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Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar - "Ringer" Tv Series - Sfgate.com Review

Wednesday 14 September 2011, by Webmaster

Premiere episodes of shows are designed to carry heavy burdens. Not only do they have to pique your interest enough to make you want to come back next week, but they also have to tell you all about the characters and how they relate to each other, and hint at some possible plot developments down the road.

I haven’t conducted a scientific study, but I suspect tonight’s premiere of "Ringer" on the CW may set some kind of record in this regard. Prepare for viewer whiplash as we’re introduced to twin sisters, Siobhan, the wealthy but icy New York trophy wife with everything a woman could want in life except happiness, and Bridget, a former hooker, trying to kick a drug habit and putting her life in danger by agreeing to testify in a high-profile murder trial out west.

The twins are both played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, returning to series TV after her star turn as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and making us glad she’s back. And in duplicate, no less.

The premise of "Ringer" is that the twins, who haven’t spoken in years, reunite after Bridget flees to New York, and one twin ends up pretending to be the other twin. It’s basically a take on Mark Twain’s "The Prince and the Pauper," but in this case, it’s more like "The Ice Princess and the Warmhearted Druggie Hooker."

Ah, but we’re still not done with all the twists and turns. Pretending to be Siobhan because she’s being pursued by the mob, Bridget has to negotiate her sister’s very complicated personal life, which includes her hunky husband, Andrew (Ioan Gruffudd), and her secret boyfriend, who is married to her best friend. Meanwhile, Bridget is also being pursued by FBI Agent Victor Machado (Nestor Carbonell), who wants to get to her before the mob can shut her up permanently.

Oh yeah, and just where is the real Siobhan, anyway? She disappeared, but is she dead? And if she isn’t dead, what happens if she ever returns? If she is dead, how long can Bridget pretend to fill her Manolo Blahniks without being discovered?

Good questions, but just some of many posed within the jam-packed first episode. We’re also left to wonder if Bridget’s boyfriend and NA sponsor, Malcolm (Mike Colter), will head to New York to track her down. If he finds her, does she try to pretend she’s Siobhan or come clean to the one person above all who would probably figure things out on his own?

As dizzying as any summary of the show may seem, it can never do justice to all the "supposes" woven into the premiere episode. It’s a great insurance policy against cancellation, because you’d need at least 13 episodes to untangle everything.

But "Ringer’s" executive producers, including Gellar, shouldn’t have to worry about that for now. 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.