TCA: Kiefer Sutherland and Tim Kring Insist 'Touch' isn't 'Heroes' or '24'

Touch - Kiefer Sutherland - 2011

Members of Touch's 7-person panel did not have much to say if they didn't star in 24 or create Heroes.

During Fox's Sunday presentation at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, almost all questions went to Kiefer Sutherland and Tim Kring. And all answers seemed to go back to their respective series.

So does this new show, which follows a single father and his curiously gifted son, resemble either of their previous efforts? They say no.

Despite Touch's supernatural premise about a boy with powers to see the way the world is connected, Kring insists its more spiritual. And while the pilot includes references to 9/11 and a terrorist threat, Sutherland says he's not reprising Jack Bauer.

"I was on about page 25, and I went, s**t, I'm really trouble here," Sutherland said of his first read-through of the script. "It was so beautifully written... If you're going to do something, for potentially another 8 years, you want something you can sink your teeth into."

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Sutherland said the big hook was that this new character, Martin Bohm, goes in such a different direction from 24's stoic, repressed Bauer.

"To openly show and have an emotional reaction to what is happening at the exact moment is a wonderful opportunity," says Sutherland. "The repression on 24 got heavier. This character... he wants to get more open."

References to 24 seemed to outnumber questions about Kring's Heroes 3 to 1, but the similarities between the gifted child (Jake, played by David Mazouz) at the center of the story and some of the characters on Heroes was something Kring was asked to clear up.

"In term's of Jake's character being on Heroes, we probably had some characters that would have abilities like this," says Kring. "But it's not a superpower idea. It's more of mystical or spiritual idea."

Another departure from 24 and Heroes will also be the serial element. Despite the clear arc of the series, Kring says the weekly procedural-type element takes priority.

"Each week will have enough of a standalone feeling because you'll get a beginning, middle and end," says Kring. "The Martin and Jake characters will follow the A-story and some breadcrumb trail that Jake's character is leading his father on."

As for Jake and his outwardly autistic manner, Kring says its just a vehicle for relatable, current storytelling. "It's not a show about autism," he assured.

And since no Fox event with Sutherland would be complete without addressing the 24 movie, the actor took the occasion to hint at a time frame for the long-discussed project. He said they're aiming to start filming between late April and mid-May.