Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Two Worlds, One Ringer

This week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, Amber West and I review two new programs to the 2011-2012 television schedule whose plots are based on dual realities – NBC’s new drama, Awake, where the protagonist lives in alternate realities depending on whether or not he is dreaming; and the CW’s new mystery, Ringer, where the protagonist is choosing to live in another reality, her twin sister’s world.

Ringer stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as twin sisters Bridget Kelly and Siobhan Martin.

The sisters share a troubled past – Bridget is a former narcotics user and stripper, and Siobhan cut ties from Bridget when she married a millionaire New York City hedge fund manager, leaving her normal life and sister behind.  But after a few years apart, the girls suddenly decide to move past previously made mistakes and mend their relationship, or so it seems.

The series begins as Bridget runs to her wealthy sister, Siobhan, after she witnesses a mob hit and escapes protective custody just before testifying in court.  A few days into the happy reunion, Siobhan disappears herself (making it look like an apparent suicide).  Bridget panics, like most would, but then realizes that this is her perfect opportunity to escape her past and assume her sister’s identity.

And so the story begins….

Bridget’s first matter of business is to convince Siobhan’s husband (Andrew Martin, played by Ioan Gruffudd) that she is her sister.  She learns rather quickly that the two share a rocky, tumultuous marriage, and her new husband doesn’t seem to like her very much.  Andrew’s teenage daughter from a previous marriage really hates Siobhan (Juliet Martin, played by Zoey Deutch), and she lashes out constantly by skipping school, doing drugs, and destroying things around the penthouse.

Siobhan's husband, Andrew

As if Siobhan’s life at home wasn’t enough of a disaster, Bridget soon discovers that her sister was also having an affair with Henry Butler (Kristoffer Polaha), the husband of her best friend (Gemma Butler, played by Tara Summers).

Siobhan's boyfriend and best friend's husband, Henry

Just as Bridget begins to manage all of the lies her sister is living, the FBI agent tasked with protecting her during the trial (Agent Victor Machado, played by Nestor Carbonell) arrives in New York with a few questions for Siobhan.

The FBI agent tasked with protecting Bridget, Victor

Meanwhile, Bridget’s Narcotics Anonymous sponsor and apparent lover (Malcolm Ward, played by Mike Colter) is abducted by the drug lord/mob boss looking for her back home, beaten within an inch of his life, and reacquainted with black tar heroin.  Malcolm might just be the hero of the show; despite the torture, he doesn’t disclose Bridget’s secret and he still manages to escape and travel to NYC to protect her.

Bridget's NA Sponsor and one-time lover, Malcolm

Everything is just too much, so Bridget (aka Siobhan) seeks out a new NA sponsor in the city and meets Charlie (Billy Miller).  Charlie seems eager to help, not only with her constant battle with relapse, but also with the many matters surrounding her double life.  People can trust sponsors, right?

Bridget's new NA sponsor and dirty former cop, Charlie

Oh, and did we mention the “real” Siobhan (who is camped out in Paris under an assumed identity) is pregnant?  That’s an interesting twist…Bridget gets the call from Siobhan’s doctor and has to pretend she’s pregnant; meanwhile, Henry thinks the baby is his; Andrew of course thinks the baby is his; and Siobhan’s new Parisian lover (Tyler, played by Justin Bruening) now thinks the baby is his.  This lady is a mess.

Siobhan's Parisian boy-toy and her husband's business associate, Tyler

To make matters worse, Bridget doesn’t do a bang up job keeping her secret – Gemma discovers the truth: that the “real” Siobhan is sleeping with her husband, and that Bridget is assuming her sister’s identity.  When Gemma threatens to blow the top off Bridget’s lies, she disappears.   Henry comes home to find blood all over the walls and a broken vase, and immediately cleans the mess up to protect Siobhan.  But when he confronts Siobhan (aka Bridget), she of course thinks he did something to Gemma – why else would he cover up the evidence?

Confused yet?  Remember, the “real” Siobhan is the puppet master pulling all the strings; Bridget is only trying to survive in Siobhan’s world.

And this ladies and gentleman is just the beginning…

Because of the non-stop twists and turns, I must award Ringer with the JFTV rating – it’s the perfect Junk Food Television.  I sat and watched the entire first half of the season in mini-marathon style.  See, I record the series each week, but wasn’t intrigued enough at first to watch; but once I started the episodes, I couldn’t stop – just like when I pick up a bag of Hershey’s miniatures from Costco — someone needs to pull the bag of chocolate away from me in order for me to stop popping the delicious delights in my mouth one right after the other.

I enjoyed my mini-marathon of the first half of the season so much, I’m currently stock-piling the second half of the season for another marathon-style viewing party.  I’m just waiting for that perfect Saturday…

What do you think? Do you watch Ringer?  Which of Siobhan and Bridget’s men is your favorite and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the masterfully creative dual realities of Awake.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

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