TV review: The CW's 'Ringer'

Monday, 12 September 2011 12:00 AM Written by 

ringerFans of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” are advised to temper their expectations when approaching the new CW series “Ringer,” which stars “Buffy” alum Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Where “Buffy” was smart and sophisticated, “Ringer” (9 p.m. Tuesday, WPCW) is lame and hokey.

The premise – Ms. Gellar stars as twin sisters, each caught up in a web of lies and intrigue – is not bad but the execution is downright laughable at times.

Read more after the jump. ...

Viewers first meet Bridget Kelly, a former exotic dancer and recovering drug addict, as she’s preparing to testify at a Wyoming murder trial. But she gets scared and runs away to see her twin sister, Siobhan, in New York.

Maybe it’s because viewers don’t get to see much of Siobhan in the premiere episode, but there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference in Ms. Gellar’s performance regardless of which sister she’s playing. Siobhan seems more aloof and sports sunglasses; viewers are repeatedly reminded Bridget is skinnier.

Not long after the sisters reunite, they go for a cruise in wealthy Siobhan’s boat. The CW did not send TV critics a revised pilot so we’ll have to hope these scenes look better on TV. On the screener, the side-by-side sisters effect looks as amateurish as an identical cousins scene from “The Patty Duke Show.”

Siobhan goes missing midway through the boat ride and Bridget, who is haunted by guilt that appears to be associated with a boy named Sean (Siobhan’s presumably dead son, perhaps?), decides to live as Siobhan.

That turns out to be complicated because Siobhan has a frosty relationship with her husband (Ioan Gruffudd, “Horatio Hornblower”) and her stepdaughter. Also, Siobhan is sleeping around. Then an FBI agent (Nestor Carbonell, “Lost”) comes to New York looking for Bridget.

Twists begin to pile up like they’re falling out of a How To Write Noir handbook. And that may be the show’s biggest problem: It feels contrived, which makes the audience feel manipulated.

Maybe over time “Ringer” will develop into a decent soap. But it’s hard to imagine it will ever compare favorably to its star's previous television series.

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