The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Third-episode verdict: Touch (Fox)

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.

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 4

Third-episode verdict: Bent (NBC)

In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, NBC

Well, Bent is still broken but it did get slightly better in the latest episode. After a deeply uninspiring first couple of episodes last week, things did start to improve slightly this week with its third episode.

The problems essentially remain the same: a "will they, won’t they?" romance between two people whom you really don’t care about either way; actors not exactly on their game; supporting characters who are more liability than support; and a surprising inability, even with some pretty decent comedy writing, to elicit laughs.

But in episode three, we started to look further afield from the two leads to give the support some characterisation, with Swoozie still the only decent character in the show; David Walton started to rein in his performance; and the writing managed to shine through with some decent direction so that there were some actual funny moments, largely involving cell phones but also Peet’s bedroom decor.

It’s a start, anyway. It’s still not that funny a show, but it’s not the total train wreck the first two episodes suggested. I’ll keep an eye on it for you, but at the moment, particularly given the catastrophically low ratings, I wouldn’t recommend watching it.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob’s prediction: Cancelled before the season even finishes, but if it manages to limp that far, it won’t get renewed for a second season.

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Third-episode verdict: Missing (ABC)

In the US: Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC

Three episodes into Missing – aka The Bourne Identity crossed with Taken and starring Ashley Judd – and things have gone a little downhill. After a surprisingly promising but derivative and occasionally saccharine first episode, the second episode proved to be even more ridiculous than the first: Jesus of Montreal himself, Lothaire Bluteau, made an appearance to not much effect. Linguistic tricks around the phrase ‘hard drive’ were needed for a very uninteresting reveal. The break-in was silly, the whole Netleaks thing was even more ridiculous and the narrow squeak at the end preposterous. But it was still a tense hour.

Episode three was sillier still, with pretty much everything utterly predictable and featuring some really quite impressively bad acting from Judd’s best friend and the supposedly British lawyer who showed up.

Much of the tension in Missing comes from the fights and action. To keep things interesting, the show is varying what we get each episode, usually giving us one good stunt scene and one bad. So episode one had a very good martial arts fight and a very silly vespa chase; episode two went for car and motorbike-based excitement – and Ashley Judd running after a plane; and episode three gave us speedboats. But it’s very much diminishing returns. The fights in episode three were poor compared to that in the first episode and the vehicle work really wasn’t anything to write home about.

And unfortunately, as mentioned in episode one, the action is about the only thing going for the show apart from Ashley Judd and the location-shooting in France and Italy. The plots are now getting National Treasure-level ridiculous; the acting is dreadful, even once you make allowances for the fact most people are acting in a second language; there’s not enough characterisation and development going on to make you care about the characters; the dialogue is hideously clichéd; and everything is just way too easy for Judd, who keeps getting arrested then released for no good reason. Plus Sean Bean hasn’t turned up again.

If you want to consider it as a guilty pleasure, I won’t judge you – I’ll probably carry on watching it, too. But largely, this is a very silly show that should be a whole lot better but isn’t.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Will last a season then get cancelled.

Sitting Tennant

Friday’s Sitting Tennant (week 13, 2012) and March’s winner announced

Hebbie's Sitting Tennant

Shilohforever's Sitting Tennant

Sister Chastity's Sitting Tennant

And it’s Sister Chastity by a nose!

  1. Sister Chastity: 55
  2. Shilohforever: 45
  3. Hebbie: 25

Sitting Board of Winners 2012
Hebbie, Sister Chastity

Sister Chastity

Sister Chastity

Got a picture of David Tennant sitting, lying down or in some indeterminate state in between? Then leave a link to it below or email me and if it’s judged suitable and doesn’t obviously infringe copyright, it will appear in the “Sitting Tennant” gallery. Don’t forget to include your name in the filename so I don’t get mixed up about who sent it to me.

The best pic in the stash each week will appear on Tuesday and get ten points; the runners up will appear on Friday (one per person who sends one in) and get five points.

Each month, I’ll name the best picture provider and then at the end of the year, the overall champion will be announced for 2012!