Chris Hemsworth confronts death in National Geographic’s “Limitless.”

In a Disney+ series created by Darren Aronofsky, the star tests his mind and body with the help of experts.

It seems fitting that Chris Hemsworth, best known for playing an immortal god-king, would fear aging and death.

The Aussie superstar will come face-to-face with that fear in Limitless With Chris Hemsworth, a National Geographic Original Series created by Darren Aronofsky. Over the course of six episodes, Hemsworth explores ways to age slower and better while living a healthy, fulfilling life.

Each episode presents a different immersive or physical experience with a core focus. “Stress” has Hemsworth walking 1,000 feet in the air on a crane; “Shock” has him swimming through frigid arctic waters; “Strength” lets him climb a rope over a deep ravine, and so on. The exercises are extreme, but that’s because they’re tailored to Hemsworth himself: physically fit, adventurous, and willing to push his body to its limits (often shirtless). However, the lessons are universal.

Hemsworth may have highly specific scenarios tailored to his needs, guided by the world’s leading experts on these subjects, but his questions and concerns still resonate with a wider audience. “It’s a chance to stand up against death and disease,” he says, a mission shared by most people. In Limitless, Hemsworth interacts with individuals, cultures, and practices outside of his own life experience, all of which open up new perspectives on the mind and body over time. Featuring interviews, anecdotes, data visualizations and spectacular landscapes, Limitless covers documentary storytelling’s biggest hits, starring a humorous, intrepid and surprisingly vulnerable star.

An adult leads a child outside with a bow and arrow; still from "Limitless with Chris Hemsworth"

Two members of the Hadza tribe in Tanzania who regularly fast between foraging.

National Geographic

All of this culminates in a final episode in which Hemsworth faces his own mortality by spending time in a retirement home, wearing an aging suit, and speaking to people familiar with illness, trauma, and loss. It’s a very consuming effort to get a man to accept death, and then Hemsworth’s wife, Elsa Pataky, shows up at the senior center’s social event, aged 50, with makeup on. The entire episode is wild but well worth watching; a unique viewing experience unlike anything else on TV or film, superbly directed by Tom Barbor-Might (Kit Lynch Robinson also directs the series). What began as a physical odyssey of a handsome, privileged, burly human ends on as profound a subject as can be (one of Episode 6’s humorous breathers is a Fijian elder who has never heard of Hemsworth and is uninterested in it to learn before giving wise advice).

Episode 1 includes the “every body is different” disclaimer – a friendlier way of saying “You’re not Thor” – an overly brief acknowledgment still underlines the show. You don’t have to be a superhero to lower your shower temperature for 30 seconds or use breathing techniques to manage stress. You might not be fired up by a cadre of actors giving you a taste of what it feels like to be 87, but you can talk to people of different ages and lifestyles about the moments and people they cherish and your own look at life with new eyes eyes.

Limitless with Chris Hemsworth is now streaming on Disney+.

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Lindsay Lowe

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