Fall TV First Impression: Sarah Michelle Gellar's Ringer Twin Piques Our Interest

The broadcast networks have more than 30 shows debuting this fall, including Steven Spielberg’s dino-mite Terra Nova, J.J. Abrams’ Person of Interest, and a U.S. adaptation of the UK’s Prime Suspect. To help you prep for fall, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots. Next on our list is…

THE SHOW | The CW’s Ringer (Tuesdays at 9/8c, premiering September 13)

THE COMPETITION | NCIS: LA (CBS), Dancing with the Stars results show (ABC), The Biggest Loser (NBC) and the Fox comedies Raising Hope/New Girl.

THE CAST | Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four), Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected), Nestor Carbonell (Lost) and Tara Summers (Boston Legal)

Fall 2011 TV Grid: Where Did Your Favorite Shows Land?

THE SET-UP | Gellar stars as Bridget, a six months sober ex-stripper who is in the FBI’s protective custody until she can testify against Bodaway Macawi, a Native American crime boss with one of TV’s best names ever. Instead, fidgety Bridget escapes to NYC to visit her estranged twin, Siobhan. When sis goes missing, Bridget seizes the chance to co-opt her kin’s life as a means to evade her adversaries — unaware that Siobhan has her own foes. Carbonell plays Bridget’s FBI handler, while Gruffudd, Polaha and Summers are Siobhan’s husband, lover and BFF, respectively.

THE GOOD | Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for doppelganger tales — dating back to Star Trek (“The Enemy Within,” “Mirror, Mirror”) and continuing right on up through Fringe — so Ringer was playing to a receptive audience. But beyond that, the show has legitimate merit, starting with the fact that it is quite probably the most adult piece of programming in The CW’s history. I mean, save for Siobhan’s rebellious stepbrat, there’s not a ‘tween, teen or twentysomething to be seen. The set-up is sound, with some loose ends addressed (Siobhan kept her twin a secret, so no one in her life has reason to suspect a switcheroo is afoot) and nice details sprinkled in (Bridget’s sis apparently had a few pounds on her). Tackling multiple roles, Gellar does a fine job as in-too-deep Bridget, icy Siobhan, and Bridget-as-Siobhan, and the supporting cast presents no weak link. And while the trailers seem to give away the biggest twist (in the form of a piece of dialogue that’s conspicuously missing from the actual pilot), I for one was caught off guard by one jawdropper that throws Bridget’s plan a curve ball.

THE… COULD-BE-BETTER | Nothing jumps out at me as being terribly problematic, though Carbonell’s character — if worthy of his G-man badge — would be wise to someday soon put two and two together, with regards to his AWOL witness and the identical twin sister he just met. Also, Bridget’s emotional touchstone/possible beau/lone confidante — AA sponsor Malcolm (The Good Wife‘s Mike Colter) — is all the way back home. Hopefully he’ll get pulled closer to the action, even if Siobhan’s dance card is already very full.

Fall TV First Impression: The Bare Facts About NBC’s Playboy Club

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | One could look at Ringer‘s biggest competition — NCIS: LA and DWTS — and utter, “Yikes.” But the fact is that even when you add in (the waning) Biggest Loser and Fox’s comedies, this is aimed squarely at a very different audience. Let’s hope that those who appreciate tightly wound, borderline-psychological drama find it and stick with it.

Watch a video preview for Ringer, then vote in our poll below.

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100 Comments
  1. Kirstin says:

    This show had me at SMG.

    • Gemm says:

      AGREED!

    • mandy says:

      OMG I swear that was gonna be my comment….Of course Kristoffer Polaha is awesome too!

      • Thespia says:

        Why so many gross guys on the show? The only cute on is the dude from that CW show; Polaha? The guys from Lost and Fantastic Four are way, way, way, way too old and/or gross for this show. It also looks like a bad lifetime woman in peril movie? What am I sayin’, of course I’ll watch the thing.

        • Tania says:

          Um…using the word ‘gross’ tells me that you, Thespia, are not the target audience for this more adult thriller. Stick to the silly Gossip Girls and whatever other nonsense that passes for entertainment on the CW. It is unfortunate that Ringer has been hitched to this juvenile network.

        • DeludedLosers says:

          Anybody that states that Polaha is “cute” blows their own credibility. Number 1 – Polaha shows up in a show and it gets CANCELLED, not a good sign. Number 2 – Ioan Gruffudd is actually a GOOD ACTOR as opposed to Polaha whom is bloody terrible. Number 3 – Ioan also runs circles around Polaha in terms of looks because at least he’s not wearing a hair piece at an early age, Ioan’s not an overweight caveman-looking slob, and he doesn’t look very old especially compared to Polaha who’s looked over 40 for 10 years. Hands down, Gruffudd completely and absolutely beats Polaha, on all fronts.

          • DeludedLosers says:

            And this show is NOT an adult show since we’ve seen the same premise on several teen dramas as of late. Plus Polaha himself compared this show to GG, so if even he can admit that it’s just another “silly” teen show, one would think you certainly could. CW isn’t anymore juvenile than FOX, considering the crappy shows that they’ve ripped off. If it wasn’t for the CW, 90% of the actors/actresses on this show wouldn’t even have careers so you’d do well to remember that – especially SMG and Polaha.

    • 8daysaweek says:

      Yup. The only way they could have me more in is if they announce later this summer that Bridgit will soon be visited by a bottle-blonde ex-boyfriend with an English accent played by James Marsters. In which case I may put myself in a bubble until the premiere, just in case.

      • redreh says:

        LAKSJDLAKSDJ OMG your comment just made my day.
        Hells yes, James–come and guest star XD

        But seriously: SMG? Enough to bring me in. She is adored and with good reason. Beauty and talent–we loved her as Buffy, and we’ll love her in this.

      • Eurydice says:

        Oh yes, I’d have to abandon G and Sam for my original TV boyfriend. This will be a dilemma – how can I give up the lunacy of DWTS and the absurdity of NCIS-LA?

      • TaMara says:

        Wow, it’s like your inside my head.

    • Carrie says:

      Exactly. I don’t see her staying away from TV for so long, only to return in a sub par show. “Buffy” is my all-time favorite show and a lot of that has to do with her wonderful acting. “Ringer” seems like it could be really interesting and, I hope, addictive.

    • Renee says:

      Yep. I would have checked it out for SMG alone.

    • Emily says:

      Me too. And since she’s been away from TV for so long, I’m sure there must be something great about this one that pulled her back in. So excited!

  2. Kristi says:

    I just can’t wait! For so many reasons. I love SMG – and I cannot WAIT to finally see Ioan Gruffudd on US TV!

  3. Ashley says:

    This is the best new show of the season. I mean SMG and a twin switch-a-roo? I’m SO in and I would be watching even if I wasn’t a huge Buffy fan. Best decision the CW ever made. They needed it especially with the dwindling Gossip Girl and mediocre 90210.

  4. Anna says:

    As you say, this show’s got a different target audience than the rest. I don’t watch them, but this sounds great. Love one hour dramas with some maturity and complexity!

  5. naqte says:

    IM WITH KRISTEN LOL

  6. Justin says:

    I would love to know how these people get to watch these pilots so soon. Somebody clue me in.

    • Dick Whitman says:

      The network sends them copies, so they can do things like these (reviews) and get people interested. It’s not rocket science.

      • Justin says:

        You had to throw in “it’s not rocket science?” Really? I understand the networks send them copies. I simply didn’t think this website was that important or that big to have networks send them copies. What’s not rocket science is being a little kinder to people. Spare the snark sometimes.

        • erin says:

          Michael Ausiello, the creator of this site, was previously the head TV writer for EW for many years. So his website has a bit of clout.

        • lauren says:

          Tvline is the only TV site I bookmark, almost all the big news comes from here. Plus you see all the [sometimes ugly annoying] Emmy ads all over here the past few weeks? They seem to be a player.

          • Justin says:

            I’m aware of all that. I’ve been following Michael Ausiello since his EW days. I was just simply wondering if there was an easy way to obtain these pilots, sort of like a press pass or something.

          • AngrodTV says:

            There’s not. Trust me, I’ve tried. You need to get your way into the business perhaps by starting a blog and following the news and ultimately reporting and scooping yourself. It’s a tough competition so if you want it you might want to consider turning it into your job. If the networks see you as someone with a descent enough following then they’ll contact you. There’s no other way around it.

          • sadtroll says:

            “Hi, I’m Justin. I know Ausiello used to be a writer for EW. I know they send out copies. I didn’t know TVLine was “big enough” to get’em. How can I get’em? ”

            Apparently it is rocket science. And just maybe, that first person wasn’t being mean by saying that but rather stating that it seemed simple to them and your question was a little confusing. You took it as them not being kind.
            “What’s not rocket science is being a little kinder to people. Spare the snark sometimes.” Don’t be a jerk yourself Justin.

  7. Chelsea says:

    I really hope this show does well. SMG is such a talented actress that needed to be back on my tv screen.

    CW, don’t be a-wipes and go cancel happy if ratings aren’t anything but stellar. Give it time to grow. I feel this is the type of show that needs tension and momentum to build for the character arcs.

    • Meg says:

      The CW doesn’t seem like a network that cancels things right away even with low ratings. Even Life Unexpected had 2 season (even though season 2 was a shortened 13 episode season).

      • lorna says:

        ummmm it treated LUX and MP horribly. Dawn O was the biggest moron ever. Thank goodness we have a new CW exec.

        • DeludedLosers says:

          They treated both shows how they SHOULD be treated, like rip-off pieces of crap with the same predictable stories. MP had a LOAD of bad actors, and Polaha was in LUX so there’s your point of reference as to whether he can act (IE: he can’t.) You’re the biggest airhead for still blaming everything on Dawn when Dawn was the President of UPN, which was the SURVIVING network between the UPN and WB, so who’s the idiot here? Yeah “thank goodness,” another MALE exe to put even STUPIDER shows full of even more inappropriate sex on, you’ll be WISHING that you had Dawn back soon that’s for effing sure.

  8. Chase says:

    This is the show I’m most looking forward to this fall. My only concern is a significant drop in production quality beyond the pilot episode. On the plus side, with a smaller budget comes reduced ratings expectations, giving it a better chance!

  9. Frenchie says:

    Though I have a long running hatred of all things CW, the SMG and Doppelgangland plot are promising enough to warrant a watch… And with those comments about Siobhan’s (this name is going to be SUCH a problem for me to spell) weight and the wrench in Bridget’s plan make me wonder at a possible pregnancy.

    • nathan says:

      Yh @ 1:39 Bridget finds a hidden photo of Siobhan and her child, which has maybe died
      ]

    • Jason says:

      You do realize how moronic your opening statement is, don’t ya, honey? Seek professional help. Carrying a grudge against a “TV network” is not normal, socially-acceptable behavior. It’s borderline lunacy. You’re a sick puppy.

      • Eurydice says:

        Wow, so much hostility over a single word. You might want to check if there’s more room on that psychiatrist’s couch.

      • Beswink says:

        …and the Whedon trolls have arrived! Thanks for your insults Jason. What are we thinking having a different opinion than you? A pox on all of us. No really, tell us what to watch, please. We are clueless.

        • sadtroll says:

          Wait, how is Jason a Whedon-troll?

          No wait, *what* is a Whedon-troll? A Whedon fan who trolls anyone they perceive as not a fan or a troll who is fishing for Whedon fans?

          Ah whatever, there was freaking nothing in Jason’s post that suggests any Whedon affiliation for or against. He does seem to have a bug up his arse about Frenchie’s hatred for the CW. Kind of like the one you have for Whedon trolls – whatever they are.

        • Tom says:

          Nah, if Jason was a Whedon troll he’d be whining about Fox daring to cancel low-rating Whedon shows.

          It’s like their one track record.

  10. AJ says:

    Now that the CW has SMG they should make her guest star in SPN, preferably a hunter. Nothing would make me happier than to see Buffy kick some ass with the Winchesters.

  11. Lisa says:

    I am not gonna lie that ‘trailer’ makes the show look AWESOME! I have always thought SMG was a fantastic actress and this show looks like another way for her to show off her skills. Beyond that though it looks like, dare I say it, an original premise that is not a cable show. I hope the show is as good as the preview makes it seem.

  12. Michael Sacal says:

    Would a crossover with Vampire Diaries be too on the nose?

  13. Rachel says:

    I definitely don’t watch any of those other shows Tuesdays at 9, so, why not?

  14. Faye says:

    This show looks pretty interesting. I will definitely give it a try.

  15. david says:

    Ringer is going to be a hit , great reviews from all critics , great cast , original story , the previews are amazing i will watch this ,(first show that i watch on the CW) and i think evreyone should watch it or atleast DVR it .

  16. nitemar says:

    I’ll watch, there is no other shows(new or old) that interest me in that time slot. Also never seen SMG acting, but heard of her before. SHe’s very pretty. :)

  17. Marie says:

    I really want to see this series , especially for SMG and Ian

  18. deedeedragons says:

    At least we know on the CW this show will have a chance to find it’s groove.

  19. Jenna says:

    Actually, I’m watching this one because it’s on The CW… if CBS would adquired, well… I would care less…

    • Girish says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. The CW cares for its viewers, much more than CBS ever could.

      • sadtroll says:

        You’re hillarious!

        At least it’s not on NBC…they care for their viewers but in a clingy, calls fives times a day kind of way.

        Now ABC, they play hard to get but sometimes the alphabet net has a twinkle in its eye and you just know how much it cares even if it doesn’t show it.

        Fox is just downright surly but sometimes when I’ve been drinking I like surly.

  20. salman says:

    sarah michelle gellar is amazing she can act really great, just finished buffy (new Die-hard FAN) and Ringer seems good, i would watch it even if i’m not a fan of her’s , good thing for the CW , the show is already a critical success , is on mant citic’s top 10 list’s , time gave it a good review , and alot of critic’s are saying that this show might be the first CW series to win emmy’s in lead emmy categories, overall this is one of the best (highly anticipated , hyped) new shows if not THE BEST

  21. Leona says:

    I’m totally excited for this show, but I wish they do a mini-series format or something that completes its story. Then the show doesn’t have to worry about ratings and being cancel in the middle of a season. And also they don’t have to drag out the plot just to stretch out for future seasons.

  22. Danielle H. says:

    I think I have changed my mind and will at least check out the pilot (was originally not going to watch it).

  23. Michael Haus says:

    How is this true? — “the most adult piece of programming in The CW’s history.”

    I’m guessing that Nikita and Supernatural are probably both more “adult” than Ringer.

  24. Amy says:

    My concern with this has always been — how do they keep it going? This has always sounded like an idea for a fantastic movie but a go-nowhere TV show. I wish this review addressed the issue of how this might play out in the long term.

  25. Kevin says:

    RINGER is destined to be the CW’s breakout show of the year.

  26. Cass says:

    I like Sarah Michelle, and the plot sounds intriguing, but the big hook for me is actually Ioan Gruffud.

  27. dan says:

    I really want to see this show, am a big Buffy fan, am interested in seeing SMG in a new series. I also love the whole twin switcheroo concept.

    But what about Season Two? I just don’t see how this story can play out for more than one season. However, I’m interested to see where they taking and rooting for it to work.

  28. trev says:

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Daivd Boreanaz, Seth Green, Daivd Greenwalt, and Marti Noxon will all be present at this year’s Comic-con. Will all these Buffy alum attending, is it too much to ask for a Buffy panel??

  29. Girish says:

    “Ringer” had me at SMG and Nestor Carbonell!! It could well be The CW’s breakout show of the year. I hope it does well in the ratings and we get a lot of SMG along with a compelling storyline!

  30. Jonathan says:

    Could The CW have a chance in next years Emmys with Ringer?

    • sadtroll says:

      No. Not for anything that gets awarded on the main telecast. Maybe a technical award but probably not there either. It’s just the business of tv and has little if anything to do with the quality of the show. CW shows rarely get noms and I want to say never win emmys but maybe one slipped by once.

  31. justin says:

    ummm. everyone who says “SMG” is a great actress… have u ever seen her act? Coz i haven’t? I would love for somebody to point out to me one point in her life when she has ‘acted’, except like a spoilt bitch…

    • sashay says:

      Try watching the entire BtVS set, and see if you can still say that. She also won awards for her work as a young teen on ‘All My Children.’ She’s also been in some crappy horror movies, I think the problem with those was the writing and directing, not her performances.

    • Lyndsey says:

      Anyone who’s ever watched “Buffy” knows that girl can act her butt off! And you can call that character a whole lot of things but “spoiled b*tch” definitely isn’t one of them. Action & sci-fi are my favorite genres & NO ONE has ever been able to play a character so vulnerable in spirit & then believably kick everyone’s a** like she did with Buffy!

    • Tom says:

      I agree she’s over-rated, carried by a far better supporting cast.

      BUT, if it was my favourite actress in the world, the premise is stupid and inspid. The original network were smart passing on it.

      Although this show looks tailor-made for the home of ’90210′, ‘One Tree Hill’, ‘Gossip Girl’ etc.

      What a pile of steaming poop.

      • sadtroll says:

        Tom, dude! You can’t piggyback your “stupid and insipid” plot troll on top of justin’s ‘SMG can’t act’ troll.

        That’s just lazy.

        • Tom says:

          And yet can’t build up the energy to do anything other than troll what you percieve has to be trolling because it disagrees with your mindless worship of a squeaky-voiced midget.

          You like dwarf acts, go to the circus.

  32. Aymen Jaden says:

    Bring it on Ringer! Can’t wait to finally see the show. I was a bit sceptical about the show’s premise but with the right writers this show could be quite intriguing.

    Hopefully, the show will opt for a true film noir style and feature fleshed out characters. SMG is a TV Goddess, so I don’t have any doubts she will act the hell out of her two (!) roles. So glad to have her back!

  33. Alexis says:

    Oh God this clip do look awful!

  34. Amy says:

    I am really looking forward to this show. Buffy and a Lost alum in the same show – heck yes. I do have misgivings about the longevity of the plot, but I will root for it regardless.

  35. Elle says:

    I’m glad you think the show is good as I am so excited for this one and I hope it lives up to my high expectations.

  36. asdfasdf says:

    I am watching cuz of SMG!!

  37. Kay says:

    I’ll be watching it for Nestor Carbonell.

  38. Lia says:

    I’m just calling it right now — has there ever, ever in the history of all television been a “suicide” without a body where the person was actually dead? Siobhan is so obviously still alive.

    • Danielle says:

      I think that the idea of Siobhan still being alive is confirmed in the last shot after the title. I’m pretty sure that is the aforementioned twin, hiding in Paris, who gets news that Bridget is still alive… and this takes place AFTER the boat switcheroo.

      Plus, we keep getting the flicker frame of a body emerging from the water.

  39. Colleen says:

    I’ve seen the pilot for our website as well. I thought it was fantastic. It’s nice to see Gellar in such a different role from Buffy.

  40. Frimi says:

    I can´t wait! I really loved SMG as Buffy. She’s just… awsome.

  41. Sheldon W. says:

    All I’ve seen is the sizzle roll, but it looks like a twisted enough work to survive on The CW – and it’s always nice to see SMG in a series.

  42. Jake says:

    Show sounds like the drizzling smelly stuff from its sypnosis.

    And good news, the clips are even worse. While other new shows have released clips that are aimed at provoking interest these clips seem to scream ‘boring’, ‘slow’, ‘pretenious’. The fact that the network that actually made the pilot passed on it is very telling.

    Yeah, I’ll stick to Grimm, Falling Skies, and Alcatraz for my new shows fix thanks. Stuff with ideas that have the potential to still interest after three episodes.

    This is a definte pass even if it wasn’t coming from the always scraping the barrel CW.

  43. Romain says:

    I love Sarah Michelle Gellar so much there is just no way I’m missing this show. I certainly hope it won’t be hurt by its lead-in. I’m surprised it wasn’t paired up with Nikita.

  44. MikeLowery says:

    I read a lot of comments referencing buffy – fine, we all loved the first three seasons on the WB of that show. But I am excited that mrs. Prinze will be playing a b!tch. Twin in Paris on the phone from the preview reminds me of Kathryn “Benedict B!tch” from cruel intentions. That was her best role/acting ever. If she can bring a little Kathryn to the ringer – it will be the best show of the season. When i talk about Sarah Michelle and someone says “oh, Buffy”‘ I am very quick to say no… “Kathryn from CI!”‘ if all u smg fans want to see more of her acting please start distancing her from Buffy Summers. On a final note, there should not be a btvs panel at comic con. Also I’d be happy if Sarah Michelle would throw her friend shannen Doherty a bone and offer her a guest spot on the show… How great would that be. Also… This show has big shoes to fill to be the best show on the cw. Nikita is the best thing the network has going for it. If Nikki goes- so will I ( even if smg is doing her best Kathryn )

  45. shirley gilbert says:

    Ringer sounds like an interesting diversion from ‘Buffy’. Sounds like it has the OLD ‘Parent Trap’ movie concept. Gellar has grown up(in a good way). For those who are still in the ‘Buffy’ world…she is actually a pretty damn good actress. Let’s all watch this show…you will have no regrets.

  46. Anya says:

    Honestly I would not be interested in this show at all if it weren’t for the SMG factor. But she’s finally come back to TV, so I’m in, I’ll give it a chance.

  47. gonza says:

    the named of the song anybody knows????

  48. Victoria says:

    This show seems interesting. I think I’d like to check it out, though if there’s anything too inappropriate, I will, unfortunately, not continue watching it. Didn’t see anything bad in the trailer, though, so I will definitely check it out.

    This premise reminds me very strongly of a book I read once by Victoria Holt, although the book took place in 18th century England, so there were obviously some differences. The basic premise of that is also that of two twins, one dies, and the other takes over her life to escape her own (in this case because she had lost her home and family), only to find that her sister was not exactly an angel.
    It was called The Mask of the Enchantress, in case anyone’s heard of it.

    • Christian says:

      Too inappropiate? WTF? Are you head of the PTC? Go watch some Full House reruns on Nick at Nite if you want squeaky clean programming!

  49. dany says:

    they honored it @ the critics choice TV awards as “the most exciting NEW TV show

  50. TL says:

    THIS SHOW ALSO HAD ME AT SARAH MICHELLE GRLLAR!!!!!!!SHE IS ONE HELL OF AN ACTRESS AND I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE SHOW TO START!!!!!!!!!!!

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