Fox Network's new thriller "Touch" is basically a revamped "24" with Keifer Sutherland still saving the world from destruction. Only this time, his Autistic savant child is a mystical genius with numbers that help Keifer on the Hero's Journey.
Although it won't officially air until March, Fox previewed its much-advertised new program, "Touch" on Jan. 25th. "Touch" teasers had already been heavily advertised, and it seemed the program would examine the extra-sensory skills of a young autistic boy.
With great anticipation, I looked forward to this program - yet another in the recent spate of TV programs about the paranormal, including "The Finder" and all the cable programs about ghosts and psychics. Much to my disappointment, "Touch", starring Kiefer Sutherland, was far more an updated "24" adventure show than a logical or semi-realistic look at a boy with a gift of ESP - predicting the future.
The scriptwriter must have boned up on all the metaphysical buzz words in the dictionary. The preview was heavily loaded with the Fibanocci number theory (deemed unsolvable), a mystical Seer in the character of Arthur Teller, played by Danny Glover, who just happened to live on Tesla lane, "quantum physics" , "energies" and a lot of other jargon common to the metaphysical Universe.
Kiefer Sutherland is Martin Bohm, the mystified father who, as a single parent, is raising his mute son alone, after the tragic death of his wealthy stockbroker wife during the 911 attacks. As the program opens, Martin is a baggage handler, who happens to misplace a lost phone that ends up in some one's luggage that sets off a whole series of coincidences, involving the numbers "318." Martin's 11-year-old child, Jake, has written down these numbers in notebooks filled with tiny ciphers. Jake has also programmed a whole series of cel phones to dial in a phone number containing the numbers "318." The phones are placed in a circle, and you guessed it, they ring in the middle of the night, at 3:18 a.m. This wakes up Martin who hurries into his child's room, sighs, and then heads back to bed.
As the program unfolds, Martin always looks like a man so out-of-touch with his son and his needs, it is no wonder that a beautiful social worker suddenly appears at the door, determined to have Jake evaluated and placed in a board-and-care facility. Ho humm, we know Jake will never stand for that, and he's going to run away, back to his favorite electricity tower to get recharged (in the rain) minutes before a cel phone bomb is about to explode in a terrorist attack in some un-named Middle Eastern Country. Kiefer Sutherland, true to his "24" personna, saves the day (with seconds to spare), the unwitting terrorist is spared, and the story cycle brings together a large number of people, around the world, seemingly connected by and to "318" in one way or another (like the fireman's badge number Martin finds on his wife's grave).
After the 5th or 6th "318" coincidence, including one involving Japanese fun-time girls giggling, and a lottery winner who has wallpapered his room with lottery tickets, and tattooed his fingers with "318" -- well, I was totally exhausted, dismayed and downright disappointed by the over-the-top lame script and the hammy acting of an obviously formulaic Kiefer Sutherland. By the end of this program, he had me convinced he handles luggage better than his own child.
I know a thing or two about coincidences, and one or two coincidences might occur, in reality, in any given day, but the number of coincidences in this story far outweighs any scintilla of reality. Good science fiction always has a germ of truth, but this poor script failed to find even a kernel, so over-written and over-acted it was.
Rather than browsing through a dictionary of metaphysics, perhaps the creators and writers of "Touch" could take another look at "The Sixth Sense" - a true classic film about a boy with paranormal skills who put them to the ultimate test. The simplicity and veracity of that film might truly help "Touch" get out of its own way. After all, the producers have until March to fix this ridiculous mix of psychibabble. In the name of Nicholas Tesla, I hope they find a way.