or wrong answer, and sort out their various responses into most and least popular.

Step 2: Get two families in a studio and ask the same questions. Give points determined by how popular their answer is - the more popular the response, the more points each receives.

Step 3: Have Dai Henwood host the show to stir in plenty of silliness and controversy.

Dai Henwood is the host of Family Feud.
Dai Henwood is the host of Family Feud.

That's the formula for TV3's new game show, which will have Kiwi families battling it out for cash and prizes. The format already screens in 57 other countries around the world, but Henwood is sure the local version will go down a treat in New Zealand.

"I am sure you will be yelling at your TV, because a carrot is not something you use in the shower," he says.

Where and when: TV3, 5.30pm, Monday to Friday
What: Game on

Also ...

How To Get Away With Murder returns this week (Tuesday 9.30pm, TV2). Viola Davis is steely as ever, as a brilliant but unconventional law professor, and her class returns for another year, tainted by last season's murders.

• In the strange new trend of "mid-season premieres" The Walking Dead is back on Monday (TV2, 9.30pm), and TVNZ is promising it will be "ambitious, epic, and insane" with the road out of Alexandria becoming a lot bumpier as the walkers take over.

• If you've been having renovation show withdrawals, never fear, Our First Home is also returning for another season (Tuesday, 7.30pm, TV One), with three new sets of parents trying not to lose the plot as they attempt to help their kids on to the property ladder.

• TV3's regular Friday night funny time line-up is back, with Jono and Ben larking about at 7.30pm, all new episodes of The Graham Norton Show back to give us our decent celebrity interview fix at 8.30pm, and 7Days on board to tackle jokes about dildo-throwing from 9.30pm.

• Head to pages 5 and 6 for our features on the big new shows of the week, both starting on Monday at 8.30pm - Filthy Rich (TV One) and Vinyl (SoHo).

- TimeOut

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