When 9/11 widower Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland, "24") realizes that his mute, autistic son Jake’s (David Mazouz) preoccupation with numbers may be more than just an eccentricity, he follow him down a rabbit hole of mathematical improbabilities and strange coincidences—and discovers that the universe may be far more frightening than global terrorists hell-bent on nuking America in 24 hours or less (we've missed you, Kiefer!).
The buzz: Sutherland makes his first return to the small screen since his Jack Bauer days, but "Touch" finds him trading firearms for Fibonacci sequences. The high-concept series is brought to you by "Heroes" writer and executive producer Tim Kring, which should enough to make fans (and critics) of the canceled NBC sci-fi series equal parts intrigued and apprehensive. "Touch"’s continues Hollywood’s recent preoccupation with 9/11, but the twin towers are much more of a background element than a unifying theme.
The verdict: Like "Heroes," "Touch"’s pilot is incredibly ambitious and globe-spanning, which results in some shining moments that show great promise for episodes to come, and some head-thuddingly idiotic moments that cast serious doubt on the team’s ability to pull it all off. The good: Sutherland’s put-upon single dad is a strong, sympathetic lead, and with a few exceptions, the writing is natural and surprisingly understated, even as the characters expound on such lofty topics as the fabric of space and time.
But if you’re not willing to go along with "Touch"’s starry-eyed mysticism, then there’s plenty to roll your eyes at. Danny Glover as a kooky special-child-specialist is just half a Morgan Freeman away from dreaded Magical Black Man territory, and the portentous tone often veers into unintentional camp (this is a show where the line “I can get you an oven!” is a climactic moment.) A lot of the improbable coincidences can be excused by the overall premise of interconnectivity, but a few test the limits of even that logic. Still, if the writers handle the far-flung assortment of characters and locales (and give us a reason to care about the central plot concerning Martin’s custody of Jake, which for now, is pretty weak), "Touch" has serious potential to turn into a spooky little mindbender (think '90s cult show "Early Edition," but with more math.)
Did you know? "Touch" may stretch its credibility at times, but the ubiquity of the Fibonacci sequence is far from fictitious—it can be found in everything from the Parthenon to Debussy’s "Reflections in Water" to the 2002 Tool song “Lateralus.”
"Touch" premieres Wednesday, January 25, at 9 p.m. on Fox.