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Friday, April 6, 2012

Touch- Your new feel-good crowd pleaser with fixable flaws

Spoiler free

We’ve now seen four episodes of this show and feel it is time to weigh in. The biggest strength of this show is probably Kiefer Sutherland, an actor who brings an urgency to every scene he is in. For a guy who isn’t even hot, he can sure carry a show. It’s nice to have him back on TV, but other than his penchant for yelling “dammit” all the time, his character is nothing like Jack Bauer. Martin sometimes gets into fights and that’s where we see that he is no Jack Bauer. He hasn’t spun around a wall and cracked someone’s neck yet. While that is disappointing to Ern, your resident die-hard 24 fanatic, it’s realistic and Ern will accept it.

Martin Bohm is a baggage handler with a mute son, Jake, who has been diagnosed with autism. In reality, Jake is an advanced child who can see connections between people and psychically feel their pain if their problems are not resolved. That’s where Martin comes in. Martin has to follow Jake’s clues, expressed through numbers, and make sure the right things happen. Really, Martin just has to show up and do what he feels is right and the pieces all fall into place.

Your enjoyment of this show may depend on your ability to accept the premise. Are you a person who believes that we are all connected? Are you a person who believes that energy and fate are forces of their own? Can you at least believe these things long enough to watch a TV show with a premise relying on such concepts? It’s likely that viewers could appreciate this as magical realism if they cannot grasp the premise as possible reality. One thing is for certain: This show recognizes the loneliness of our high-tech, shallow connections-oriented nation. It knows that we want to make a difference and it knows that we need to collide with each other.

One possible downside is that viewers will need to watch the show carefully to catch all the connections that occur each week. In order to fully appreciate how everything comes together in the end, viewers will need to be paying attention. Sometimes it feels contrived and like it is trying to connect too many people in one episode. Episode three indicated that connections from previous episodes will be far-reaching. It would be better to just have a separate group of connected people each week. It’s already too complicated for a procedural.

Right now, the show is effective, but can it work months from now? This show needs to quickly establish the extent of Jake’s gifts and put limits on them. It needs to work a little more at establishing why this premise is possible (see the DVDs What the Bleep do We Know and Everything is Spiritual). If it can’t do that, it needs to do some world building regarding its fantastical elements. Stronger writing is going to be key in helping this show thrive.

One thing we like about Touch is how it doesn’t have all the characters from around the world speaking English. This is not a lazy show. When characters are in foreign countries, they speak their languages. Leeard was excited to hear Russian in one episode. Another good thing is that the relationship between Martin and Jake feels real and tugs at the heartstrings. Martin’s struggle to reach and protect his kid grounds the show and gives us a reason to return each week. Martin needs to be onscreen more.

Some might call this show manipulative, but screw those guys. We liked it. The pilot was one of the best in the last year. The messages of the show are positive and uplifting. There is drama and tension, but each episode ends on such a hopeful note that it has a “chicken soup for the soul” effect. It’s hard to hate a show that repeatedly tells viewers that we are all in this life together and that our actions affect each other. The show leaves you smiling each week. We like watching it and we like how we feel after watching it. It’s fun, adventurous, magical, and original. We are rooting for it, but it has work to do.

Pilot: Grade A-
1 + 1= 3: Grade B
Safety in Numbers: Grade B  
Kite Strings: Grade B-


  1. Wow! Loving this show, thanks for referring it to us. I lost count of shows I started watching because of you guys!

    1. Sweet. Good news: It's likely to be renewed.