Ok, we get a voiceover at the start and an image of a spinning Earth. We then see no other name on the title sequence apart from one and after 10 minutes you get a feeling that a young boy may have some superpower gift. Just when you think you may have seen this all before, we get some scenes of two people talking where all we have is subtitles to read and a knowing that there is going to be some kind of adventure for those who do not speak the language we the viewer know well.
Does this sound very similar?
Yes, it seems that Tim Kring can not quite escape the shadow of Heroes after watching his new show TOUCH, his signature moves were everywhere to be seen and I was half expecting Hiro to turn up and start fighting Sylar in the middle of the street. You can forgive yourself if you thought that his new show and his last could actually exist in the same universe. The mood and styling felt the same and it was quite surreal at first especially when the lead star was Mr Jack Bauer who after twenty minutes uttered the word “Dammit!” much to the amusement to all 24 fans everywhere.
Its to the credit of Kiefer Sutherland that he managed to do the impossible in my eyes. After the first half hour all I could see in my eyes was the figure of Bauer and even when he got hit by an angry stranger and took it without hitting back I screamed, “If he was Jack, you would be dead now!”. But somehow after a while I seemed to forget the world of CTU and double agents and began to grasp the new character of Martin Bohm a single father whose wife was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack and with the added problem of a 11-year-old son, Jake (David Mazouz), who hasn’t spoken a word since he was born and doesn’t like to be touched by anyone. We do hear Jake’s thoughts with a voiceover but he does have a nice habit of scribbling down numbers at any given rate. Its pretty clear from the off that Jake is more than autistic but what…..well it is the first episode and like all pilots we just get a taste.
The always great Danny Glover in the role of a professor told Martin that the reason why his son likes to climb mobile phone mast’s is because he was, and yes its Heroes time again “the next stage of human evolution”…..which of course Martin took well in his stride because he most probably had seen an episode of Kring’s last show and was just glad his son could not fly or cut off people’s heads.
Jake’s gift it seems that he can predict the future through his obsession with numbers and patterns, oh yes……that old chestnut………didn’t we see this in a film called KNOWING a few years back!
Touch was a gentle start to a show that really wants to be different to 24 and Heroes and by doing that it may make those fans turn off after the pilot. You can see why Kiefer agreed to go back to telly land with this role because he is the anti Bauer, he can not fight, does not have a ticking clock to keep him restrained but does have undying passion for his son and believes in what he is capable of. Like I said, Kiefer carried the entire show, for those who have no wish to see this but loved 24, remember the end of Day 3 and Jack broke down in the car after a tough day of loss and betrayal?, Well that scene made all 24 fans cry and the full 45 minutes of this pilot was Kiefer in that soul searching mood. It was good stuff but way too heavy at times and I think we got the idea of what Martin was like without being reminded every few minutes.
There were many elements of the episode that did not quite work. The phone that ended up in different countries before being tied to a young boy who was all set to become a human bomb seemed a bit far fetched for my liking and somehow distracted the overall plot of Martin and this strange man who likes to play the lottery and their somewhat connection. I have to say the final revelation between these two was a real good moment and did make my heart swell with joy and it will be interesting to see where this goes in future episodes.
My main worry is the name of Kring behind the whole show. Lets not beat around the bush and say what everyone knows. Heroes Season One was one of TV’s greatest ever programmes but the series went totally downhill after the start of the second season. I never forget the hate I felt after watching episode and episode of the show building up Adam to be the new main unstoppable bad guy only for him to be then buried underground with ease and then killed off on his next appearance. It was awful writing and made me actually stop watching the show after being so much annoyed at the outcome. It was only last year I caught up with the end of Season Three and I am still yet to even see an episode of the fourth and last season.
I have worries that Kring may not be able to sustain what he set out for TOUCH which seems to be at the moment a kind of Quantum Leap formula show in which Jake sets his father on a path to help someone in need. That I do not mind, but can Kring stop himself from overcomplicating things and creating a world of evil agents and those with a similar “touch”? We have had one or two tiny hints that there could be more like Jake out there and I just hope that the numbers do not follow us down that route or we do not get a love triangle between Martin and social worker Clea Hopkins, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw…..because at the moment Touch intrigues me, lets hope it stays on this path and we do not bump into Peter Petrelli on the way…..