Touch: Kiefer Sutherland is back and ISN’T called Jack Bauer

Jack Bauer is back and this time he is a baggage handler called Martin who must discover what his autistic son is drawing! Wow!

Touch, written by Tim Kring (the guy who wrote Heroes) stars Kiefer Sutherland in his first TV role since 24 finished and also stars Danny Glover who is definitely getting too old for this shit! The show is about Martin Rohm (Kiefer) who is a baggage handler at JFK and his autistic son, Jake, who he knows little about, never talks, and just draws these weird number shaped patterns and pisses around with mobile phones. Turns out his wife died in the world trade center, ooooh!

In the first episode, Martin gets handed someone’s lost mobile phone and it begins to ring and on the other end is a guy in London who needs his phone back. This sets up a strange sub plot that dominates the episode, but I’ll come back to that. Meanwhile, Jake has run up the top of a mobile phone tower at 3:18pm, social services get involved and take him away because Jack Bauer is a rubbish Dad. Basically to save time, Martin goes to see Danny Glover who runs his own institute for rare psychic abilities and believes that Jake represents an evolutionary step in mankind. Turns out the kid can pick winning lottery numbers and people’s mobile numbers.

The show focuses on this idea that everyone in the world is some how linked together and that everything happens for a reason and can be predicted. That’s where this strange sub plot comes into play, bear with me. A guy in London’s phone ends up in New York and he wants it back because it’s got the only picture of his daughter days before she died. It then ends up in Dublin when someone records a video of this girl singing on it and thinks that sending off the phone in someone’s luggage might help make her a superstar. The phone ends up in Tokyo with a prostitute who finds the video and decides to start a fan club of the singer and then they decide to send the phone on to Kuwait in hope that someone makes a fan club there. We then move to Iraq where a young lad who wants to become a stand up comedian has to help his Mum get her pizza oven back to make sure the family business continues. He and his friend decide to go and steal an oven only to be caught by the local terrorist shit who forces him to become a suicide bomber.

Guess what they use to try and blow him up with?! A second hand mobile phone!  Who’s phone it is? The guy from London! And guess who calls him to stop him blowing himself up? The singer in Dublin who works for a mobile network provider! Who was called by the guy who lost his phone in the first place! And guess where he is? Tokyo! And guess what his job is?! He sells ovens!`And guess what them Japanese prossies have done? Played the video of the girl singing in Dublin on a massive telly in downtown Tokyo! She is now an internet sensation and also one hell of a negotiator as she manages to get the kid in Iraq to return the phone in exchange for a brand spanking new oven! Wonderful.

It’s really strange to watch because you never really know what is going on, you bounce around the globe meeting brief characters which doesn’t have a really big payoff. To spend half of the viewing time following a random bunch of characters just following a highly unlikely plot about a bloke losing his phone and getting it back seems a bit pointless. It’s even more unbelievable that the phone circumnavigates the globe just to try and prove an idea that we are all linked in someway. There is no way a phone could travel across the world on a single charge! Mine lasts a day at best!

Tim Kring is a great writer and this show has potential but it kind of feels he’s tried to hard to use as much of the budget as possible to try and recreate ‘Heroes’ by using random locations around the world but unlike ‘Heroes’  you don’t have any reason to remain interested in the characters you meet. There isn’t a sense of antagonism, there isn’t a bad guy or a threat or anything that adds danger to the show either. Kiefer Sutherland’s character is full of the usual sort of character flaws – like he’s a bad father and he misses his dead wife and he knows he’s a bad parent – which I don’t think works when he’s running around New York trying to save people. I’m worried the show might become formulaic and just follow the same story line every week, hopefully I’m proved wrong. Let’s hope there is more to come from Jake’s gift. I might go buy the 24 box set failing that.


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