She's ba-aaack! And nothing hurts!
Sarah Michelle Gellar is finally making her return to TV to bless us mere mortals with her awesomeness. Her vessel? The CW's Ringer, where the Buffy star tackles not one but two juicy roles as twin sisters whose lives interweave just as they're both unraveling. Twin hijinks and mystery ensues, natch.
So is Ringer worth your precious time? Here's our take...
Premieres Tuesday Sept. 13, 9 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Dancing With the Stars (ABC), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), New Girl (FOX), Raising Hope (FOX), The Biggest Loser (NBC)
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ioan Gruffudd, Nestor Carbonell, Kris Polaha, Mike Colter, Tara Summers, Zoey Deutch
Status: We've seen the original pilot episode with Caitlin Custer in the role of Juliet. The final version of the pilot was not available for review.
Oh, what a tangled web Ringer weaves. In fact, it's so tangled that it's actually kind of hard to explain the intricate premise of the show in a clear and concise way. We're going to try and give it our best shot:
We meet Bridget Kelly (Gellar), a former addict and "dancer" in an AA meeting, where she talks about going to visit her twin sister, Siobhan Martin (Gellar again!), whom she hasn't spoken to in almost six years after a tragic accident. After a quick flirt session with Malcolm (Colter), her sponsor, Bridget meets up with another man in her life: FBI Agent Victor Machado (Lost's never-aging Carbonell), who is protecting twin No. 1 before she is set to testify against the Mob. Obviously, this doesn't go as planned and Bridget makes a run for it, fearing she will be killed for testifying.
It's Twin No. 2's turn! Bridget heads to the Hamptons to meet up with Siobhan, her seemingly put-together and perfect sister, and the two reconnect as much as two people can before one goes missing during a boating adventure. Seeing a way out, Bridget pretends to be Siobhan, tight bun and all. She soon learns Siobhan's life is just as complicated as her own: She and her husband Andrew (Gruffudd) are in what seems to be a loveless marriage of Siobhan's doing, she's having an affair, and her stepdaughter Juliet (Deutch) is dabbling with drugs. Got all that?
Now that we've covered all the basics (and almost broke a sweat while doing so), it's time to say how we actually felt about the pilot.
Well, like the show, it's complicated.
We love the film noir-ness of the show and what it could potentially become, but we have to admit that there was just too much stuffed into the pilot. While we won't give away any of the plot twists (one is particularly jaw-dropping), we'll say that there are a lot and some possibly could have been revealed a few episodes in. And while it's obviously a serious drama full of danger and intrigue, we were kind of hoping for at least one happy moment in the pilot. Alas, there were none. These are very intense people dealing with intense feelings in intense situations. In case you didn't get it: It's intense.
Thankfully, it seems the show is headed for a slowdown. "The writers slow everything down dramatically in the second episode," Carbonell tells us. "They slowed everything down and dealt with one particular mystery that was raised in that pilot. Moving forward, episode three does that as well. They're setting up and paying off pretty consistently early on. You're getting answers to some of those questions right away."
As for Sarah Michelle Gellar? She. Is. Awesome. You know that saying too much of a good thing can be a bad thing? This does not apply to SMG. She's fantastic as Bridget, with regret and the hope for redemption written all over her face, and she's equally fantastic as Siobhan, with just a touch of bitterness and a polished exterior masking her need for revenge.
Gruffudd, Carbonell, Polaha and Colter are all compelling as the men in Bridget's life. We can't wait for the show's romantic intrigue to pick up as Gellar has palpable chemistry will all of her leading men. With Justin Bruening, Billy Miller and Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars' Logan Echolls!) all joining the cast in recurring roles, the competition for either twin's heart is looking pretty tough. Carbonell isn't too worried. "It's a marathon, not a sprint. In the end, I think my Chavado is going to get one of the twins, if not both." How progressive of you, Richard Alpert!
Verdict: Watch, watch, watch! While the pilot had a few flaws, we're dying to find out more about the twins' past and present, and Ringer does show some serious potential for greatness. And hello, it's SMG. Show some respect.
Stand by! The rest of our previews of the new Tuesday shows are coming today.
In the meantime, check out the Five Fall Shows We Love.