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Fox’s “Touch” Has Winning Formula

English: Actor Kiefer Sutherland at The Paley ...

Kiefer Sutherland

 

You can’t accuse writer-producer Tim Kring  of “Heroes” fame of creating shows painted by the numbers.

Kring hasn’t lost his touch for the complicated in his latest compelling series – Fox’s “Touch” — premiering tonight at 9 on WUTV.

It stars Kiefer Sutherland, as a widowed, frustrated father raising an autistic 10-year-old child who has an unusual connection with numbers and patterns that can help predict and influence the future.

Sutherland’s character, Martin Bohm, can’t connect with his son, Jake (David Mazouz), who doesn’t speak and gets in all sorts of trouble trying to get others to listen to his theories.

After tonight’s post-“Idol” premiere, “Touch” doesn’t return to Fox until March 19. It may take that long for some viewers to understand everything going on in a pilot that travels the world and is as busy as Grand Central Terminal during rush hour.

Viewers are introduced to characters in New York City, London, Japan and Iraq who may have lost touch with their lives in a fast-paced world full of terrorists, dreamers and tortured souls like Sutherland’s character, whose late wife was a stockbroker killed on 9/11.

The plot also includes a Brit trying to connect in some way with his daughter and a Baghdad teenage comedian trying to find an oven by any means necessary for his family.

The pilot is loaded with coincidences and confusing mathematical formulas, but it has its heart in the right place and is bound to appeal to those who believe in the positive influence technology can have  in making human connections.

Sutherland gives a strong performance as a sympathetic character who has some of Jack Bauer’s traits, most notably anger issues. Martin also is trying to save the world, one soul at a time. It’s hard to blame him for being frustrated about his inability to connect with his son and the inability of a beautiful social worker, Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), to initially understand how much father and son need each other. Danny Glover also is a guest star as Arthur Teller, who explains Martin’s destiny to him.

As in “Heroes,” Kring uses sub-titles for the foreign characters. Unlike “Heroes,” “Touch” has a more realistic backdrop along with its improbable coincidences and contrived moments (the oven story is a head-shaker) in an hour that throws everything out but the kitchen sink.

In the end, everything in the world seems to be connected, which is the theme of the series.

It won’t be as hard as waiting for “Mad Men” in March, but “Touch” has enough of the right touches to make viewers want to connect with it again.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

pergament@msn.com

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