Ringer? Dead Ringer

I knew there was something so familiar about one of the new fall TV shows. Ringer, which stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and airing on the CW network, premiered Tuesday night. I’d been contracted to write a review, so I already had my DVR set. Now, here’s the thing with reviews: it sounds like a lot of fun, and most of the time, it is – unless it’s a show I really don’t like or a movie that didn’t live up to its hype. Fortunately, Ringer is a homerun and the CW has Gellar to thank for it.

But back to that sense of familiarity. It finally occurred to me that it’s eerily reminiscent Dead Ringer, the 1964 horror film that starred Bette Davis. Like Gellar, she too played the role of both twins. Now y’all know I’m a huge fan of the classics and especially Bette Davis. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation and then I remember all that great music from the 1980s and realize maybe I wasn’t. In both the Ringer and Dead Ringer, one twin – the wealthy one – ends up dead. That leaves the broke and down-on-her luck sister in both works with a decision: keep on keeping on with a life half-lived or assume the identity of the dead, though wealthy, sister. Of course – they choose to become their other halves. Wouldn’t we all? OK – don’t answer that.

Ringer definitely hit its mark. It’s smart with a great script, at least from the pilot, and hopefully, it will more than serve its purpose for this network that finds itself struggling each season, despite a few great efforts it’s made over the years. And even better is that the writers, and certainly with Gellar’s talent, have managed to maintain the quality and consistency from the original black and white film. The music is amazing, too. Seriously – who else would combine Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” with Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces”? It’s genius, I tell you!

So if you haven’t seen Dead Ringer, here’s a short clip and try to find it on Netflix or Amazon – it really is a great film with a less than perfect ending – which is a must-have for any Bette Davis film (think Of Human Bondage or Now Voyager – she loses out in both).

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