Derek Johnson Muses

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Touch: Kiefer Sutherland’s New, Gentler Dad and Twitter Survey

As a 24-addict, I was bound to turn into whatever show Kiefer Sutherland decided to make next, although I was a little surprised it took him only a little more than a year to do another pilot (given that he could spend the next twenty years being paid by sharp studio exec to read bad ideas for shows). The other irony of his new show Touch is that the 45-year old Sutherland is playing the father of an eleven year old boy. Not as big of an anomaly as when the 35 year-old Sutherland starred in a show where he had a teenage daughter, and the shows timeline ended fourteen years after the events of the pilot/first season.

Second oddity: another action veteran, Danny Glover, joins Sutherland in the cast. Might as well be Angels in the Outfield.

I liked the pilot: I wasn’t turned on by all of the international scenes and didn’t even watch all of them. (Hey, I was making apple kuchen.) The main storyline with Sutherland’s Martin Bohm and his son was pretty good, although Sutherland still exhibits a lot of Jack Bauer’s signature desperation. 24 was such an unique environment, taking place against a ticking clock; Sutherland may be taking on a new show a little sooner than he should, but at least for him, Touch will likely be appealing to a different crowd than 24 did. And David Mazouz, who plays the key role of Sutherland’s son, exhibits the characteristics of the cerebral boy quite well.

But the central premise of the show-in a world where everyone is connected by a thread and certain people are “meant” to met, a mute autistic boy can predict the future using numbers-comes across as a bit stilted to me. Maybe I just wanted to see a few more acting moves from  Sutherland, who plays a hero with only a couple of levels. (24 writer once said that there were only so many ways they could write Jack.) And even though it is a procedural, I feel like this show could really hinge on the payoffs of season-long arcs. But I do think I will try the show when it returns in March.

Surveying #Touch on Twitter (where it did begin to trend), most people received the show positively, some saying it was nice to see a positive-slanting show on the air (the Touched By an Angel crowd I’m guessing) and the Kiefer fans were happy too. But the interesting thing was how the tweets progressed: at the half-hour mark, the tweets were universally positive, but by the fifty minute mark, there was a noticeable minority of tweets starting to say that the show was confusing. Translation: show could have a devoted group of fans, which is what it may have to rely on to push it to renewal after renewal.

Check out the promo for Touch‘s upcoming season here:

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