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Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) struggles to connect with his son Jake (David Mazouz) who won't talk and hates to be touched. When Martin discovers his son has a special gift the two start to form a true bond.
Created by Tim Kring (Heroes).
I was torn over whether or not to watch Touch after being disappointed by Tim Kring's last creation Heroes, which started off with a strong first season and then faded badly. I decided to give it a go as Touch has an intriguing concept and was good enough to lure Kiefer Sutherland back to TV.
The premise of the series is based around Jake Bohm's abilities; he reads numbers in a way that allows him to predict future events. With the help of his father, Martin, Jake helps put people on their right course whatever that may be. Jake is taken into care at the beginning of the series meaning Martin has to prove he is a good parent whilst running all over New York trying to follow his son's wishes.
Touch has a small regular cast with lots of other characters that pop in throughout the season now and then as storylines cross paths. Most of the episodes start with several story threads that initially appear unrelated but become intertwined as the episode progresses. This can get a little repetitive and predictable as the season plays out; it becomes more and more obvious how the different lives on show are going to interact which can make the episodes a little dull.
The show relies heavily on the Martin-Jake relationship but as Jake does not talk, it's basically down to Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) to carry the show. Obviously if Jake talked getting from A to B would be a lot simpler and you wouldn't be watching Martin on a wild goose chase for 40 minutes, that wouldn't make much of a show. The problem with Jake refusing to talk is that you get fed up of Martin shouting Jake over and over and telling him not to do things you know he is going to go ahead and do anyway.
There is an interesting arc cast over the season which comes to the forefront in the last few episodes but for the most part it is just a bit too formulaic. The dialogue written between Martin and Jake as well as their interaction with the social workers who care for Jake is so similar from episode to episode that it seems like it has been cut and pasted into each script.
The cast is good but as mentioned above, they put in the same performance every episode as that is what's written for them. Kiefer Sutherland (24) is a strong lead, as expected, but his incessant screaming after Jake gets too much. Yes it is the writing rather than the acting but it affected my perception of the character in a bad way.
David Mazouz is tough to judge from his performance on Touch, he is good at staring into space and running off. Other than that you don't get to see much from him. I would like to see him interact more with the other characters, he doesn't have to talk but some sort of contact would be good.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Larry Crowne) is social worker Clea Hopkins who tries to help Martin get his son back. The treatment of Clea was a little inconsistent, going from being a large part of episodes to having no real purpose in other episodes. I think the character could have been made a bigger part of the series; for the most part her role is to tell Martin to hurry up and get back for a meeting about Jake. The writers were cramming a lot into each episode and so it seems character development got shelved for the most part.
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) plays Arthur Teller, another numbers obsessed person. A greatly underused character and one that I felt the show could have done more with. Although the show relies on lots of new characters every week, I think the core characters could have been developed more giving the show a stronger base.
I did enjoy Touch but I watched it through to the end to see where it would and could go rather than being totally enthralled and just needing to watch more worldly adventures. The last two episodes set up season two nicely with Maria Bello (A History of Violence) guest starring. I don't see Touch as a long running series but there seems to be enough there to do one more season at least. Ratings weren't great and I get the feeling Touch was renewed more due to Sutherland's involvement than the quality of the show.
I'll be back to see what happens in the next season but Touch isn't brilliant, I think it could be so much better. There is still time for it to change, the writing needs to get a lot better. The ideas are good; it's just the repetitive nature of the dialogue that holds the show back. I would recommend just renting Touch to see if it floats your boat as I don't think it's a show I would watch again and again.
Kiefer Sutherland - Martin Bohm
Gugu Mbatha-Raw - Clea Hopkins
David Mazouz - Jake Bohm
Roxana Brusso - Sheri Strepling
Danny Glover - Arthur Teller
Episodes: 12 (approximately 43 mins each)
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