Entertainment Television

'Ringer' review: Sarah Michelle Gellar times 2 equals just OK

Fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" have been waiting for years to witness the return to TV of that show's star, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Many are going to be disappointed. Even though we get twice as much Sarah in "Ringer"” (8 p.m. Sept. 13, CW; 2 stars), she isn't half as interesting as Buffy was.

Gellar, who also produces this soapy thriller, plays twins Bridget Kelly and Siobhan Martin, who couldn't be more different in their lifestyles, but are unbelievably identical in their appearance. That's my main problem with the series, but a little more background is required before I get into it.

Recovering addict and mob target Bridget hasn’t seen her wealthy Park Avenue sister, Siobhan, in six years. In that time Bridget has used drugs and alcohol, has been a stripper and has witnessed a murder. She’s now on the run from the mobster she was supposed to testify against, and from a federal agent (Nestor Carbonell) who needs her to testify.

Siobhan, on the other hand, could be a candidate for a new cast member of “Real Housewives of New York.”  She’s pampered, primped and totally bitchy to everyone around her. Siobhan loves Siobhan, as you can see by the giant photo of her face on the wall of her apartment. And she’s obviously been bored, as she seems to relish ruining lives around her. The world is her playground, and anyone nearby could be her toy. She’s sleeping with her best friend’s husband (Kristoffer Polaha), has a we’re-only-married-in-name arrangement with her husband (Ioan Gruffudd).

When she reunites with Bridget, she seems to want to help her sister out, but mysteriously disappears while on a boat ride. Bridget, thinking her sis has taken her own life, decides to become Siobhan because no one but her sister knows she came to visit.

She soon learns that Siobhan's life wasn't as simple or perfect or safe as she assumed.

That sounds intriguing, right? And it may end up being far more interesting than what viewers will see in the first episode. They’ll have to first get past the fact that no addict, no matter how identical they may be, could pass for a woman who probably spends two days a week at a spa and sees a stylist or manicurist on a regular basis.

“Have you lost weight?” both her husband and her bestie (Tara Summers) ask her. Yeah, because I was an addict! See my rotten teeth too? And my ratty ass hair?

OK, so I’m having a real problem with the idea that Bridget could get away with this switch for even one second.

If you can look past that, you’ll still have to deal with a story so dense it takes a couple long expositional scenes to explain it all.

At least Gellar’s the one doing the explaining. I loved her as the snarky, smart Buffy. And although “Ringer” takes itself far too seriously (really, the show could use a couple lighter moments), Gellar’s Bridget has a bit of Buffy’s attitude. She plays both sisters rather low-key, however, spending a lot of time simply looking surprised when she’s Bridget-being-Siobhan.

Hopefully the writer’s will give her more interesting things to do as we go along. I think it’ll happen, because there’s a delicious twist toward the end of the premiere that does have me curious for more.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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