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TV Review:

By John Townley, March 18, 2012

We are all interconnected. Our lives are invisibly tied to those whose destinies touch ours, as if by durable threads that may stretch but never break.

This is the hopeful premise of the new Fox TV drama Touch from creator and writer Tim Kring (Heroes, Crossing Jordan) and executive producers Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope (New Girl, Terra Nova).

Blending science, spirituality and personal drama, the series will follow seemingly unrelated people all over the world whose lives affect each other in ways seen and unseen, known and unknown. At the story’s center is Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland), a widower and single father, haunted by an inability to connect to his emotionally challenged 11-year-old son, Jake (David Mazouz). Caring, intelligent and thoughtful, Martin has tried everything to reach his son. But Jake never speaks, shows little emotion, and never allows himself to be touched by anyone, including Martin. Jake is obsessed with numbers—writing long strings of them in his ever-present notebooks—and with discarded cell phones.

Social worker Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) believes that Jake’s needs are too serious for Martin to handle. She sees a man whose life has become dominated by a child he can no longer control. She believes that it’s time for the state to intervene. So Jake is placed in foster care, despite Martin’s desperate objections.

But everything changes after Martin meets Arthur Teller (Danny Glover), a professor and an expert on children who possess special gifts when it comes to numbers. Martin learns that Jake possesses an extraordinary gift—the ability to perceive the seemingly hidden patterns that connect every life on the planet. While Martin wants nothing more than to communicate directly with his son, Jake can only connect to his father through numbers, not words. Martin realizes that it’s his job to decipher these numbers and recognize their meaning. As he puts the pieces together, he will help people across the world connect as their lives intersect according to the patterns Jake has foreseen.

Only the opening pilot episode has aired so far, but that one definitely took us by storm. It’s full of mystical and fringe-science buttons like the Fibonacci series, startling synchronicities, the mute boy who might be an Indigo child, viral videos on prodigal cell phones, and lots of ominously-meaningful math play, all of which, when mixed in with globe-spanning technology, could somehow change the fate of the principle players and maybe all of humankind.

What struck us first and last was the ongoing metaphor and visual image of penetrating threads of destiny linking everyone in a total warp and woof of fate that grinds exceeding fine, to say the least. Hey, haven’t we run across that one before? Oh yes, we have: it’s the very idea of degree areas in astrology that tell you who’s connected, who’s not, and how. We’ve used just that metaphor and image in “Threads of Destiny”, which suggests that the astrological degrees, and where we share them, are  those very connecting threads. You don’t need a mystery child to tune you in to that. And, because they behave so regularly and reliably, they even allow us to rectify a birth chart by lining them up to find the right birth time. It’s a working hypothesis that most astrologers already have in their toolkit. If you didn’t catch those articles already, take time to check them out now.

It’s really refreshing to see these ideas out and about, even if the astrological link hasn’t been brought in, yet (maybe by the end of the series it will be, who knows?). Right now, it’s just a lot of mysterious numbers and predestined coincidences, drawing together unlikely fate-mates at an almost Jack Bauer/24 pace, with lots of nick-of-time action, one urgency piled upon the next.

The pilot program was compelling, and it was great to see so many sort-of-scientific ideas that will please astrologers, math freaks, and conspiracy theorists alike, not to mention those with a deep faith that we are all irretrievably connected, if only by the producers at Fox. Should substantive plots and character development follow, this could be a winner and an eye-opener to bring wider audiences for many of our favorite theories and pursuits, scientific and mystical alike. Or, it could easily become formulaic and repetitive, and that would be a shame.

In the meantime, it’s definitely a bright spot in the TV week this spring. Catch it Thursdays at 9/8c on your local Fox channel…certainly worth a few weeks of watching, to see how it develops…

Kiefer Sullivan plays a dad whose kid may have the keys to the world's destiny, but can't say it in words...until his inner Jack Bauer springs to life to be the catalyst .


Young Jake (David Mazouz) can't say a word, but lets the numbers do all the talking...along with Fibonacci series, cell phones all over the world, and who knows what yet to come...


Social worker Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) tries to step in and take the child away, but soon is blown away by his amazing powers and joins the action to help him keep the world's destiny in one piece.

  Copyright © John Townley 2012. All rights reserved.
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