Here’s the best way to know if you’ll like FOX’s new drama, Touch. After watching Crash, the 2005 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, did you A) cry like a baby? or B) walk out muttering, “Now that was a steaming pile of cinematic feces”? If you answered yes to A, Touch is your kind of show. And if you went B, keep on surfing.
Touch, you see, is unabashedly and unapologetically emotional. Like Crash, it features a variety of seemingly unconnected characters whose lives ultimately intersect in miraculous and beautiful ways. It’s about as subtle as when they move the bus on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and for me, that’s a great thing.
The show follows Martin Bohm (24‘s Kiefer Sutherland), a single father whose son, Jake, is an autistic 11-year-old who hasn’t spoken one word his entire life. Jake might not talk, but he is able to see patterns in the world that are invisible to everyone else. Through these observations, he can foresee timelines and events. Essentially, he can predict the future.
Jake’s inability to communicate forces him to share what he knows through mysterious behaviors, like collecting a bunch of cell phones and having them all receive calls from the same number. Or climbing a cell tower at the exact same time every day. Or arranging popcorn into specific piles.
Following these clues, Martin tries to fill in the missing pieces which will ultimately connect a group of strangers. The pilot features a British businessman always on the road, an Irish girl who wants to be a singer, a Japanese prostitute and a Middle Eastern boy in need of an oven. The way these four international characters’ lives intersect is beautiful and epic in scope, requiring that you either have a box of tissues on standby for all the tears (as I did) or a paper bag for the bile you’re going to spew.
There’s an additional subplot surrounding an angry man who obsessively buys lottery tickets (played by the always great Titus Welliver). The way his character plays into the story is jaw-dropping and astonishing, provided you don’t mind what can generously be described as several extreme coincidences.
But that’s what makes Touch so brilliant: it’s willingness to be absurd. The show doesn’t shy away from big emotional plots (Martin’s wife died while working in the World Trade Center on 9/11, for example). The show does exactly what its title promises. It touches you. It grabs a hold of your heartstrings and pulls on them for the entire episode. It’s grand and glorious, like an opera.
The pilot of Touch is a special sneak peek Wednesday, January 25 at 9pm on FOX. The show will begin its regular run Monday, March 19 at 9pm, taking over the time slot formerly held by 24.
(Image courtesy of FOX)