Sarah Michelle Gellar is not messing around when it comes to her return to TV. Not only has she chosen Ringer, a campy nighttime drama, as her comeback vehicle, but she’s playing twins: stripper junkie Bridget and rich bitch Siobhan. On top of that, Ringer’s pilot throws in as much plot as it can manage in its 45 minutes without commercials: Bridget reconnects with Siobhan, who disappears during a boat ride while Bridget sleeps; Bridget takes over Siobhan’s life, and discovers that she’s barely speaking to her husband, she’s having an affair with her best friend’s husband, her step-daughter hates her and a masked man is trying to kill her. Oh, and the FBI is looking for Bridget, who’s on the run after agreeing to testify against a very bad man.
The most surprising thing about Ringer is how cheap it looks. The CW has proven that it knows how to produce a socko soap, but here Gellar looks wan, the CGI is laughably bad and the scenes between Siobhan and Bridget—which will be mercifully few, as it turns out that Siobhan is alive and well and living in Paris—don’t even attempt to disguise the fact that both characters share one actress. And don’t get me started on the mirrors in every scene, preferably more than one, because why double when you can quadruple an image?
For all that, there’s a guilty, dirty pleasure to be had in seeing so many fine actors having a ball with repressed emotion and meaty, nonsensical plots. Unlike The Lying Game, which has dawdled over its plots for a month, Ringer has come out of the starting gate with blazing engines, delivering exactly what its ads and commercials have promised: a new, sudsy drama starring a TV icon that requires precious little brain power. For connoisseurs of cheese, Ringer is not to be missed.
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