Back in September, 2011, the CW netlet premiered a new series starring Buffy the Vampire Slayer herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar. I watched the first episode because it is my policy to sample everything done by people connected to Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse, you know, everything in the Whedonverse.
I liked Ringer immediately. A suspenseful show about a druggie who takes over her twin sister's Park Avenue life after the sister offs herself. What's not to like? I liked it so much that I did two things. I started pronouncing the G as a J, like Ranger only with an I, and I started to save up a few episodes so I could watch several at a time. I thought it might be 3-4 episodes before I starting watching the show in earnest but instead it was 22. That's right, I found myself with entire season sitting on my DVR, so Friday night, I started a Rin-jer marathon.
It was a wonderful weekend.
The show is wonderful. Dark, suspenseful and most importantly, never cheap or cheesy. Watching all 22 episodes at once was a great way to follow the details of the dense plot. Oh, it is dense, in a way that you rarely see on television. SMG plays Bridget and Siobhan - the name Siobhan itself entertains me far more than is reasonable - and lies a lot. Bridget was a fugitive and decided that hiding in plain sight was the most appealing option, but it's tough to lie to everyone when you start to care.
I was worried that Ringer would drift into prime-time soap territory, but it never did. Everything was played straight and the issues were always matters of life and death. Literally as several people, not always the bad guys, met their demise. There was one plot thread, the teenage step-daughter getting raped by a teacher, that made me roll my eyes (also literally) as the topic, serious in real life but overdone on TV, became much more than a soap plot. All in all, a well done series and well cast.
The teenage step-daughter was played by Zoey Deutch, whom IMDB tells me is the daughter of Lea Thompson. The real-life mother-daughter don't really look anything alike but when you know what to look for, you can see Lea's mannerisms all over her daughter's face. Zoey also came off as a real teenager instead of a TV teenager. A welcome treat.
Oddly, Ringer was joined in the life swap genre this year by a series called The Lying Game on ABC Family. I also watched The Lying Game but hardly for the same reasons. In TLG, twins separated at birth meet up and share one life. It's played as a soap, complete with over-the-top plots and silly issues. As I said, I enjoyed TLG, but more for the eye candy than its quality. Between the two, I wouldn't mind a second season of The Lying Game, but I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want a second season of Ringer. I'll even pronounce it correctly if that will help.