I’ve been an Edgar Rice Burroughs fan all my life. It was on his books that I first cut my teeth, and I’ve been cutting my teeth on books ever since. My sister introduced me to Burroughs when I was about twelve by pointing me to At the Earth’s Core and its sequel Pellucidar. Oh, the magic of that land at the center of the earth. That led me to the Venus series, the Mars series, and the Tarzan series. I read them all. I read them all again. Now Disney has made a film about John Carter and his transport to Barsoom, or Mars. And the movie is special fun for anyone, but especially fun for old Burroughs fans. John Carter, because of the lower gravity, is much stronger than any of the Barsoomian inhabitants, and is thus a ferocious warrior. There’s an opening segment just after he awakens and finds himself on an alien world in which he stumbles and leaps and falls on his face, trying to get used to his new ability. Soon after, he encounters the original Barsoomian race, the Tharks, green creatures with four arms and facial horns. They capture him and force him to exhibit his leaping ability. The plot is in many ways science fictionally silly, but it’s still good fun. For example, the two warring city states have technology to develop small and large flying machines, yet nearly all the fighting is done with swords and old-fashioned long rifles. An odd Martian creature named Woola takes a shine to Carter and follows him everywhere, panting and grinning like a dog. If the viewer doesn’t take the plot too seriously, he can have two hours of escapist fun.
Last Thursday, we watched the pilot of Touch on Fox, with Kiefer Sutherland as the father of an autistic 11-year-old boy who has the ability to see cosmic connections between people and events, even seeing into the future. He seems obsessed with the number 318, which turns out to be the number of a school bus as well as the date, March 18, the day on which the bus crashes. All the children are saved, however, by a man that the boy had seen earlier buying a lottery ticket with numbers ending in 318. An intriguing premise for a show that should be a winner in coming episodes.