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Ringer - episode 1 review

Sarah Michelle Gellar in Ringer

Review by Tim Carson

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

Fact. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was one of the best TV show ever. Scary, emotional and lots of fun. Much of that was down to Joss Whedon and his writers but the cast also played their part and central to that was, of course, Sarah Michelle Gellar. There are those who will disagree but there are plenty fans excited about her return TV.

Ringer, therefore, carried with it a weight of expectation not only for her own acting abilities but whether she’s chosen a TV project that will live up to the hype.

So how did Ringer do? Well, OK, there’s enough in the pilot episode to intrigue and encourage you to tune in next week while there are some flaws that will need to be ironed out.

Gellar stars as twin sisters Bridget and Siobhan. Bridget, a stripper and drug abuser, has been estranged from her rich and successful sister Siobhan for six years. But as a witness in a Federal murder case Bridget has got herself clean and is under the protection of the FBI while waiting to testify against a vicious mobster.

Fearing for her life she decides to give the FBI the slip and runs to her sister for help. Unfortunately, things just get worse as Siobhan seemingly kills herself abandoning Bridget on a speed boat in the middle of the Ocean.

Naturally, Bridget does the only sensible thing and decided to become Siobhan – with a loving husband and fabulous lifestyle it couldn’t be easier, right? Well of course not and it’s not too long before cracks start to appear in the idyllic life of Siobhan.
There doesn’t appear to be much loving going on between Siobhan and her husband Andrew for and it turns out Siobhan is cheating on him with her best friend’s husband Henry. Bridget is soon wondering if she’s done the right thing.

While the plot is a little far-fetched it’s got plenty of threads to unravel. It also provides Gellar with some acting challenges playing in effect three different characters – the cool, icy Siobhan; the stripper with a heart Bridget; and Bridget playing Siobhan. She handles all three pretty well and makes them all distinct; probably excelling best when trying to convince everyone she really is Siobhan.

The supporting cast is solid too with Ioan Gruffudd as Siobhan’s husband Andrew; Nestor Carbonell (Richard from Lost) as the FBI agent hunting for Bridget; and Tara Summers (Boston Legal as Siobhan’s best friend Gemma None of them really got too much screen time in the pilot but each character provided hints that they have more to them than just stereotypes.

In fact, there were so many revelations in the final 10 minutes of the show that it would be hard not to want to tune in next week to see where some of them lead.

How will Bridget get round the fact that while Siobhan is pregnant she is not? Had the intruder really come to kill Siobhan and not Bridget? Now we know Siobhan is still alive – why did she disappear? What has Andrew been up to and what deal does he want out of? Does Gemma know Henry has been having an affair with Siobhan?

While none of these are earth-shattering – especially if you’ve read anything about the show – all are thought-provoking. The jury is still out on Ringer but it’s worth watching for the moment.