Channel hop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am


This muggy spring weather may be keeping us guessing, but we have not one but two global premieres to look forward to today and tomorrow.

First, Heroes creator Tim Kring returns to his fixation about all human beings being connected in a web of fate in Touch (Fox; two-hour global premiere tonight at 8.55pm). The synchronised worldwide release of the drama bolsters that idea, albeit in a commercially self-serving way. The rest of the introductory work falls squarely onto the shoulders of Kiefer Sutherland (24), who plays Martin Bohm, a September 11 widower and former journalist, and David Mazouz, who plays his 10-year-old son, Jake, who neither speaks nor allows anyone to touch him.

The boy spends his time in self-isolation, scribbling numeric sequences (the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence, for a start) in a notebook and programming mobile phones that his father brings home from the lost and found department of JFK Airport, where he works as a baggage handler. Bohm struggles to provide for, and get through to, his son while fending off the well-meaning but curiously abrasive attentions of a social worker whose evaluation threatens to institutionalise Jake. Haggard and stressed, Bohm doesn't realise he is at the cusp of his 'true calling', which is to decipher Jake's numeric messages into a 'roadmap' of deeper connections with strangers in seemingly disparate situations.

Of course, it wouldn't be in Kring's oeuvre if there weren't a growing number of satellite stories from across the globe. The gimmick threading these together is unobtrusive enough - a mobile phone misplaced at London's Heathrow Airport that somehow finds its way to New York, Dublin, Tokyo and Baghdad. But how the phone's jet-setting journey culminates in a series of melodramatic final scenes will hurt your head while tugging at your heartstrings.

Even in the pilot episode, the Touch universe seems to expand too far, too fast - a development that suffocated Heroes in its second season. It's too early to tell whether Kring will make the same mistake here. Our hope is that he keeps the main focus on the Bohms and the considerable staying power of his leading man.

British fund-raising extravaganza Sport Relief kicks off with This Is Sport Relief (BBC Entertainment; Monday at 8pm). For the first time, the biennial event will enjoy an international broadcast; Hong Kong audiences will be treated to week-long programming, produced especially for those outside Britain - and there's a lot of catching up to do.

Since 2002, Comic Relief (which also produces the famous Red Nose Day charity telethon) and BBC Sport have brought together British sporting and comedic celebrities to perform in death-defying challenges and gut-splitting specials in the name of charity. Ahead of its sixth edition, Sport Relief has raised more than GBP100 million (HK$1.2 billion) to help the needy around the world. In tomorrow night's special, Stephen Fry employs his spit and wit to introduce all that is Sport Relief, with event excerpts from previous years - including Victoria 'Posh' Beckham's visit to underprivileged children in Peru, her husband David's special relationship with James 'Smithy' Corden of hit television comedy Gavin & Stacey and a home improvement exercise by the Top Gear gang, involving a jet-engine chicken rotisserie on Olympic rower Steven Redgrave's lawn.

Over the following days, David Walliams (Little Britain) will attempt to swim the length of the Thames, John Bishop (Skins) will cycle, row and run from Paris to London and Alan Sugar will give 10 sports and comedy celebrities The Apprentice treatment, all in one-hour specials. And if that's not enough, the exercise will culminate next Sunday in a four-hour telethon event held at The Mall in London. Alas, the campaign will not be taking international donations this time (although you can make a contribution through

Finally, a tale of not-so-sweet Revenge (above; Star World, Mondays and Tuesdays at 10.45pm) premieres locally this week. Set in the Hamptons, the summer play- ground of Manhattan's overprivileged, the stylish drama tells the story of one young woman's multitiered quest for vengeance against those who framed her father for a white-collar crime and ruined her childhood. Prepare for deliciously evil characters, hidden agendas and gorgeous people in equally gorgeous beach-house fashion.