Thursday TV: ‘Touch’ Premieres Again

I hate the way they roll out new TV series with a one time premiere of a pilot, which does little more than dilute the impact when the series actually begins running months later. It happened with “Luck” (HBO Signature, 8 p.m.) and is happening again with “Touch” (Fox, 9 p.m.), which had a big splash when it played the first episode in January.

Now it hopes to recreate that by having the second episode tonight. By now, it’s a little more clear what creator Tim Kring wants to do – kind of bring the world together in a big mind-blowing series of coincidences, but unlike his “Heroes” be both relentlessly upbeat and tell one coherent story every week.

It’d be corny in other hands, but Kiefer Sutherland is a good rock at the center, trying to understand his special needs child, who doesn’t speak a word (except as show narrator). In this, the show is a metaphor for modern parenting – when moms and dads go crazy hovering over their children, who generally ignore them and won’t answer back.

But the son’s insistence to see numeric patterns is a way to keep bad things from happening on a remarkable worldwide scale. It’s cool for a show to widen its perspective this way – globally and outside of the U.S., or  let’s face it, Los Angeles, to tell its stories. It’s likely to continue this way too, as the show will premiere worldwide simultaneously. The stories may stumble along the way, but there’s such good will behind it all, you’d feel like a real killjoy for pointing it out.

I’d given up hope on network drama in general, but it’s a gift to have two strong new ones on the same night. The other is “Awake” (NBC, 10 p.m.).

Especially on a night that’s usually devoted to comedy on a single network, with the recently returned “Community” (NBC, 8 p.m.), in which French Stewart is a guest star; two helpings of “30 Rock” (NBC, 8:30 and 9 p.m.) and the fairly consistent “Up All Night” (NBC, 9:30 p.m.).

Billy Joel will have failed one contestant on “American Idol” (Fox, 8 p.m.), and will go home. But not before an almost certain medley of Joel’s best known song. Even more interesting will be the musucal guests – controversial Lana Del Ray and Haley Reinhart (anybody remember her? She finished third last year).

It seemed to me one of the worst new shows of the fall season, but more than 10 million tuned into see Ashley Judd in the new “Missing” (CBS, 8 p.m.), enough to put it in the week’s Top 10.

Mondo Guerra is the likely winner of “Project Runway All Stars” (Lifetime, 9 p.m.) only because he should have won the season he was first on. His competition in tonight’s all-star finale is Michael Costello, who was also on season eight, and the already over exposed Austin Scarlett from season one.

The droll and funny “Archer” (FX, 10 p.m.) reaches its season finale.

Also reaching its finale tonight: “Braxton Family Values” (WeTV, 9 p.m.), with Trina performing original material for the first time.

The cast of “Jersey Shore” (MTV, 10 p.m.) throw a reunion and dissect its recently completed dull season five.

March Madness resumes with Wisconsin vs. Syracuse (CBS, 7:15 p.m.), Louisville vs. Michigan State (TBS, 7:47 p.m.), Cincinnati vs. Ohio State (CBS, 9:45 p.m.) and Florida vs. Marquette (TBS, 10:17 p.m.).

The later works of Rosalind Russell are on Turner Classic Movies: “Where Angels Go…Trouble Follows!” (8 p.m.), “A Majority of One” (10 p.m.), “Five Finger Exercise” (1 a.m.), “Mrs. Pollifax – Spy” (3 a.m.), “Tell It To the Judge” (5 a.m.).

And as the cherry blossoms bloom in D.C., a short film tells of the customs in Japan, which sent the trees 100 years ago in “Cherry Blossom Time in Japan” (12:34 a.m.). And on D.C. public TV has its own special “Washington Cherry Blossoms: A Gift of Friendship” (WETA, 8 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa: Denzel Washington, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Michael Weatherly, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Strahan. The View: Cuba Gooding Jr., John Quinones, Dr. Lindsey Duncan (rerun). The Talk: Maya Rudolph, Ice Cube, Jenn Falik. Ellen DeGeneres: Kristin Chenoweth, K’Naan featuring Nelly Furtado.

Late Talk

David Letterman: Paul Rudd, John Witherspoon, Heartless Bastards (rerun). Jay Leno: Arsenio Hall, Lily Collins, the Secret Sisters. Jimmy Kimmel: Kristin Chenoweth, Jimmie Johnson, Neon Trees. Jimmy Fallon: Candice Bergen, Fergie, Jeff Musial. Craig Ferguson: Ewan McGregor (rerun). Tavis Smiley: Matthew Weiner. Carson Daly: Ed Sheeran, Cults, Wheeler Brothers, SchoolBoy Q. Jon Stewart: Will Ferrell (rerun). Stephen Colbert: Mark McKinnon (rerun). Conan O’Brien: Will Ferrell, Girls. Chelsea Handler: Jennifer Lawrence, Moshe Kasher, Heather McDonald, Bobby Lee.

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