Tag Archives: Touch

Spring 2012 Review: Touch

31 Jan

I admit I came into Touch with a bias, but I don’t think it was an unfair bias.  Unlike Alcatraz and The River’s premises, which sound interesting to me, Touch’s didn’t really.  I also may have less fairly brought bias against Tim Kring, the creator of Touch and of Heroes, who I still feel bitter towards while watching for Heroes, but I did my best to avoid taking that into my review of the show.

Touch is the story of an autistic boy and his father.  The father, Martin Bohn, played by Kiefer Sutherland, is a former journalist whose primary occupation nowadays is taking care of his son, and he has cycled through dozens of menial jobs to provide.  He’s facing crisis after crisis with his son, Jake, who hasn’t uttered a word in his life, and does things like climb up cell phone towers, but who also writes down lots of MEANINGFUL NUMBERS.  Martin’s wife and Jake’s father died in the September 11 attacks, giving the show completely UNNCESSARY 9/11 OVERTONES, one of my biggest pet peeves in stories and shows about New York.  Yes, 9/11 was a seminal event in New York history and yes, it can be used in a very powerful way to tell stories, and many times it has been.  However, at least as many times, it’s kind of been shoved in peripherally in stories that take place in New York to add extra free gravitas.  The story is suddenly a lot more dramatic because it somehow relates to 9/11!

Anyway, moving on.  So, Martin struggles to control his kid, and in the first episode, a social worker comes to temporarily take him away and openly questions whether Martin is up to the task of taking care of such a difficult child.  Martin, who realizes that Jake is gifted in certain areas, is starting to see meaning or patterns in the numbers Jake writes down.  He struggles to figure out their purpose, and eventually visits Danny Glover, an outside-the-system specialist on children with gift’s like Jake’s, who gives Martin some advice.  Basically, he tells Martin, in this episode and every commercial for the show, that Jake is able to see patterns that run throughout the world that the rest of us can’t, and it’s Martin’s job to interpret the patterns which Jake spits out like a robot.  Martin follows the numbers, and eventually realizes that through a series of planned or unplanned coincidences the trail his son set him upon eventually leads to the saving of a bus full of schoolchildren.  The social worker eventually comes to believe this too after Jake performs his magic on her, writing out her mom’s phone number which he could have no way of knowing.

The other plot involves three people across the globe, a call center employee in England who dreams about being a singer, an English restaurant supply salesman with a dead daughter on the road in Japan, and a teenager in Iraq who wants to be a comedian.  These three through a series of cell phone calls from the salesman’s lost phone, which contained the only copies of some pictures of his daughter, connect and somehow make each of their lives better.  The only relation this plot has to the Martin plot is that Martin, in his job as a baggage handler, picks up the phone at the beginning before forgetting about it as it goes on a plane to the UK.

Oh, yeah, and mute Jake narrates the show, and gives us big meaningful lessons about how everyone is connected but how we non-autistic people can’t see it.

I didn’t really care for the show at all, but I don’t tend to like just about any show where the main messages are about fate and all being connected and which seem to attribute GREATER MEANING to all sorts of random connections.  The show played on some fairly cheap emotion that didn’t feel earned at all.  I don’t think an autistic kid spitting out brilliant numerical patterns which can save the world is compelling.  I loved Kiefer Sutherland in 24, so it’s unfortunate but it’s back to the drawing board for the next great supernatural show.

Also, interesting fact of the day:  Kiefer’s full name is Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland.  Fantastic.

Will I watch it again?  No, I don’t think so.  I didn’t find the concept particularly interesting and the show itself certainly didn’t win me over.  I think a couple of fundamental tweaks with the concept could actually make the show significantly more interesting, but from the first episode at least it seemed like the show make a number of poor choices.

Spring 2012 Preview and Predictions: Fox

4 Jan

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (now spring!) television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13

Spring note:  It’s a lot harder to analyze midseason shows as there’s no collective marketing campaigns going on at one time, as many of the shows start dates are spread (or are even unannounced for some)  Still, we’ll take partially educated guesses.  Also, they’re a lot less likely to get partial pick ups, so maybe that trade off will make it easier)

Fox next.  While not CBS, Fox has been doing well lately, especially among the valued 18-49 demographic.  They’ll be debuting four shows this spring, including a spin-off, a movie port, and a couple of supernatural sci-fi efforts.

The Finder – 1/12

The Finder is a spin-off of Fox hit Bones, created by Bones’ creator Hart Hanson.  That’s really the most important detail here, but we’ll dig a bit further.  The spin-off will be taken from characters introduced in the sixth season of Bones specficailly for the purpose of spinning them off.  The main character, the titular Finder, is to be a House-like figure – eccentric, offensive, paranoid but brilliant and excessively competent.  His particular skill is well, finding things, anything, from people to places to things and he works out of his lawyer’s bar in Key West.

Verdict:  Renewed – I’m not sure what to think again here, but I’ll err with renewal on the Bones brand name.  It’s easy to overlook just how successful Bones has become for Fox, and if any of its magic could rub off on the spin off, Fox could really use a replacement for the likely soon to be departed House.

Alcatraz – 1/16

JJ Abrams executively produces this supernatural science fiction show about a few San Francisco detectives who realize that modern day crimes appear to be committed by people who were Alcrataz prisoners several decades ago.  The main character’s family worked in Alcatraz so she’s super interested, and comes up against a sinister government employee played by Sam Neill who tries to stymie the nascent investigation. The detectives bring in Alcatraz expert and all around nerd Jorge Garcia (Hurley from Lost) to help out and learn that this conspiracy goes all the way to the top.  Well, it goes somewhere anyway.

Verdict:  Renewed – I realize I’m a sucker for all of these supernatural sci-fi premises.  The shows often don’t work, crumbling under their own weight either right away, or after a couple of seasons, but at the beginning they sound so interesting, novel, and full of potential.

Touch – 1/25

Kiefer Sutherland is back on Fox, this time as father of an autistic boy who has the power to predict future events (Knowing anyone?  Mercury Rising?).  Oh, and Sutherland’s wife and the boy’s mother died (same person) in 9/11 (seriously, what’s the statute of limitations on shows/movies/books in which 9/11 is a peripheral but IMPORTANT part).  Danny Glover co-stars as an expert on children who works with the boy.  The show is from Tim Kring who I’m still angry at deep in my bones for everything associated with Heroes.

Verdict:  12-  After what happened to Heroes, I have no faith in Kring.  Kiefer’s good, but the premise doesn’t wow me.

Napoleon Dynamite – 1/15

Based on the movie, Napoleon Dynamite will follow the adventures of the title character, along with his brother, his best friend Pedro, and others, all of whom will be voiced by the actors who played them in the film.  Presumably, the show will share the same sense of humor as the film which became a surprise hit, and part of the stable of required viewing for anyone who went to college when I did (See: Donnie Darko, Requiem for a Dream).  Personally, while there were certainly funny parts, I’ve always thought the movie was highly overrated, but I appear to have been outvoted on this.

Verdict:  Renewed –  I’m definitely 50/50 here.  It’s an established property and the movie probably appealed to many of the people who are fans of the Fox animation block.  Also, it’s got the same creative team, so that helps it not be a cheap knock off.  I have my doubts, but Fox could use a non-McFarlane non-Simpsons animated success in the mix.