Tonight, Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to series television in a new show for The CW, Ringer. She’s not playing a vampire slayer this time around but, as you might expect, her character still has a whole lot of problems.
Gellar stars as Bridget Kelly, a young woman who’s been sober for six months and is starting to turn her life around — until she becomes the sole witness to a professional hit. She’s protected by FBI Agent Victor Machado (Nestor Carbonell) but flees to NYC to see her estranged twin sister Siobhan (also Gellar). Her sister is living an idyllic life, married to a handsome and wealthy businessman (Ioan Gruffudd). Bridget and Siobhan start to put their past behind them when Siobhan seemingly dies by falling overboard on a boat trip. Bridget makes a quick decision to assume her sister’s identity and soon discovers that Siobhan’s life is even more complicated and dangerous than her own.
Many fans are excited about Gellar’s return to primeteime but some critics aren’t so sure. Here’s a sampling of what some of them are saying:
LA Times: “Three minutes into Ringer, it’s easy to see why CBS passed the twin-themed thriller on to its kid sister, the CW. Skidding through twists and turns aplenty, the intentionally soapy plot generates a lot of fun froth, but Gellar has a hard time playing one troubled and complicated woman, much less two… Although no one would call Gellar a subtle performer, her Bridget-as-Siobhan is engaging and likable.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “The show is great fun, and clearly the star herself is having fun in the lead roles. While carefully showing us the differences between the twins, Gellar also has to make us understand how much they are alike, well beyond such things as income levels and hairstyles. As the show continues, those similarities and differences should maintain our attention even beyond all the plot complications.”
The Hollywood Reporter: “Although she often looks like a frail, wet cat in Ringer, compared to everyone else in the hyper-young-female world of The CW, she’s projecting gravitas. And the series itself, despite a number of flaws, might be something fans of The CW and its warren of rich gossip girls, vampires, witches and models can view as highbrow fare.”
“Give it a few episodes and see if Gellar has the range to be a dramatic magnet. If it turns out you’d rather see her driving a stake into vampires, then Ringer will be a show that didn’t work on two networks, and you’ll know what to do about that.”
NY Times: “Ringer isn’t quite like anything else on CW — it’s closer to the summer-filler series The Lying Game on ABC Family or the new nighttime soap Revenge on ABC — and its glimmers of humor and the quirky ways it works the specter of Bridget’s addiction into the plot make it worth keeping an eye on.”
“Elaborating on the twin-sisters-in-peril premise without descending into camp may prove to be too much of a challenge for the producers, but Ms. Gellar deserves our indulgence, at least for a few weeks.”
NY Daily News: “Tuesday’s premiere episode, to be fair, has a tough task. It has to set up a complicated, and in some ways convoluted, premise to put the focus on how Bridget and Siobhan play out their high-stakes chess match against the backdrop of high-society intrigue and a lowlife mob thriller… It aims at an audience a little older than the CW’s core shows like “Gossip Girl,” but is gambling that those older viewers will be willing to get equally invested in the details.”
USA Today: “There’s a warmth that seeps through when [Gellar’s] playing Bridget pretending to be Siobhan that isn’t there when she’s Siobhan alone, which is both a wise acting choice and a way for us, at least initially, to tell them apart.”
“The show’s other great choice, one that gives the series a driving plot mechanism it might have otherwise lacked, was to make Siobhan’s life far less perfect and carefree than Bridget imagined. Her relationship with her husband (Horatio Hornblower’s Ioan Gruffudd, making his own welcome TV return) is strained, and her relationship with best friend Gemma (Tara Summers) and Gemma’s husband (Kristoffer Polaha) is more complicated than it appears… You’ve been given a good show, CW. Don’t mess it up.”
Image courtesy The CW.