“Pilot,” written by Tim Kring; directed by Francis Lawrence

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Tim Kring is back with what superficially looks like Heroes 2.0. Jake Bohm (David Mazouz), an autistic boy with the superpower to see into the quantum state of past, present, and future, leaves cryptic number clues for his father Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) to figure out and prevent catastrophe from happening. Danny Glover plays a haggard-looking kook named Arthur DeWitt who explains all of this mumbo-jumbo to Martin in an info dump directly out of a New Age encounter group. And Martin just sits there with a straight face and accepts it without a second thought.

The premise that people all over the world are subtly connected in unexpected ways is one that has some merit worth exploring, but I don’t know how Kring will be able to sustain this over the course of a TV series. The story of how a lost cell phone brought people together from Ireland to Japan to Iraq was intriguing but barely credible; is this the kind of storytelling contortions we can expect week to week?

The direction of Francis Lawrence (I Am LegendWater for Elephants) was fast paced, as you would expect from someone who got his start directing music videos. This is probably a good thing, because there was less time to contemplate the layers of BS being heaped upon us.

The acting was the best part of Touch. Although I kept expecting to see Jack Bauer start pistol-whipping the Man in Black (aka Titus Welliver), Sutherland was restrained as a distraught single father who didn’t know how to take care of his mute son. Mazouz had the hardest job, especially for a youngster, of conveying emotion while staying mute and not showing external reactions, and he handled it superbly. However, the supporting roles were almost all simple clichés–the Tokyo prostitute, the Baghdad terrorists, the Irish singer with a heart of gold.

The episode scheduling for Touch is truly bizarre. The next episode isn’t until March. Maybe that’s so we’ll all forget how lame the pilot was and be ready for what comes next. I know what Kring is capable of writing, and I enjoy watching Sutherland, so I’ll tune in at least once or twice more, but unfortunately I’m not impressed so far and will bail quickly if the series doesn’t improve.


2 responses to “Touch

  1. I noticed on the official Touch website that Danny Glover’s character is listed there as Arthur Teller, not DeWitt. Since this is a pilot, I guess things could still change!

    I’m sincerely hoping that Tim Kring has learned his lessons from Heroes and doesn’t drown the show in layers of complexity. It certainly already has several Kring hallmarks from its emotional core to the distributed, globe-spanning cast of characters. But, as you say, the next couple of episodes will be critical for us to decide if it’s worth continuing with.

  2. Leslie Cook

    Wow, aren’t we in a testy mood :). I liked the pilot a bit more than you did, although I think it was a bit too fast-paced and didn’t really give me time to get to know any of the characters. I agree that I didn’t expect Jack Bauer to be sucker-punched by the Man in Black, and, frankly, I’m still trying to figure out how all of the “threads” connect in the pilot, but the show is different and worth watching for the time being.

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