Kiefer Sutherland doesn’t get the chance to torture any bad guys in Fox’s Touch. But the erstwhile Agent Bauer is so impressive in his new role, you almost don’t miss the ass-kicking. He’s now playing Martin Bohm, widowed father of an 11-year-old mute boy. Touch is no sappy Lifetime sob story, though. It’s from Heroes creator Tim Kring, lover of all things metaphysical, so naturally young Jake has a superpower: He can divine the future by identifying patterns the rest of us miss. Martin’s role: to figure out what his son’s clues mean and, if necessary, take action to prevent disaster or help facilitate a felicitous outcome. In the pilot (which previewed in January to impressive ratings), Martin finds himself helping a British man track down a lost cell phone; future episodes deal with story lines both momentous (an astronaut in peril) and mundane (a kid is teased by classmates). Kring doesn’t soft-pedal his “we’re all in this together” message, and this will turn off the Bill Mahers among us, skeptical of a higher power. But if you want to believe, Touch has the potential to be a compelling anthology—and a great showcase for Sutherland’s considerable acting talents. (Four bunnies)—Josef Adalian
BEHIND THE SCENES TIM KRING SPEAKS
PLAYBOY: Will fans of Heroes recognize any of that show’s DNA in Touch?
KRING: In a lot of ways, Touch has a distilled quality of something in Heroes, which is this idea of interconnectivity and global consciousness. But Heroes usually had a big event the story would be centered around. These stories are about the very small.
PLAYBOY: Heroes started big but quickly lost viewers. Lessons learned?
KRING: We were aware this time not to get wrapped up in a serialized story so complicated that people couldn’t follow it. I want to do stand-alone stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end.
PLAYBOY: Surely something else is going on besides a kid with special abilities.
KRING: The character at the heart of this series has an amazing ability that borders on the supernatural. You really can’t do that without opening the door to more stories out there.