By Chuck Barney Contra Costa Times
So much for Jack Bauer. Kiefer Sutherland returns to television Wednesday night in “Touch,” playing a man dramatically different from the amped-up federal agent he embodied for eight years in “24.”
Now, Sutherland is Martin Bohm, a widower and single father exasperated by an inability to connect with his 11-year-old mute son (David Mazouz).
But a major breakthrough occurs when he discovers that the boy possesses a gift of incredible genius: the ability to see things that no one else can in life’s everyday patterns.
The gift begins to manifest itself in strange cases, involving people across the globe who are connected in ways they never knew. Both compelling and inspiring, “Touch” quickly gets you in its grasp. 9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox.
Other best bets
Tonight: President Obama delivers what he hopes won’t be his last State of the Union address when he goes before Congress and the American people to offer his take on the economy and other issues. TV pundits and Republican rivals, of course, will be poised to dissect every line. 6 p.m., broadcast networks and cable news channels.
“Geronimo: American Experience” is a new profile of the prominent American Indian leader who made a major mark in the Old West.
To many whites he was a brutal savage. To his own people, he was a hero fighting to preserve the old ways, although some of them saw him as a troublemaker with an unquenchable thirst for vengeance. 9 p.m., PBS.
Wednesday: For 12 seasons, folks have come and gone on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” but Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows has always been a mainstay.
That changes tonight, when she puts aside the fingerprints and blood samples and turns in her badge. She’ll be missed. 10 p.m., CBS.
Thursday: On “30 Rock,” Tracy (Tracy Morgan), embarks on another misguided mission. This time, he’s leading a protest in defense of morons.
Sounds like a movement that will undoubtedly resonate with some sitcom writers. 8 p.m., NBC.
“Russell Simmons Presents the Ruckus” is a new stand-up comedy series designed to showcase funny veterans and rising stars.
JB Smoove hosts the festivities from the Edison Ballroom in New York and presents filmed sketches. 10 p.m., Comedy Central.
Friday: For five years, the lowly rated comedic action series, “Chuck,” defied the odds to stay on the air. But it all comes to an end tonight when our geek-turned-secret agent (Zachary Levi) says good-bye in back-to-back episodes.
Of course, he’ll first have to make it through one last perilous mission. 8 p.m., NBC.
Tonight brings the premiere of “Spartacus: Vengeance” with new lead actor Liam McIntyre replacing the late Andy Whitfield as the rebellious gladiator. But some things never change:
The series will still be on blood-and-sex overload. 10 p.m., Starz.