First Look: Sarah Michelle Gellar in Ringer

What’s the deal? Remember that episode of Buffy where she and the gang came face to face with their bizarre other-dimensiony dopplegangers? Well, it’s happened again.

Ok, sort of. In her new series Ringer, Sarah Michelle Gellar plays Bridget, a cutely sarcastic ex-hooker with a heart, an addiction problem and straggly hair.

Sort of like Buffy, if she’d ended up on the bottle and become a bit of a wimp.

Bridget’s on the run from the law, so who better to see than the identical twin sister estranged from her for sister years?

As it turns out, Siobhan is an ice-queen society wife and doesn’t exactly approve of her wayward sister. So when she mysteriously goes awol, isn’t it just the most obvious thing for Bridget to steal her identity and take on her sister’s not-as-perfect-as-it-seemed life?

It’s unclear how the twin-swap will play out, though the pilot intriduces several threads – namely where is Siobhan, will the law catch up with Bridget and why did they fall out in the first place.

Will it work? The script isn’t horrible and the way it’s filmed – with lots and lots of mirrors to reiterate the “double lives” drama – is effective, though could become annoying.

The real problem though is that I still felt I was watching Buffy.

SMG hasn’t done much since that series wrapped, and she still looks basically the same and does all the wide eyed stares and snappy sarky backchat Buffy was known for.

In the pilot, each twin was essentially distinguished by hair (poor twin, down and unkempt, rich twin, up in a chignon so complicated several hairdressers would be required).

For Ringer to work, it’s going to need some thrilling storylines beyond the initial teasers, but also some serious character work. Bridget should be scarred by her experiences, Siobhan needs to be more than a bored Manhattan trophy wife with a distant husband.

What it shouldn’t feel like is an episode of Buffy where she’s been put under a spell and has fallen into someone else’s life.

Will I stick with it? Yes, to begin with. It’s an engaging concept, and there’s seems to be good stuff to come. But if three weeks in I still feel like I’m watching an unreleased episode of Buffy, I’m not so sure.

More about new TV shows to watch this Autumn here

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Gossip Girl: stop the Blair and Dan train-wreck

So, I’ve been somewhat rubbish with my Gossip Girl blogging of late. In fairness, the show went on hiatus over December and then I moved into a flat where we had a problem with the internet – in that, we didn’t have said internet.

I’m back online now, and I’ve seen the first two episodes of this year. In truth, they’ve been rather dull. After the Juliette-Ben-let’s kill drug Serena drama of 2010, we’ve moved back to the Gossip Girl standards of ice-queen Lily, clueless Rufus and Serena the absurd-romance chaser. Rather yawnsome, really.

The Chuck mixing business with pleasure is too predictable, and the girl (am too lazy to Google her name, so she will from now be referred to as ‘the businesswoman’) is one cliché after another. Is she supposed to be Chuck’s age? If so, how has she completed her college education (and postgrad, because in America a first degree is worth zilch) and gained so much experience, when she’s supposed to be around Chuck’s age?

I realise nepotism, but surely a savvy businessman would only give his privileged and well-dressed but unqualified daughter the perfunctory jobs, like, ooh, organising cocktail parties and picking out his ties.

Plus, she’s clearly crap, she keeps telling Chuck all the information he needs to take the Chicago duo down.

Eric and Damian, wherever the hell that’s going, is just odd. I like how the writers, in what I assume is a bid to keep casting-search costs down, have just decided Damian will be the villain in whatever implausible scenario they’re running this week. It’s like going to see a play where the ensemble play rotating roles, only in Gossip Girl there’s not even an attempt to disguise the fact that IT’S THE SAME ACTOR EVERY WEEK.

I expect the rest of this series to involve him a) doing something to screw up Blair’s ambitions b) being the other man in the inevitable next stage of the Rufus-Lily implosion and c) kidnapping Dorota’s baby to exact a hefty ransom out of the VdWs.

But all that is small fry. Now, I realise that since the dawn of unrealistic but fabulous teen drama, there’s been a tradition of romantic swapsies. Joey Potter had flings with everyone – Dawson, Pacey, random guys, even Jack before he came out) and I think they paired Jen with a fair few. But it’s not necessary to do it when it gives the viewer a desire to either vomit, or throw heavy objects at the TV.

Buffy, for all Xander’s adoration, never returned the sentiment. And Marissa didn’t go off with Seth, nor Summer (except, for a brief second in the first episode) try it on with Ryan.

I realise that the idea of a fine line between love and hate works well in a show so centred around witty barbs and disparaging insults. But Blair and Dan. No. NO. JUST NO. Yes, they are funny together. But only because they hate each other, not because of any underlying passion.

It is not necessary to complicate the unadulterated snobbery and rivalry of the Blair-Dan relationship with, as I expect will happen, a secret, purely physical fling, that will then be discovered (probably at a fancy party) and cause yet another rift between B and S.

To refresh; Dan has been with all the girls except Blair (and Jenny, for obvious reasons). Blair has been with all the guys except Dan. Serena has been with all the guys except Chuck (and even that’s not certain) and Nate’s been with every girl who even made a guest appearance on the show except Georgina.

Writers, dear writers. This is no longer a Dawson-Joey-Pacey love triangle. This is just the start of a bad comedy film where the groom has had flings with all the bridesmaids, the mother, sister and cousin, and possibly the wacky aunt too.

There is a reason why such films are critical and box office flops. DON’T DO IT.

Buffy the Gossip Girl Slayer

This week; what if Gossip Girl met Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Two shows which, in their time, captivated teen audiences. Before there was Twilight and Tru Blood, there was Angel, Spike and all the other bloodsuckers over in Sunnydale.

 Some GG fans may not even remember the show, although a rumoured movie could change that, but long before Blair and co made high school a living hell, Buffy, Willow and the rest were taking classes in a rather more literal one.  

So, would it be a match made in heaven or the hellmouth?

And who would the slayer of Upper East Side would be? There are a few contenders for the role, to be sure.

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