Touch, Season One DVD Review

touch season 1 dvd review

Jake is an odd kid. He has the ability to see and interpret patterns that others mistake as coincidence and unrelated trivialities. Basically an open conduit to all the world’s information, he has to mentally shut himself in to keep from being overwhelmed by the constant onslaught of data. He’s never spoken a word in his entire life, and he doesn’t have an effective means of communicating all that he knows. This leaves him disconnected from his loving father, Martin, who is struggling with the loss of his wife.

During an incident where the state tries to step in and remand Jake to their custody, Martin begins to pick up clues hidden in Jakes cryptic communications. He eventually discovers that Jake can predict the future using a strange and innate ability involving numbers. After meeting with Dr. Teller, a disgraced doctor who is familiar with Jake’s condition, Martin realizes the potential good that can be achieved through Jake’s gift.

Touch has taken the somewhat familiar but inexhaustibly intriguing concept that all life is interconnected through incomprehensibly complex patterns and draped it over a dull cast of characters ripped straight out of a Lifetime original movie. The show’s one saving grace is the hypnotic intensity of the lead actor, Kieffer Sutherland. Without his subdued charisma, this show would have absolutely nothing but an inverted take on the classic TV crime drama.

Also, Danny Glover, who appears now to be the perfect age for this shit, is the doc ex machina who acts interpreter for all the boy’s weirdness. He’s a welcome addition, adding weight and gravitas to the role and most scenes in which he’s included, but his presence is also strangely jarring. Maybe it’s a bad fit, or maybe the character is poorly written. Maybe it’s his unnerving lack of mustache. I can’t be sure.

To me, Touch doesn’t promise much of a shelf life as a series. There isn’t much of an overarching story to speak of, beside exploring the cosmic raison d’etre of Jake’s ability. Each episode finds our band of do-gooders following Jake’s frustratingly coded clues and slowly honing in on some person that is inching toward disaster of some caliber. This gets old fairly quickly, and some of the connections are unbelievably spurious. Couple this with the fact that their lead is a child actor who will eventually grow older and more acceptably punchable, and you’ve got three seasons at best.

That’s not to say it’s completely unsatisfying. I just think the story might be better served in a more concise format. This subject matter was dealt with rather successfully in the movie Pi, where a mathematician develops an algorithm that provides a primer for understanding all of existence. The plot was simple and quick, leaving the most interesting portions of the story to the extrapolative imagination of the viewer. In the television serial format, it just seems to bang you over the head every episode yelling, “Isn’t this interesting? Isn’t this interesting?”

The disc has a bunch of deleted scenes, but all of them seem to have been cut for a reason. In terms of narrative, there’s not a lot to be gained by watching.