Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pilot Thoughts: Touch

First of all, I know my mind is always in the gutter, but can we just take a few moments to reflect that someone actually thought it was a good idea to name a show centered around a young boy "Touch." Of course the name probably has more to do with the general conceit of the show that somehow, some way every single person in the world is touched (influenced/affected) by everyone else. More literally, it could also have to do with the young protagonist and his dislike of people touching him.

Touch's main duo is an autistic child and his father, the latter played by Kiefer Sutherland. I do admit that 80% of the reason why I felt compelled to check this show out was my fond memories of those early seasons of 24. There's just something quite familiar about seeing Sutherland back on TV screaming on his cell phone, almost like a homecoming of sorts. In any case, the pilot episode introduces us to the obviously delicate relationship between the two with the father patient, but frustrated by his son's condition. The son, played well by David Mazouz, is mute and confounds everyone he comes in contact with. He is busy doodling repetitive numbers and tinkering with cell phones and being obsessed by it all. We later find out that he has a preternatural ability to "connect the dots" of the universe enabling him to more or less know the future. He then tries to use the numbers and the technology as a way for him to communicate this knowledge to others.

It's certainly an ambitious and intriguing concept. Something I'm not surprised Tim Kring created. In fact, the pilot for Touch gave me eerily similar feelings for when I saw the pilot for Kring's Heroes (whose first season still kicks ass in spite of what transpired later on). It was made more evident in the B-plot with the camera phone that made its way to London, New York, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, and Iraq affecting a handful of people's lives in the process which was also something very reminiscent of another high-concept show... Lost. And so I readily admit that, even as I recognized that the show was manipulating me to feeeeel something (seriously among other plot lines in this episode... there was a mom who dies in 9/11, a bus full of kids getting saved, a father grieving for his dead daughter, and a son who was willing to kill himself to help his family), it actually did make me feel something.

I already know people on both sides of the aisle: those intrigued and would love to see the next episode and those who think of it all as a waste of time. I'm leaning towards the former group, but the real test for this show is not its pilot, but its second, third, tenth, and even its 22nd episode. Will every episode have Sutherland's character try and connect people by whatever vague clues his son gives him? If so, is that a bad thing or a good thing? I mentioned both Heroes and Lost previously and its quite apt since one show did a better than the other to re-invent itself season after season. It's still too early to say where Touch will fall in that spectrum, but I'm willing to wait it out for a bit. B

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