Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TV PILOT REVIEW: The CW's "Ringer"

Eight years ago Sarah Michelle Gellar was the WB's golden child. After wrapping 7 seasons of the cult series "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," Gellar took a break from kicking ass and taking names, and signed on for "damsel in distress" roles (The Grudge, The Return, and Possession), where women were either emotionally or literally haunted. Having retired her hero title, her A status has since waned. She'll always be our Buffy but there's little confidence in her ever finding an equally challenging and legendary role again. And after watching her return to TV last night, it's evident her search is not over.
In the primetime soap, Gellar plays two characters, twins—both marked for dead. Bridget is the recovering alcoholic stripper, who witnessed a mob hit, escaped witness protection to avoid testifying, and is desperate to hide from her handler Agent Machado (Nestor Carbonell from "Lost") and the man she should've put away. Meanwhile, Siobhan (pronounced shah-bon) is the rich socialite who seemingly lives a blessed life. When Bridget visits her sister, she tries to make amends for something that occurred with Siobhan's deceased son. It's unclear, but it sounds like she did something unforgivable that Siobhan forgives a little too easily. During an afternoon on her sister's boat, Bridget wakes up to find her missing and her wedding ring inside of a medicine bottle. Frazzled by the possible suicide of her sister, bolstered by the fact no one knew Siobhan had a twin, and terrified of her fate, she makes the desperate decision to impersonate her sister, unaware of how complicated her life actually is.
In a matter of a few days, we discover that Siobhan is cheating on her husband Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd from Fantastic Four) with her best friend Gemma's (Tara Summers from "Damages" and "Boston Legal") husband Henry (Kristoffer Polaha from "Life Unexpected"), he wants her to leave her husband but she's refused in the past, she's pregnant with his baby, she's cold and dismissive towards her husband, she sent her rebellious step daughter Juliet (Zoey Deutch from "The Suite Life on Deck") to boarding school, which she later gets kicked out of, and, oh yeah, someone's trying to kill her too. By the unphased look on Siobhan's very much alive face at the end, one could conclude that whatever Bridget did to Siobhan in the past has led Siobhan to deem her expendable, because it appears as though she tricked her into taking a bullet that was meant for her. So far the mystery lies in who is trying to kill Siobhan, what she's done to deserve it, and whether her master plan has anything to do with her pending pregnancy or her deceased child.

I plan to tune in for a few more episodes to see how the mystery unfolds and because I'm interested in how Jaime Murray ("Dollhouse") fits into this, but it must be said that the dialogue, camerawork, green screen, and plot structure is amateurish at best. Shows like "Pretty Little Liars" and "Gossip Girl" have mastered the art of scandal and vengeance plotting, and the writers of this series should take notes. I started watching ABC Family's "The Lying Game" this summer, skeptical that it could possibly top an adult drama with a veteran actor attached. But the series, which contains a very similar plot—secretly identical twins from different sides of the tracks switch places unaware of the secrets that saturate their lives—is actually better paced, written, shot, and organized. What "Ringer" revealed in one episode, "The Lying Game" revealed in the first 20 minutes. And when they're not dropping secret bombs, the filler subplots are just as compelling, whereas "Ringer" has 3 romantic interest duds, including Bridget's AA sponsor Malcolm (Mike Colter from "The Good Wife"), and a lackluster supporting cast. With "Ringer," you get the feeling that in true soap opera fashion, you've barely scratched the surface—and not in a good way.

1 comment:

  1. i actually really liked this. very much an ode to the soap opera thread, but i like that :)