Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar PREVIEW

Siobhan and Bridget – two Sarah Michelle Gellars for the price of one. Pic: Sky Living
Rating ★★½
Sky Living, from Thursday 29 September, 8pm
The trouble with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new thriller series Ringer is that it’s hard to tell it apart from a really silly drama. 
It’s the spitting image of a show whose story is so daft it’s almost funny. It bears an uncanny resemblance to a series that’ll have many viewers thinking, How the heck did this get made? 
All right, you’ve guessed it. Ringer is no ringer of a dud show. It’s the real deal.
Addict and ex-stripper
It’s Gellar’s first outing since she finished vampire slaying as Buffy in 2003. She’s had plenty of time to cherry-pick a cracking series for the next phase of her TV career, after a string of forgettable films (Southland Tales, Veronika Decides to Die etc). But why she chose this show is a bigger mystery than anything Ringer can throw at us.
She plays recovering addict and ex-stripper Bridget, who we meet as she is about to testify as a witness in a murder case. Afraid, she slugs the cop guarding her and goes on the run.
To the home of her estranged  and wealthy twin, Siobhan, whom she hasn’t seen for six years. Here the story spirals into the realm of stark staring implausibility. 
Worst back-projection seen since the 1950s
Siobhan is married to millionaire Andrew, but has strangely never mentioned to him that she has a twin sister. So, somehow having a sister has slipped Siobhan’s mind, and she obviously hasn’t got any family snap shots for Andrew to see.
No sooner have Bridget and Siobhan reconnected than Siobhan apparently disappears over the side of her motor boat – which is totally unbelievable because the sea scene is obviously filmed in a studio and features the worst back-projection seen since the 1950s. 
This allows Bridget to step into Siobhan’s shoes, not that the latter’s husband, lover, daughter or best friend notice. Thereafter the viewer will sit agog, groaning, ‘But surely…’ and ‘How could they not realise?’ and ‘Oh, come on!’
Siobhan – aka Bridget – is pregnant
When Bridget discovers that Siobhan is pregnant, she stupidly blurts it out in front of Andrew, creating another gigantic problem for herself – now she has to deceive everyone and pretend to be pregnant. And inevitably, it turns out Siobhan is leading as dangerous a life as Bridget, having a homicidal maniac after her that Bridget has to deal with.

What could have been an intriguing premise gets buried under a tsunami of bonkers improbabilities. The best that could happen for the series is that it might emerge as a bit of camp fun with its B-movie back projection and soapy plot.  

Andrew, by the way, is played by Ioan Gruffud, who must have thought he’d hit the big time in The Fantastic Four after making his name in Hornblower. Well, like Gellar, it seems unlikely he’ll be blowing his trumpet about Ringer.

Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar Bridget Kelly and Siobhan Martin, Ioan Gruffudd Andrew Martin, Kristoffer Polaha Henry Butler, Nestor Carbonell Victor Machado, Tara Summers Gemma Butler, Mike Colter Malcolm Ward

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