Fox, 25 January 2012
(Full series follows from 22 March)
Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) lost his wife on 9/11. Since then he’s been looking after his mute son, who is obsessed with numbers and patterns.
Created by Tim Kring, whose Heroes crashed and burned dismally after a super-charged first season, Touch is an ‘everything and everyone is connected’-type show that attempts to engage your emotions rather than your brain.
From the opening naff voice-over in which Bohm’s kid Jake announces his lack of speech through to the climatic father-son bonding-through-adversity Touch might just as well make you vomit as cry. Either would at least be a reaction.
Actually, it’s not all that bad if you can get past the schmaltz and Sutherland’s endless emoting and staring into the middle distance in an attempt to distance this character from Jack Bauer.
Numbers as the key to a TV drama probably have a bad rap after Lost, but here they are clues to the interconnectedness of all things (they’re also used in Awake’s pilot to connect crimes in the two realities in that show). It might all seem as random as the supposed connections ‘revealed’ at the stunningly stupid climax of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, but trying to stay ahead of the drama in making the connections might prove to be an attraction of this series.
Cast-wise, Sutherland has sterling support from Danny Glover (not known for committing to long-running TV series) as an unconventional child expert on hand to offer advice, while Undercovers’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a social worker (and a thumpingly obvious future love interest).
Verdict: Touch could go either way, but if you are resistant to schmaltz it might be off-putting…
Episode 1 ‘Pilot’: 6/10
Brian J. Robb