Dear Fox TV producers: There is a problem when the most compelling character in your new TV series only speaks twice in the debut episode.
But the unspeaking, developmentally challenged kid at the heart of Kiefer Sutherland's new show is the only character we haven't seen before in this ambitious-yet-convoluted series about a child who seems autistic, but actually can predict the future by seeing patterns in electromagnetic energy.
Sutherland spends most of the episode reminding us he's not super-spy Jack Bauer from his last big TV role on 24 – losing a fist fight and moping around, forced to quit his job as a journalist to care for a son who won't speak or touch him. Oh, and his wife got killed in the 9/11 attacks, for good measure.
Yeah, Sutherland is at his tortured best, playing a noble hero who convinces a social worker who seems intent on taking his kid away from him -- like any state would bother removing a child from a parent who is dedicated to the child and trying hard to care for him.
Danny Glover is the kind of character Spike Lee once derided at the "mystical magical negro" who pops up in one scene to explain why the kid is so special. Eventually, we see the kid unite a grieving father, guilt-wracked firefighter and bomb-wearing terrorist in a grand connection so complicated it will make your brain hurt.
A special preview airs at 9 tonight, but I would Ti-NO, until they work out the kinks in March.