I wasn't sure what to make of Touch when I first read the premise, but I was anxious to give it a try. Having never been any good at math, the thought of following a show about a child who sees the world through a kaleidoscope of numbers and calculations was a little daunting.
However, having used several tissues to get through the pilot. I'll admit that it's the emotional connection, not the mathematical one, that kept me glued to the screen.
As I was a huge fan of 24, I was eager to see Kiefer Sutherland return to TV and, although Martin Bohm is no Jack Bauer, I wasn't disappointed. Martin's a man who will do anything to connect with his mute, emotionally challenged son.
It was interesting to note that the show never used the word autistic. Although some will see that as a cop out, I'm willing to give the writers some creative leeway if for no other reason than so many programs struggle to get the details right when they label a character as having this disease.
Jake has never spoken and doesn't like to be touched. So much so that Martin tells the social worker:
I wouldn't do that if I were you. Not unless you want to spend the next three hours peeling him off the ceiling. | permalink
The pilot certainly had its strengths and weaknesses. There were so many characters that made an appearance that it's hard to determine how many will return past this first episode.
As much as I enjoyed the plot about the cell phone skipping around the globe, it did feel a little far-fetched. That the customer service agent would have the boy with the phone and a bomb strapped to him who's desperate for a bakery oven on one line - and the original phone owner on the other, who just happens to be a restaurant equipment salesman - seemed a stretch.
But the pictures of Simon's deceased daughter Lily showing up on the jumbotron had me bawling my eyes out. I didn't realize I'd need my box of Kleenex for Touch.
And I question why Clea the social worker was so adamant about taking Jake away from his father after he climbed the cell tower. From what Martin said, he had his son in a very expensive special needs school. Shouldn't someone be investigating the school instead?
It was easy to feel for Martin. His career's in the toilet, his wife is gone and his son has never spoken to him and won't be touched. As Clea said: "Human connection is a powerful need" and Martin's life's lacking in connections.
What sold the show for me were two things:
- The inherent belief that we are all connected in a way that we really don't understand. Perhaps someone like Jake sees that connection in ways that most of us aren't able to.
- Martin's unconditional love for his son. Hugs, kisses, and I love yous, things that most parents count on, were things that Martin has never had. But that didn't diminish his desire to protect and love his child and that's a powerful thing.
I'm not sure where this series will lead. Jake's special sight could take us to the future, the past or simply another view of our connection to one another - but I'm intrigued by the spirituality as much as the science and I look forward to watching episode two.
What grade would you give the Touch premiere?
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.