The scene opens on large, gothic statues looming ominously, a beating heart on the soundtrack and Sarah Michele Geller being chased. The makers of the new CW drama Ringer definitely want you to remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer when you think of Ringer.
They definitely want you thinking about Buffy rather than thinking about how goofy the show’s premise is: twin sisters one seemingly commits suicide, the other takes over the seemingly dead girl’s life. This is undoubtedly the stuff of the dying daytime soap genre.
Bridget (Geller) was a drug addicted stripper until she cleaned up and became a waitress, only to have her whole life upended when she witnessed a murder and was taken into protective custody. Escaping custody, Bridget decides she’s better off taking care of herself and heads to New York, home of her twin sister Siobhan (also Geller).
The twins haven’t spoken in five years, a separation somehow related to the death of a child. Now, Siobahn seems ready to welcome Bridget into her life until she takes Bridget out onto her boat, drugs her and then kills herself, leaving Bridget to take over her life.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it’s a convoluted premise. However, if you can get past the set up, Ringer slowly evolves a level of intrigue and mystery. Watching Bridget live Siobahn’s life, the way everyone from Siobahn’s husband Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd), to her lover Henry (Kristoffer Polaha) to her best friend, Gemma (Tara Summers) regard her simply as Siobahn is fun to watch as it invites us close to Bridget as conspirators in her secret new life.
Sarah Michele Geller struggles early in the premiere episode of Ringer as she attempts to strike the right Buffy/Not-Buffy tone. Thankfully, as the episode goes on, she finds a terrific rhythm and we forget for a little while about the vampire slayer and become interested in the Ringer.
Ringer has the hothouse drama elements that mark CW Network shows, while carrying a slightly more grown up vibe. That grown up vibe may be related to the show’s daytime soap opera premise but it’s as much attributable to Geller and Ioan Gruffaud who strike well off of each other as older man and chilly trophy wife.
Do I recommend Ringer? I think the premiere is worth a look but I am not sure how much creative juice this premise really has. The question of whether the series can grow beyond its hokey premise will be answered over the next two to three episodes and barring disaster, I will be interested to see how it holds up.