Remember when Jack Bauer was forced into a situation where he needed some friend (not foe) to get out of his way so he could stop some damn terrorists? He'd perform his mighty headlock maneuver and whisper ever so gently, "Don't fight it." That's more or less how Kiefer Sutherland feels about Touch, the new show in which he stars created by Heroes boss Tim Kring. Watching it is what's best for you, he explained to reporters gathered on a conference call this week.
In the Fox drama (premiering Wednesday at 9/8c), Sutherland plays widower Martin Bohm, the father of a mute 11-year-old who he realizes harbors the uncanny ability to connect patterns and discover the meaning behind seemingly unrelated events happening all over the world. Each week, Martin will go and deal with his son's predictions, whether it means reuniting lovers or preventing a tragedy.
Which is to say, Touch is a good bit more sentimental than 24. But Sutherland says it brings dramatic suspense in a different way. Here are the seven reasons he strongly advises you to give this Martin guy and his problems a shot:
1. Sutherland had no intention of coming back to TV until he was handed the script for Touch. The actor was busy doing Broadway, shooting movies, and after eight seasons of world-saving on 24, he'd about had enough of TV's grueling schedule. Then he read Touch. "I read it almost reluctantly," Sutherland says. "I think it was around page 30, I remember going, 'Oh...'... I just knew I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity. I identified with [Martin] out of the gate."
2. No seriously, he really loves this show. "When I take a look at what I think Tim Kring is doing with the show, I certainly haven't been a part of anything more creative," Sutherland says. Thank you and good night.
3. His child co-star, David Mazouz? That kid uses the force. His Jedi mind-tricks include emoting while not speaking a single word of dialogue. "He doesn't talk and yet I can feel his presence, even if he's not looking at me," Sutherland says. "I can always sense that he's listening... That's a real gift." Apparently, Mazouz is also a talented baker. Here's the birthday cake he made Sutherland last month.
4. Martin Bohm isn't so different from Jack Bauer. Both undertake uphill, seemingly insurmountable battles as a matter of everyday course. "Jack Bauer would be faced with unbelievable circumstances in the course of a day and he would never win completely," Sutherland says. "Martin is never going to win either. He's never going to have the quintessential relationship of a father and a son. And yet, he perseveres." Because of that, both characters also suffer from serious loneliness. "One of the things that moved me the most about Touch was that I felt that Martin was terribly alone," Sutherland says. (Too true. It still kills us just remembering that final scene of 24 where Jack says goodbye to Chloe because he's got to run and hide after saving the world. Again.)
5. Sutherland, too, believes we are cosmically connected. Showing how humanity is interdependent and interconnected is a big deal to Kring, who says that theme was the impetus for creating Touch. "I do believe that there is a cause-and-effect ripple upon everything everybody does and they have positive and negative consequences," Sutherland says. "If you start to focus on the kind of minutia of that, it's really quite extraordinary."
6. Martin's missions and the mystery behind those numbers will be plenty exciting! We have Sutherland's word on this, 24 fans: "There is a great deal of suspense within the context of the show, not knowing what the numbers are," he says. "Even though we're not blowing things up, I think that there is enough excitement around the drama of the show that people who enjoyed 24 won't be thrown by it."
7. If he can swing it, his dad will turn up. Who doesn't love Donald Sutherland? "I certainly have conveyed to Tim Kring that my father is someone who I would very, very much like to work with," Sutherland says. And you don't say no to Kiefer, right?
Will you do as he says and watch Touch? Or risk the consequences? Tell us in the comments below. And check out a special sneak peek below: