Ringer 1.01 "Pilot" Review

A tv review article by: Ariel Carmona Jr.

After six-months of sobriety, Bridget Kelly is finally starting to turn her life around when she serves as the lone witness in a murder trial. Despite the assurances of her FBI protector, Agent Victor Machado, Bridget realizes that her life is in danger. Telling no one, Bridget flees to New York, where she reunites with her estranged twin, Siobhan Martin. Wealthy, pampered, and married to the handsome Andrew Martin, Siobhan lives what appears to be the perfect life – a life in which no one is aware that Bridget exists. The sisters seem to be mending their troubled relationship until Siobhan mysteriously disappears, and Bridget decides to assume her sister's identity. Bridget discovers shocking secrets, not only about her sister and her marriage, but also about Siobhan's best friend, Gemma Butler, and Gemma's husband, Henry.

Ringer airs Tuesday nights at 9:00PM EST on the CW

Writers: Eric C. Charmelo and Nicole Snyder
Director: Richard Shepard

The boob tube’s new fall season is under way and Tuesday night brought with it Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to episodic television with the debut of Ringer; and the CW hype machine pushing the show and SMG’s new starring role, even going as far as to give it Buffy’s old Tuesday night time slot (overzealous much?)

Star Power alone cannot drive a pilot to success. You still need a fresh concept and smartly written dialogue and characterization to survive in an over saturated entertainment market.

For example, Buffy alumn Elisa Dushku, who played sultry anti-slayer Faith in Joss Whedon’s opus’ third season, was masterfully cast as the protagonist of his last television foray, Fox’s short lived Dollhouse, though even that series failed to attract an audience beyond its faithful and select cult television followers.

Having a star of Gellar’s caliber doesn’t hurt, however, given she’s been able to sustain success beyond the hallowed halls of Sunnydale High, despite an eight year leave of absence since Buffy’s finale in the Spring of 2003.

I sacrificed an hour of prime raiding time (Tuesday night is DDO raiding night in my server) to see if the show would deliver an entertaining bit of television drama.

In Ringer Gellar plays a dual role, that of identical twin sisters Bridget Kelly, A recovering addict, former stripper and fugitive from the FBI who witnessed a professional hit and Siobhan Martin, a troubled married woman who is having an affair with her best friend's husband.

The opening shot of gargoyles perched atop a building panning out to the city at night, gives way to the series’ first dramatic moment and parallels some of the best Angel/Buffy intros, while the story slowly unravels to reveal an intricately crafted film noir mystery.

Things get mildly interesting midway through this opening episode when Bridget assumes Siobhan’s identity, but unwillingly also inherits all the drama and turmoil of her sister’s life.

The program is a whirlwind of subplots, reveals, elegant panoramic shots mixed in with interesting visual effect and inter cut with commentary from its star, along with annoying Bing search engine product placement.

We had no doubt going in that Gellar had the acting chops to carry the action, anyone who’s watched “The Body,” “The Gift,” or any of Buffy’s best moments can attest to that, with the exception of the myopic Emmy Academy members, but can the supporting cast add enough intrigue to the proceedings to sustain repeat viewership?

The plot parcels out bits of information about the characters for the viewer to digest in rapid fire succession, but its strengths in narrative and structure are somewhat diluted by some stilted acting from the supporting cast members -- most notably from the actress who plays Siobhan’s best friend, Gemma (Tara Summers) -- and some clichéd situations like the daughter (Zoey Deutch) who gets in trouble at boarding school.

Ringer isn’t a perfect show, at least from what glimpses we get from the pilot, the wrapping is ornate and pretty, but is there enough story to sustain a consistent appetite for dramatic fare, or to hook the hip and savvy demographics the CW network usually guns for?

I cannot say, but I will say this: It’s not as good as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But then again, what TV show in recent memory is?

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