“Only connect” said EM Forster – long before it became a quiz show – and Tim Kring has taken that very basic of human desires and run with it as the basis for this new series; Touch is all about connecting.
The central conceit is that we’re all inextricably linked and if you can see the connections, you can see everything – what has been, what is and what will be. All at once. Unfortunately, if you can see everything, you can’t speak to anyone about it, because you’re far too advanced a human being to bother with an “evolutionary speed bump” like talking. (Yes, the characters actually talk like this.)
Jack Bauer’s Martin Bohm’s young, mute, autistic son, Jake, is one of these chosen few. Martin is desperate to bond with him but doesn’t realise that Jake’s obsession with numbers and cell phone masts and the like is actually the boy trying to connect with him too – because it’s the numbers that connect everyone and everything, everywhere. Cue a huge cast of characters spread all over the world, each with interlinked stories and intertwined fates.
You might think you’d come across these ideas before. You’d be right.
Of course, as we’ve said before, there’s nothing wrong with using an old idea if you find a way to make it entertaining again. Touch has not done this, though. New-age, pseudo-scientific, navel-gazing gibberish, bathed in warm golden tones, the show is well-meaning but trite nonsense, which suffers principally from trying too hard to be a combination of the shows that went before it: it wants to be a weird sort of procedural and Heroes and Lost (as well as the numbers and the connections, even the Man In Black turned up!), all at the same time. Unfortunately, in doing so, it manages to completely ignore the qualities of those shows (both of which I loved) in favour of super-sizing the flaws instead – Touch is schmaltzy, over-earnest rubbish, masquerading as something a lot deeper than it actually is.
Worse than that, though, it’s also stupendously boring. From the very first second, with that opening voiceover which Mohinder must have left lying around, the tedium is overwhelming and not even Kiefer Sutherland’s gravelly tones or a quest appearance from Danny Glover can save the show from sucking. I stuck with Heroes for 4 seasons, but one episode of Touch was more than enough for me. I won’t be watching again.