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Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Getting back in ‘Touch’ with his TV obsession

It won’t be long now.

Before we get too far into the month of March, I will be setting aside the compulsive side of my personality to indulge in the obsessive side.

This has to do with a new TV series that will be making its debut next month, and I will be watching every Monday night episode until the programs have run their course.

I will not keep you in suspense. The name of the series is “Touch,” and don’t ask me why they call it that. Somebody in production decided it was a good idea.

The pilot program was shown in late January. It stars Kiefer Sutherland, who went through living hell once a week on “24.” That is where the obsessive-compulsive part comes in. I was O-C about watching “24,” to the point that it almost ruled my life.

I am deeply indebted to the person who invented the black box on top of our living room TV set, because when I am unable to watch a show I am O-C about, I record it and watch it later.

There were times I wasn’t able to be home on a Monday evening. Multiple events of varying degrees of importance were always coming up.

So I would record “24,” or anything else approaching that level of intensity, for example, an Indians game. I would hit the “record” button, a little red light would come on and the program would be there for later viewing.

Other that sporting events, there have been very few programs that approached the level of excitement attained every Monday by “24.”

Oh, I was O-C about watching “The Fugitive,” but that was on back in the days of black-and-white TV, before recording buttons were invented.

When I watched the pilot program of “Touch,” I knew I was hooked.

I realize it will never reach the level of madness that “24” attained every Monday, but that was a once-in-a-lifetime show, one that disrupted work schedules every Tuesday as otherwise dedicated workers would take time off at the proverbial water cooler to recount every detail of the previous night’s show.

When I read that Kiefer Sutherland, the man they could never kill off as Jack Bauer in “24,” would be starring in “Touch,” my commitment was sealed.

Instead of watching Jack Bauer in “24” on Monday, I would now be watching Martin Bohm in “Touch.”

Actually, that is a hideous name for a hero in an adventure series, but I am not convinced that Martin will be as heroic as Jack.

It always took a dozen or so guys to rough up Jack, and not until he had knocked the daylights out of half of them.

But on the pilot program of “Touch” some dopey neighbor of Martin’s punched him in the stomach and it really knocked him for a loop.

Of course, in our neighborhood people don’t go around punching people in the stomach, so we don’t have any clear-cut examples of Jack Bauer or Martin Bohm prototypes.

 “24” ran for seven or eight years, or days, in their parlance. So by the time I got caught up in it, I had missed the first two years (days).

But I found a good friend, I believe it was Larry Disbro, who had purchased the DVDs of the early shows, and I borrowed them.

Catching up was disastrous for my sleeping habits. I would watch three or four hours of episodes, and then say “I will take just a peek at the beginning of the next hour to see what is happening.”

That didn’t work at all. I would end up watching the entire hour, then take a peek at the beginning at the beginning of the next hour, and so on, until it got to be 4 a.m. and I was still taking peeks at the next episode.

In the new series, Jack, or rather, Martin, has an 11-year-old son who has never spoken. The lad is emotionally challenged, but he has the ability to predict things before they happen. He is constantly scribbling numbers with magic implications on a pad.

They always seem to happen at 3:18 in the afternoon while the boy, Jake Bohm, whose real name is David Mazouz, is on top of a radio tower, where he has climbed, scaring the daylights out of the entire cast.

I would guess the boy is not mute. In other words, he has an acting part that does not require any speaking, but I presume when they are sitting around the set, having lunch, he says whatever is on his mind.

At least, that’s what I’m thinking right now. I will keep watching to find out for sure.


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