One of my favorite new shows from last season is Touch, the Fox drama starring Kiefer Sutherland as Martin Bohm, a widower and single dad who can’t seem to connect with his emotionally challenged 11-year-old son Jake, played by David Mazouz, an amazing young actor who hits the big screen next year in Sanitarium with Lou Diamond Phillips, and Conversations with Andy with Willow Shields.
In my interview with Sutherland earlier this year, he said this about working with Mazouz:
“He’s an amazing young actor and an amazing young man. He does something that’s really impossible to teach an actor to do. He has very limited physical response to anything that I do. He doesn’t talk, and yet I can feel his presence even if he’s not looking at me. I can always sense that he’s listening, and I think that comes across to the viewer, as well. That’s a real gift.”
Mazouz was the first actor Sutherland read with, and he knew right away he was the one. “All the kids were fantastic, but there was something really special with David,” said Sutherland. “I’ve just been completely amazed by how focused and attentive he is. I really love working with him.”
That clearly comes across to the viewer. We can tell when a pairing works, and it definitely works with Sutherland and Mazouz. But if you came to the show expecting to see Sutherland reprise his kick-ass Jack Bauer-like character from 24, it was evident right from the start that Martin Bohm was different. It didn’t take Martin long to start beating people up, but mostly, he’s just a vulnerable dad trying to connect with his son.
As Sutherland noted, Touch is based on a Chinese fable called The Red Thread, “which is basically a red thread looped loosely around the ankles of all the people that are supposed to come in contact with each other over the course of a lifetime,” he said. “This thread can stretch and it can bend, but it cannot break. Somehow in our society, we’ve broken this, and my son is taking me on a journey to try and put the thread back together.”
And, in the process, save people who need saving. The story is compelling, but even more compelling for me is the relationship between Martin and Jake, which evolved over the course of season one. Here’s a short clip from season one:
In my review over at TV Worth Watching, I noted that number-focused storylines have been done before — including Numb3rs — but that Touch brings something new to the table with the father-son connection. As a parent, I wanted to keep watching not so much for the numbers and patterns, but to see if Martin could connect with Jake in a more meaningful way.
If you haven’t yet checked out Touch, season one was released on DVD Oct. 16, and it’s also available on Netflix. Plenty of time to get caught up before the season two premiere on Fri., Feb. 1, 2013. Am I worried that the show is being moved to the Friday Night Death Slot? Not really. Fringe has done well there, and if you have a good fanbase, which I hope Touch has, a Friday night airing doesn’t have to be the kiss of death.
In season two, the action shifts from New York to Los Angeles, where Martin and Jake find themselves in at the center of a global conspiracy involving a mother in search of her missing teenage daughter, a mathematical genius and a religious zealot assassinating others with abilities like Jake’s. Joining the cast this season are Maria Bello, Lukas Haas, Said Taghmaoui, and newcomer Saxon Sharbino.
Buy Touch Season One on DVD, and watch a little little preview of season two: