Way out on the dusty high plains of Wyoming, an exotic dancer at some cowboy lounge has witnessed the murder of a colleague.
And now she must testify. Bridget Cafferty (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is reluctant because a local crime boss did the deed, so rather than face likely retribution, she skips to New York to hook up with her long-estranged twin sister, Siobhan (ummm, also Sarah Michelle Gellar).
Siobhan is a cold, calculating type — yes, the evil twin — who suddenly disappears, leaving Bridget, who’s now fleeing the cops, to assume her identity. Bridget thinks Siobhan committed suicide, but viewers may come to other conclusions.
Meanwhile, Bridget becomes Siobhan, mostly to hide from the Wyoming mobster who wants her dead. Bridget quickly learns that her treacherous sis has dark secrets, so now she also has to dodge Victor Machado (Nestor Carbonell, “Lost”), the cop hot on Siobhan’s trail.
Sarah, Michelle, Gellar — those names remain magic in some TV circles, based on the assumption that a cult actress should be able to drag along the die-hard fans from her “Buffy,” “Scream” and “Grudge” years. And yeah, Gellar — in both her incarnations — looks stunning here, as though the intervening years were mere months. But they were not: Gellar, 34, is a devoted mom (married to Freddie Prinze Jr.) who has drifted irrevocably beyond the sweet spot of the CW’s largely teen demographic.
This show, in fact, was developed for CBS, which then palmed it off on the kid-sister network, which was only too happy to reunite with the biggest star in its history by far (as well as the WB’s history by far).
But “Ringer” doesn’t remotely feel like a WB or CW series. It’s inert, lackluster and a trifle old-fashioned. Even the action scenes feel geriatric. It’s also vaguely silly — a big reason the venerable good-twin/evil-twin gambit is better suited to comedy than drama. Phoebe and Ursula Buffay, anyone?
Bottom line: This will get a quick pickup — mark my words — but “Buffy” fans will wonder why.
"Ringer" debuts Tuesday night at 9 on CW/11.