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Ringer: Pilot

"You have the wrong girl."

The phrase that kept going through my head as I watched this last night was, "turgid supernatural soap opera" – but without the fun supernatural part. I'm fond of Sarah Michelle Gellar, but do I like her enough to watch her when she isn't kickboxing monsters?

So we have Bridget the good twin, a troubled stripper-prostitute-drug-addict-in-recovery who apparently has an uncharacteristically strong sense of right and wrong. And we have Siobhan the bad twin, a rich bitch socialite who is cheating on her husband and has just set up her twin to take her place for nefarious reasons of her own. Bridget thinks she's doing something terribly wrong, but circumstances forced her into it. We don't know what the hell Siobhan is thinking, but whatever it is, it's not good.

Because you can never have enough strongly dramatic plotlines, Bridget is on the run because she witnessed a murder and was supposed to testify against a very bad man who dismembers women. Siobhan was obviously estranged from her husband and stepdaughter, leaving Bridget with a huge emotional mess to disentangle. Nestor Carbonell, Mr. Eyeliner from Lost, is supposed to be protecting the missing Bridget, and is now hanging around Bridget thinking she's Siobhan while looking for Bridget.

Confused? You'd think you would be. But Ringer, at least so far, is like a Bette Davis movie -- predictable. They already set up the "Bridget would make a much better wife to rich, handsome Andrew than Siobhan ever did". They're also doing a lot of artful shooting of mirrors and reflections, where actually the best bit of symbolism in the pilot episode was Siobhan leaving her wedding ring in a prescription bottle. Unfortunately, the only way they made Bridget and Siobhan different is a hair style. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a good actress, and she is capable of a more subtle performance.

I shouldn't judge too quickly, though. It's only the pilot, and there's a lot of potential. Dan liked it more than I did, and we'll probably give it a chance. After all, I didn't fall madly in love with Buffy until the second season, and Jason Dohring is coming along eventually.

But is it wrong of me to want some supernatural with my turgid soap opera?
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

20 comments:

  1. I do hope this gets better. It has potential--noir twinning!--but parts of this pilot were almost embarrassing to watch.

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  2. I kept hoping for some sign of the supernatural myself.

    I liked it overall, but I wish shows (and comic books) would stop with the out of sequence narratives. It's old and annoying.

    I'll be sticking with it until or if it bores me. If I can't watch it as airs – if I start flipping to ONE LIFE TO LIVE on SOAPNet – that means it's a stinker for me.

    Off topic:
    Are you going to be watching/reviewing PERSON OF INTEREST? Once I was found out it was by JJ Abrams and starred Ben, I figured I would try it out.

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  3. HBR -- yes, one of us will be reviewing the premiere of Person of Interest.

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  4. Hey.... as far as I'm concerned, since it's got SMG, Nestor Carbonell, and Kristoffer Polaha.... and soon Jason Dohring.... I am already in for the long haul. :D But... eh.... I am easy to please.

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  5. Some of the acting and scenes were quite embarrassing, but I still enjoyed it. Blame it on BTVS nostalgia.

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  6. I watched this with a friend and we both kind of just laughed at it the whole time. I'll give it a few more weeks for Sarah Michelle's sake but I sure hope it gets better.

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  7. Also Fringe and VD do the doppelganger stuff so brilliantly that it's going to be tough to top them with anything.

    People are already laughing about the motorboat scene...

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  8. The motorboat scene was truly awful. It was like a flash back to the formative days of cinema, where they used to run what was clearly a film behind two actors sat in a stationary vehicle in some studio. In fact, the whole tone of this episode felt slightly off kilter. Whether that was intentional or not, I'm not sure. Maybe Josie's right with her "noir twinning" comment.

    But, even without the laughable content, I'm not sure this was a good pilot. Not that that means means anything. Pilot's are notorious misleading when it comes to later product.

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  9. Paul, like a weird homage to old Hitchcock that wasn't supposed to look real? (I'm thinking especially of Marnie.)

    Are we giving them too much credit? I think one of the producers is coming from CSI.

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  10. The motorboat scene was hilariously bad. It was also the only thing about the pilot that really stood out (for all the wrong reasons). Everything else was just kinda... blah.

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  11. Josie, exactly! If it turns out later that Bridget's in some kind of mental institution somewhere and is imagining the whole twin sister thing, we'll no doubt end up applauding the show's surrealist overtones. (And we can say we knew all along.) If not, you have the power to delete these comments, right?

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  12. My husband and I had a difficult time getting through it, and of course, we couldn't stop laughing about the horrible effects in the boat scene. Since it is SMG, I will give it a few more episodes, though. I was thinking about only giving it two more, but now that you reminded me that Jason Dohring will be on it, I can wait until he shows up.

    One problem I had with it is that none of the characters grabbed me. Even with bad pilots of really good series, I am usually intrigued by one or two of the characters. This time, none of the actors did a good job of making their character seem special in any way. Hopefully this will change soon -- maybe when Dohring appears.

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  13. I wonder how much of the pilot is the version that CBS saw and rejected and when the CW-ification will begin?

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  14. Sarah Michelle Geller, Kristoffer Polola, Nester Carbonelli, and a coming appearance of Jason Dohring? I'll probably stay for most of the season on those names alone. Some of the scenes were hard to watch, and I certainly wish we could get some supernatural stuff in this show, but you never really know about the CW. They've had some great shows (Veronica Mars, Supernatural) and some terrible shows (90210, Melrose Place), I'll just wait a bit and hope Ringer is the former.

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  15. I actually don't think Siobhan set Bridget up, I think she meant for her to declare her missing/dead and so escape from her life. Based on the scene in Paris when that guy comes up saying "We have a problem", I'm guessing he means that the really bad guys think she's still alive ('cause of Bridget) and so are still active...

    I liked that ending, I thought she'd end up being really dead and we'd only see her in flashbacks since from all the interviews it seemed like SMG spent a lot more time as Bridget...

    So I was a bit intrigued by the premise, delighted to see SMG on screen again, and hoping this gets better fast because, yeah, it was flawed. Fingers crossed!

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  16. God! That was just bad... Don't know why but I expected something of a much better quality. I consider SMG a good actress but this was like pulling teeth.... Nothing new much, with few variatios these plots are all "been there and done that".

    Of course it is only a pilot, and not every pilot is as strong as Alias's was, so I will give it a chance until Jason shows up, but it seems we set to much hope for a supporting character.

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  17. So, we have a show where the main character pretends to be her own evil twin, yet somehow it still manages to take itself entirely seriously. Wow. I didn't know what to expect from Ringer, but I sure as hell didn't expect this. I'll give it one or two more episodes on account of Jason Dohring, but I don't see myself sticking with this one.

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  18. I think I am going to give this show another chance. I saw Ringer and The Secret Circle back to back. TSC didn't get my wow-yes-and-yay at all, though I desperately tried, but Ringer did keep me interested somehow.

    I need more though, this wasn't enough. Let's see what happens...

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  19. I really like RINGER. Considering that it is on the CW and they're almost choking on the amount of supernatural shows, it's a breath of fresh air. The only non-supernatural programs I can think of on the CW is ONE TREE HILL and GOSSIP GIRL, which are targeted to, well .... 21 year old girls.

    And I remember somewhere, one of the producers or writers said it was going to be a slow start, not all flash bang pop. So I'm going to keep watching.

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  20. I actually really enjoyed this, I think people definitely need to give it a bit more of a chance, it has only been one episode after all. I think it was good how it started off slowly, many pilots try and cram way too much into the first episode, but that boat scene... wow.....

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