When people found out that Sarah Michelle Gellar was doing a new TV pilot for the first time since Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, the excitement was tremendous. Judging from the reaction at San Diego Comic Con, television—and her fans—had been sorely missing her. The premise of this new show, Ringer, was seemingly simple, but decidedly intriguing: Bridget, a woman on the run, turns to her rich and perfect twin sister Siobhan for help, then takes over her sister’s identity after she kills herself, learning that she’s not so perfect after all. The questions were fast and furious. Would she be able to step out of the shadow of Buffy? How would she handle playing dual roles?
Then, CBS ended all of that speculation when they decided not to pick it up. Fans were devastated. How could they turn down a show that seemed to have a built-in fanbase? What was CBS thinking? It seemed like it was all over, but there was going to be one more twist to this story—the CW wasn’t going to let the show die; they picked it up for their fall schedule.
Little did the general public know the cast and crew didn’t have to go through that heart-rending rollercoaster ride—according to the panel, they knew it was going to CW before CBS even announced they weren’t picking it up. Gellar said CBS actually pitched the idea to them about moving the show to CW after loving the pilot but worrying that the CBS audience wouldn’t embrace its serialized nature, being weaned on nothing but episodic procedurals for years.
The Ringer producers quickly agreed, and the deal was made—they actually felt that CW would be a better fit for them and allow more creative freedom, and all of the panelists seemed to agree. Gellar said she actually felt bad talking to friends who had pilots in that limbo-land that occurs before upfronts, because normally finding out whether or not your pilot is picked up to series is a really stressful and long process, but for Ringer, it was incredibly quick, despite changing networks.
And that wasn’t the only revelation from the panel. Gellar and Kristoffer Polaha (Baze from Life Unexpected), who plays Siobahn’s extramarital love interest, mentioned that they had a long history—sort of—and revealed that he almost played Riley on Buffy. His very first professional audition was with Sarah Michelle Gellar for the role, and it was between him and Marc Blucas. We all know how that turned out. No offense to Marc Blucas, but I would have loved to see that!
Joining Gellar and Polaha on the panel were the creators Eric C. Charmelo and Nicole Snyder, executive producer Pam Veasey, Ioan Gruffudd (Mr. Fantastic) as the husband of Siobhan, and Nestor Carbonell (Lost, The Tick) as an FBI agent working with Bridget.
Not shockingly, most of the audience questions made reference to Buffy or Lost, but thankfully tended towards people wanting to know how the actors felt their new roles differed from the old ones and how they approached them. I was also pleased to see a little love for Life Unexpected, which only ran two seasons.
All of the actors seemed very excited by the noir-ish world the creators are building with Ringer, especially how each and every character seems to harbor secrets and have many shades of gray. The creators understandably played any answers about where the show was going and how long it would take to get there close to the vest, but Gellar said that she was wowed by the amount of story they had already showed her. Apparently they have three seasons planned out, with countless twists and turns as we learn more about the motivations of each character and who’s playing what games. They did stress, though, that despite the fantastic backgrounds of most of their cast members, there would be no supernatural elements in the show—it’s a straight-up noir.
Overall, it was a very intriguing presentation and panel that whet my appetite for more. And hey, how can you go wrong with a show that has Buffy, Batmanuel, and Baze as regulars?
They showed the trailer, which you can view here.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler has been writing professionally for over 10 years. Currently, she’s an editor for PinkRaygun, a geek girl e-zine, and a food and organic living contributor to Savings.com. She has ghostwritten one sci-fi novel and is now ghostwriting a second one. You can learn more about her writing at WeissRoessler.com or follow her geekery and adventures onTwitter@julweiss.