Ringer

Ringer is all about a young lady called Bridget. Her life has been a tad rubbish for a while thanks to all the drugs and prostitution seemingly triggered by the death of her nephew. It appears as if she had a very significant role to play in that she is incapable of talking about it and on occasion stares longingly at pictures of him. Her sister, Siobhan, and she have been estranged since his death also. But guess what? She's been trying to get herself together. She's in Alcoholics Anonymous and has been on the wagon for 6 months or so now. Excitingly Siobhan and she are in contact aging; an invite to her house has even been extended! The twin sister whose life is so much better than hers; perfect some might say. But wait. There's a twist. Obviously! Our leading lady(ies), played by Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) is a witness to the brutal slaying of a co-worker (lady of the night / stripper - one of the other) and is currently under FBI protection.

She escapes from that of course. She has to see her sister, after all and succeeds. After reconnecting, and forgiving for whatever happened Siobhan and Bridget travel out to sea and the next thing we - and Bridget - know is that Siobhan has apparently committed suicide by drowning AND LEFT ALL HER ID AND WEDDING RING BEHIND TO ENSURE HER TWIN SISTER THE DRUG TAKING PROSTITUTE ADOPTS HER LIFE. The show treats you like a seven year old with an attention span as long as it takes them to eat a toffee apple. Basil Exposition may as well be partnering our Bridget every step of the way - it already feels like he is. It's patronising, suggesting everything which happens needs to be explicitly hammered home to ensure its wholly understood. It's a shame. The actual show does have promise. But the writers, directors etc. don't let you find it for yourself. They ensure there's very little or no mystery in what is, at heart, a mystery thriller! The one thing they do hold off on (until the end at least) - the whole 'my sister has given me the opportunity to start again' thing - still doesn't feel right, and so it proves towards the end of the episode when our ex-vampire slayer is attacked by a man looking to kill Siobhan. Siobhan, meanwhile, turns up in what appears to be a swanky Parisian nightclub. She gets a phone call telling her there's a problem. Fade to black.

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It's a shame the show presents itself in this way. The production values are high, the cast is strong (SMG, Mr Fantastic and the chap from Lost who never aged) and there're some interesting characters. The main story and the undercurrent which exists below it are all interesting in and of themselves and questions are asked throughout. But at no point is the viewer left to ponder them alone, aside from the very last moment - which no doubt will be answered in episode two and the show will ensure each and every viewer understands exactly what's going on.

Lost got criticised heavily for asking too many questions, leaving too many of them hanging and ultimately not answering many, or doing so in an often unsatisfactory manner. Ringer is not like Lost, but it needs to hold something back otherwise it's a throwaway show which will be forgotten immediately and folks will not be encouraged to return.

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The overall plot of Ringer comes across a little worryingly like Prison Break. Not so much the details, but it appears as if it will run out of steam sometime around the end of the first season. A woman has become her sister and for sure it'll be fun watching her integrate herself into a new life with all around unaware anything quite so dramatic has happened. That'll get boring after a while, though. We now know the perfect sister is either in some kind of trouble meaning someone's trying to kill her, or she wants to kill her sister. The problem is, that kind of thing can't be strung out for more than 24 episodes. Do the writer's have a long-term plan or have they laid out only episodes 1-12, not considering whether they get a full order from the network? This doesn't always fail (see 24) but also smacks of poor planning.

Ultimately, Ringer deserves our attention for longer than its first 42 minutes. Episode two is a definite must watch. It's finding its feet and has the potential somewhere within itself to deliver quality entertainment, but right now it's looking quite brainless as it assumes it's viewers are. Time will tell. If it gets the time - it's dropping in the ratings significantly in the US after only two weeks.

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