I've just watched Ringer and I have to say... I'm ambiguous about it. I'm just not sure what I can say about this...
HITFIX has called this the Sixth Worst New Series of the season - that seems much, much too harsh:
No. 6 Worst - 'Ringer'
soap opera. Neither twin is interesting enough to be worth Gellar's
effort, unfortunately, in a drama that spends its first 44 minutes
bending over backwards to establish its premise -- quite familiar if
you've watched ABC Family's "The Lying Game" -- without every finding
any fun or tension. Gellar just looks doubly uncomfortable and all of
the decent actors around her -- Nestor Carbonell, Ioan Gruffudd, Kris
Polaha -- seem wooden and disinterested. The pilot compensates for the
snoozy cast with brazen musical cues, cheesy visual effects and a whole
ton of belabored symbolism. This will, however, be the top show of the
fall for subscribers to "Mirror Aficionado" magazine. What? There is no
"Mirror Aficionado" magazine? The CW will just count on "Buffy" fans too
starved for more SMG to be discriminate.
But, I do think that the premiere has some issues - one of them being the cheesy visual effects (Wow - that "two Sarahs on the boat thing" was truly painful) and yes, the whole "Mirrors in every room of every scene" was hideously heavy handed.
What bugged me more though was that it felt rushed to get all of the pieces in place so we could jump into whatever the actual story is going to be (Siobhan's tale of treachery and betrayal, after her sister thought she'd been living the perfect life one would assume). Everytime we started to maybe see something ambiguous in the "good sister's" story, it was immediately confirmed that "yes, she wasn't the perfect sister after all", which has undercut it. I would have liked to have had her twin find out how royally screwed up and shady her sister's life was more slowly over the next several weeks.
And, it feels to me like her calling her sponsor/ex-lover... like immediately... to reveal that her sister committed suicide and she's taken over her identity was just ridiculously fast! I mean, who would do that?! Who would just call up somebody, no matter how close and just info dump this sort of information - knowing that both the Feds and Killer Gangster was after you?!
No one. That's who. You may be tempted, and maybe eventually you can't take it anymore and need to tell somebody you trust - but this reveal was so hamhandedly handled that it was almost funny (not ha-ha funny, just shocking funny).
I think the 'wooden and disinterested' is also untrue as far as the actors go. But, I will say that SMG did seem uncomfortable with some of the twins-acting-opposite-one-another ... especially when playing the real Siobhan.
I wasn't really planning on a mini-review here, so much as just wanting to know if anyone else thought that this was kinda 'meh', but since I've rambled this long....
The Good: I like the beginning with the time-play, where we're starting toward the end of the episode and then reviewing how we got here before 'catching up to now' to see how the threat resolves (but there is a bad here, too).
Sarah does nice work as Bridget in NA prior to taking off for her sister's (but, see 'Other Thoughts').
I'll say that I like the 'mirror image' at work between Bridget and Siobhan: Bridget's life seems like it was completely out of control, but she is now taking steps to remedy her situation. Until she runs off to her sister's, who seems like she does have a life completely in focus, except that everything is actually truly a mess. Now Bridget is finding out just what a twisted web her sister's life actually was under the surface.
The Bad: Unfortunately, that time-playing thing I liked? Well, the climax of it was completely not worth not telling the story straight to begin with.
That boat scene is... wow, was that filmed badly. I mean, part of me thinks it was filmed so badly on purpose as some sort of visual cue that things aren't what they seem, but if so, it failed utterly. The reason is that when the camera pulls out and we see that the girls actually are on a boat, it just makes it look like the fakey-looking scene preceeding it in close up was actually just filmed badly without any sort of clever cue happening at all. It looked horrible!
What was up with nearly immediately calling her sponsor/lover/ex-lover and dumping that her sister killed herself and now she's taken her place and it was so easy and she never meant for any of this to happen and it's not safe to tell you all about this so now I gotta go.... WTH?! Who would do that? Wouldn't you at least struggle for a minute with trying to not have anyone know your secret before finally breaking down and deciding you had to tell someone you trusted? That was an insanely bad choice! Imagine if this had been held off on for a little bit - perhaps even have Bridget as Siobhan meet Malcolm without being able to identify that she's actually alive (a cliche in itself, actually, but one that works and it isn't like there aren't plenty of cliches at work here already).
Other Thoughts: The mystery of Siobhan's possible suicide (no body, and I have immediate suspicions that Siobhan may have drugged her sister in order to fake her suicide, having no idea that Bridget would then assume her identity instead of reporting her disappearance to the police) is interesting. This is especially so during the sting, when we can't be sure if we're seeing Siobhan in real time in Paris or if this is another time-manipulation trick.
I also like that it appears that Siobhan's husband may even have a double life. It is possible that the conversation he's having on the phone when he's interrupted by Bridget is an attempt to call off the contract on his wife -- the killer that we saw at the beginning and near the end of the episode during our time-manipulation.
I like the best friend character immediately - but the 'revelation' that Siobhan has been cheating with her husband was completely unshocking and too obvious to not be disappointing. Also the "my stepdaughter is a manipulative bitch" is too cliche to get any enjoyment out of either. It would have been far, far more interesting to find out that the stepdaughter was having the affair. When Bridget in Siobhan's place confronts her, they could have had [I can't even remember her name] tell her that she was only doing what her stepmother wanted, thereby adding another poisonous twist to the relationships that Bridget is walking into.
Also, if you're going to go on the run from a mobster and the police who want to protect you, would you really choose to run straight to your twin sister's place?
The Score: I'm really disappointed in this script and the way that it was filmed. It's unfortunate that the CW didn't give this a two hour premiere I think, in order to flesh out Siobhan and Bridget's back stories a bit before Bridget starts the impersonation. But even without this indulgence, things feel like they're happening much too quickly and easily to be believable or persuasive. I wanted to like this so much, and I'm definitely giving it more than one episode before calling it quits, but this premiere just felt... well, hacknyed. 2.50 out of 5