Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
Former Vampire Slayer actress Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to television and her old network (The CW) to play two – that’s right, two – different parts in the new 2011 fall series, Ringer. In the pilot episode, Sarah first appears as Bridget, an ex-stripper and recovering alcoholic whose luck has gone from bad to worse because she witnessed a murder involving a mob boss and is in the custody of the FBI. For her testimony she’ll be given a new life, as long as she isn’t found by one of the mobsters killers. Convinced testifying will lead to certain death, Bridget flees the night before the trial and goes to New York where her estranged twin sister Siobhan (also played by Gellar) lives.
The two sisters have not been in touch for over six years and there is a dark, tragic incident that drove the two apart. Unlike poor, troubled Bridget, Siobhan seems to have the perfect life. Married to a very wealthy man and a princess in the social scene of NY, Bridget is both overwhelmed and envious of her sister’s life. Just when Bridget thinks that she might be able to get her relationship with her sister back on track, Siobhan disappears.
Believing her sister committed suicide and desperate to avoid both the FBI and the mobster’s hired killers, Bridget assumes Siobhan’s identity. She quickly learns, however, that her sister had a much more complicated, secretive and mysterious life than she could ever had imagined.
Ringer is a melodramatic, soap opera, mystery, thriller which has zero thrills. Having been transferred from its original home network CBS to the younger-drawing sister network, The CW, it seems the suspense drama is hoping to cash in on the draw of its star (Gellar) to bring former Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans back to the CW on Tuesday nights. It’s not certain that the move affected the finances of the show but this much is certain, the show does not capture the flash and elegance of the New York City lifestyle that the character Siobhan has. Sarah Michelle Gellar is adequately cast as both Bridget, the suffering, lying, on the lam recovering addict whose only redeeming value is her so-called love of her sister, and Siobhan, the cold, secretive, calculating, selfish twin who’s hiding many secrets. The few scenes where the twins interact with each other are badly staged and Gellar has no chemistry with herself as either sister.
The show has no real pace or flow to it. It just goes from scene to scene with no real sense of urgency or dynamic. The dialogue is incredibly juvenile and weak, having characters in their 30s speak to each other as high school students would.
Uncompelling, with silly writing, poor production, and a lack of style, Ringer has a long list of flaws to fix if it hopes to have a full first season – let alone a second.
Ringer debuted on The CW on September 13, 2011.