When Touch premieres its second season tonight on Fox, expect the series to take a “dangerous” turn. In fact, everything will change on the Kiefer Sutherland show, promise creator and executive producer Tim Kring and executive producer Carol Barbee.
Sutherland plays Martin Bohm, a dad who is on the run with his mathematically gifted son, Jake, from the mysterious Aster Corp. At the end of season one, Martin and Jake (David Mazouz) ended up in Los Angeles and ran into Lucy Robbins, a mother desperately searching for her gifted daughter, Amelia, who may have been taken by Aster Corp.
“We will pick directly up from that and continue the story that we were telling at the end of the season,” said Kring. “If you were a loyal viewer of the show, you will have noticed that the show started off in a kind of standalone nature, where every episode had a beginning and middle and an end, and things were sort of tied up. By the end of the season we had introduced a more serialized engine to the show, and we ended the season with Kiefer Sutherland’s character taking his son and running, basically on the run, and coming all the way to California in search of this mysterious girl named Amelia. … That connects us up with Maria Bello’s character, who is Amelia’s mother. That’s where we pick up the season.”
Not only does the action move from New York City to Los Angeles, “that entire world and all the characters that were in that world are starting pretty much fresh in the second season,” said Kring.
The series initially focused on seemingly random mathematical elements that connected people in surprising ways, with the communicationally challenged Jake getting Martin to begin a chain reaction of events each episode that affected people around the world. This season we'll see less of that as the action focuses more on Martin, Lucy and Jake as they try to find Amelia and learn more about Aster Corp.
“It’s a combination of both. I’d say this year the stories, there are three main stories that are all serialized in their own way, and they’re all barreling towards one another, so that there comes a point where they all intersect, and that’s where the major thrust of the action is,” said Barbee.
Along with Bello, we'll meet two scary new villains from Aster Corp.
Lukas Haas “plays Calvin Norburg, who is a genius who has been doing the work and trying on an analog level to achieve the kinds of results with numbers and patterns that Jake is able to do naturally. We have him [on] Jake’s trail.” And Said Toghmaoui plays Guillermo Ortiz, an extreme religious zealot who is bent on tracking them down people like Jake and doing harm to them.
“These three stories sort of barrel towards one another. There are still those connections that happen around the world. Some of them are much darker this year because of the story with Said, but it’s much more of a page-turner. It is serialized. Every episode does feed in to the next,” said Barbee.
What happened at "the end of last season, by introducing this nefarious villain in this corporation, Aster Corp., that we introduced, and by raising the threat to Jake and to people like Jake, it really dictated that was the direction we were going to go in in the second season,” said Kring.
While Barbee didn't feel that there was much danger for Martin and Jake until the end of season one, that will change in season two.
“By the end of the last season it was dangerous and [Martin] had to go on the run. We got that ball rolling downhill. He’s on the run, and it’s dangerous. People are after them, but then those connections do start to happen again, so that part of the series does not get lost. It definitely comes back in to it, and also within those stories that are barreling towards each other, even with the danger there will be those touches that happen around the world. I think that the audience will be satisfied because they’ll actually have both," she said.
“The truth is there will be less of that idea of sort of disconnected people who somehow connect up at the very end of the episode. Because of the nature of the very high stakes that are driving the main story, it’s sometimes very hard to jump off of that train and onto a story that doesn’t have a lot of stakes to it. I think once we start down this hill, I think people are going to be pretty hooked on the idea of finding Amelia and what it all means and who is behind all of this. My feeling has always been while there are still parts of that in this season, we can always come back to that, and I think once the danger is lifted then we see sort of glimpses of how we’re going to come back to those kinds of stories,” said Kring.
While things will change with Touch, “I can’t really stress enough that the loyal viewer of last season I think will find this very seamless, because there has just been such a natural progression on this story, and especially towards the end of last season. All of those things were rewarded. You were rewarded for your loyal viewing. All those hidden easter eggs start to show up about Aster Corp. and about the 36 chosen ones, and all of that mythology gets flushed out in a really big way in the second season. You’re very much rewarded for having been there from the very beginning,” he said.
There will be one other significant change as well involving Martin and Jake.
“In the second season we’re going to play with that idea of their ability to communicate with each other a lot, and so I think people who felt maybe frustrated that there was little communication are going to feel a lot less frustrated by the ways in which Jake communicates to his father without speaking are going to really increase this season,” said Kring.
“I think we’re also playing with an evolution in Jake, and the people like Jake, so it’s also rooted in the mythology of the show as to what is happening and how quickly it’s happening or how slowly it’s happening. But they’re sort of raising something in each other, and we’ll see that develop as we go along,” said Barbee.
As for the sci-fi of it all, Kring said we'll see more of it in season two.
“I think that part of it actually gets heightened a little bit this year. I don’t know that I would call it sci-fi as much as kind of mystical or, yeah, sort of, it may be supernatural more than sci-fi. Yes, but I think it gets heightened a little bit this year, when we dig in to the mythology of who Jake is. Why he is the way he is, and why are there others out there? It’s not much of a spoiler to say that we do introduce this idea of this new character Amelia, played by Saxon Sharbino. She comes in to the show fairly early on in the season and is someone who possesses the same sort of abilities that Jake has, and so we dig a little deeper into it this year, and we don’t shy away from it,” he said.
“And then the mythology of the numbers and what they all mean. Jake has started those numbers from the first episode, from the pilot, and they continue. You will understand this season what they mean and what their power is, so I think that also feeds in to the supernatural sci-fi element,” said Barbee.
“I think the audience is going to be thrilled. I think it’s a real page-turner. It’s sort of a thrill ride this year, and you’re watching Kiefer Sutherland, who people love to watch on a mission. You’re watching him on a mission, and he’s got a great storyline. I think people are going to really hook in and really enjoy it and take the ride,” she said.
Here's a look at season two of Touch:
Touch's two-hour premiere airs on Fox tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Its regular timeslot will be Fridays at 9 p.m.