In the US: Thursdays, 9/8c, Fox
In the UK: Wednesdays, 9pm, Sky1/Sky1 HD
Three episodes into Touch aka "Highway to Heaven for the agnostic" and it’s hard to know what to make of the show. The underlying, karma-like concept behind the show is that "everyone is connected by numbers if only we could see it", but what we’re largely getting is "everyone is connected by numbers in a useful way, providing some 10 year old kid gets his dad to help out through some ridiculously convoluted means, or in a cryptic, utterly pointless way if he doesn’t."
Each episode is more or less the same as the first. Kiddie writes down numbers, wanders around and gives people objects. Kiefer runs around until the numbers appear somewhere and the objects come in useful. Then he helps the people he finds. Meanwhile, usually in some country where people don’t speak English, the numbers pop up and then the story in some ways interacts with the story of someone else, usually in the US, all without the help of kiddie but usually with some Japanese girls rabbitting away nearby.
In other words, it’s a supernatural anthology show with Kiefer Sutherland as a running, shouting version of Rod Serling, but without the decent writing. Or Hero rather than Heroes.
Episode three did at least shake things up a little, with Kiefer’s background as a journalist coming up and Danny Glover getting to do something other than talk complete bollocks for a couple of scenes*.
But there was at least some forward progress on plot, with a hint at how kiddie might turn out once he’s all grown up. We still don’t know why kiddie is doing all of this and why he can’t simply write down some instructions rather than numbers for a change – hell, typing at a computer’s always an option – beyond some hand-waving nebulousness about evolution, but we’re going to have to give the show time with this.
If you think about Touch too hard, there’s not a chance you’ll watch it. But if you can suspend your disbelief, you can get a warm fuzzy feeling for an hour or so, while simultaneously getting to see Kiefer Sutherland run around a lot and see some subtitled foreigners on US TV for a change.
Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Might scrape a second season, provided something happens some time
* I daren’t show my wife it, in case there’s a vague possibility that Touch realistically depicts the way autistic children are treated – both societally and therapeutically – in the US and she ends up launching a one-woman war against it.