Monday, April 09, 2012

"Touch": a losing proposition?

I've now seen the first three episodes of "Touch," a show executive-produced by and starring Kiefer Sutherland. I can see why commenter John from Daejeon says the ratings for the show have dropped: the second and third episodes feel like repeats of the first, with very little forward movement in the story arc. I have a feeling the show's going to fizzle, and it'll fizzle for the same reasons that killed "Flash Forward": a mystery show that has a strong beginning needs to keep the mystery fresh and intense from show to show. If it fails in this, viewers will lose interest. The second and third episodes of "Touch" feel almost like clones of each other. Both episodes have some heartfelt moments, but those scenes aren't enough to hide the fact that the show's formula has become obvious in under three hours. Sutherland's character, Martin Bohm, even makes reference to this fact in the third episode: "From here on in, my life is going to be running down random numbers for [my son] Jake?" One of the reviewers I had linked to in my previous post expressed a similar fear:

What remains to be seen, though, is whether future installments of Touch will play out as an interesting, interwoven narrative that's as satisfying as it is unusual — or, on the other hand, whether they'll just turn into some sort of metaphysical Mission: Impossible, with new cases to solve each week as in dozens of other adventure series.

The show seems to have gone the "M:I" route, which is unfortunate. While that was a good formula for TV series from the 1970s and 80s (e.g., Kwai Chang Caine and David Banner as ceaselessly wandering do-gooders), modern viewers prefer stories with multiple arcs to them. "Touch" offers little more than a mildly fascinating string of improbable coincidences. The fact that we know the coincidences will all come together ten minutes before the end of the episode leaves us with little reason to feel suspense... or even interest. On top of this, we have no evidence that these coincidences really do fit any sort of Fibonacci pattern.

I'm also annoyed by Sutherland's obviously dyed hair. What's wrong with being in your mid-forties and showing a little gray, dammit?


1 comment:

John from Daejeon said...

It only took nearly 62 years for Coca-Cola to wise up concerning the affectiveness, and effectiveness, of those billions and billions of dollars in commercials on getting the public to buy their products.

Some of the comments in regards to the article are all the focus group testing those suits with selling products really need. Blowing those billions on Nielsen ratings and audience testing never seemed like a bigger waste of money than seeing what one can learn from a simple Internet/blog posting.