Buffy’s back but lacking bite.

Sarah Michelle Gellar makes her triumphant return to television in the soap opera
style drama “Ringer.”

For legions of fans, Gellar was last seen in several of horror films and in “Buffy
the Vampire Slayer,” the hugely popular cult television series that ushered in a
fan base for vampire long before “Twilight” existed.

“Buffy” signed off the air in 2003 and fans will be relieved to see Gellar in her old
stomping ground, as “Ringer” airs on the CW, formerly the WB. The show even
airs in her old time slot, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

The pilot for “Ringer”opens with Gellar in familiar territory: the audience watches
as Gellar is pursued through a dark building by a masked man. The man grabs
her and the two wrestle to the floor as she screams, “You’ve got the wrong girl!”
before the screen cuts to black.

The rest of the episode works backwards.

We meet Bridget, a recovering drug addict and former prostitute and stripper who
witnesses a murder. Bridget flees to New York the day before she is to testify
against the mob boss who killed her friend.

Bridget travels to the Hamptons to meet with her estranged twin sister Siobhan.
Bridget explains her visit to Siobhan by saying that asking for forgiveness is part
of her drug rehabilitation.

While the two share the same face, it is apparent that they lead different lives.
Siobhan is a wealthy socialite who has a husband (Ioan Gruffudd), a hostile
marriage and her best friend’s husband (Kristopher Polaha) for a lover. Their lives
are so different that no one even knows Siobhan has a sister.

During a boat ride together, Siobhan fakes her own death, leaving behind her
identification and her wedding ring in an empty prescription bottle. Feeling
cornered now after having both the FBI and the mob after her, Bridget assumes
Siobhan’s identity.

This get even worse. Of course, Siobhan is still alive and of course Siobhan is the
one who hires the hit on her sister, which opened the episode.

“The show is a perfect combination of what people want to see from me,” Gellar
recently said in an interview with “Entertainment Weekly.” “It’s ‘Cruel Intentions’

meets ‘Buffy’.”

For those who do not remember though, Gellar got her start on the soap
opera “All My Children” and this is exactly what “Ringer” feels like, a step back to
her beginnings instead of a step forward in her career.

The cast is great but the dialogue is stiff. The first half of the show drags on as it
tries to find it’s footing and by the end it is not really certain if it ever truly does.

There are so many twists and turns, each character packing a different dual
personality. Who you are at a gala event versus who you are at home is a big
theme here.

When it is revealed that Siobhan was actually 3 weeks pregnant when she went
missing, you have to roll your eyes again. Of course she was pregnant too.

The preview for the second episode seems more promising than this introduction.
What’s Siobhan doing in Paris? What will Bridget do now that she has to fake a
pregnancy?

It’s an intriguing plot but one that already feels tiresome. “Can you keep up?” the
show seems to ask. Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine where the show could go on
when it already feels like it’s jumped the shark.