Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Series Premiere: RINGER

Where: the CW
When: Tuesdays @ 9PM

All I can say is this: Buffy is back on Tuesday nights, primetime. Exactly where she belongs.

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was a huge part of my life. From age 11 to 17, I was heavily immersed and hugely influenced by the Joss Whedon-created world in Sunnydale, not to mention its many stars. Namely, the phenomenal Sarah Michelle Gellar.

But this isn't a review about "Buffy" or a recounting of the effects it had on my life. No, this is a look at Ms. SMG's first television venture since going off the air as the Slayer 8 years ago.

"Ringer" is the CW's newest dramatic thriller, one which doesn't hesitate to aim for an older, more mature demographic. And I say, it's about time, CW. All of the kids who once swooned over Dawson and his pals at the Creek are grown up and looking for something a bit more sophisticated. And Manhattan teenage socialites just weren't doing it for us anymore (sorry, "Gossip Girls.")

Taking a page out of the Bette Davis ("Dead Ringer"/"A Stolen Life") playbook, the story centers around Bridget, a stripper-turned-fugitive who seeks refuge with her estranged twin sister, Siobhan, in the Upper West-side of Manhattan. Both roles are delightfully played by SMG, who I look forward to seeing flex her acting muscles again while sharing the screen with herself ("I Was Only Made to Love You," anyone? Sorry, just can't shake the Buffy comparisons.)

Anyways, little does Bridget know that Siobhan is hiding some dark secrets of her own, and in an attempt to outrun them, fakes her own death and retreats to Paris. Bridget, thinking her sister is truly out of the picture, takes over Siobhan's identity out of desperation. But being Siobhan may bring her more problems and dangers than were haunting her as Bridget.

This pilot does a lot to establish a history, that will eventually unfold and reveal a lot of skeletons to be dealt with. But expertly, the writers provide hints without being obvious, and conflicts without feeling the need to explain why. Nothing bothers me more than blowing an exposition-load all over the 1st 40-minutes of a TV show - show some restraint and build a complex narrative!

My own personal preferences aside, the show has a lot of potential. Motives are unclear, but clearly there, while the past is a mystery to not only the viewers, but most of the characters, as well. Add in the cast of side characters (including Ioan Gruffold as Siobhan's husband, Kristoffer Polaha as her lover, and Nester Carbonell as the FBI agent searching for Bridget, just to name a few), it gives viewers a lot to look forward to.

Hopefully, the CW will give the show enough money to improve the production value (awful CG/VFX/green screen) - it definitely deserves better. "Ringer" has a lot to offer, and I'm sorry - I just can't resist seeing Buffy 2.0. So sue me.

***/4 stars

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