It’s been a hot minute since Sarah Michelle Gellar graced our screens in any kind of leading lady capacity. The turn-of-the-century icon — best-known for starring in Buffy the Vampire Slayer — has been ultra-selective with her acting career in recent years.
Gellar has mostly kept busy with being an entrepreneur (keeping us up-to-date on it on social media). That said, Deadline has dropped huge news that she will soon return to the very craft that shot her to stardom. Gellar will partner with Ellen DeGeneres‘ production banner and Warner Bros. TV to produce and star in a new drama vehicle, Sometimes I Lie.
The limited series is based on Alice Feeney‘s debut novel of the same name. The facts of the book are these: Amber Reynolds (Gellar) is a coma patient who can hear the people around her without them being aware of it. Amber can’t recall exactly how she ended up in this state, but as purported by the novel’s synopsis, “[her] husband doesn’t love [her] anymore,” largely hinting at a massive upset in the mystery.
As Feeney’s dynamic novel unearths some ominous truths, Sometimes I Lie takes place across three timelines: the distant past told through 20-year-old diary entries, the week before Amber’s accident, and her current predicament stuck in a hospital bed.
Most HBO miniseries can attest this these days, but knotty thrillers are all the rage. Much like Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects, Sometimes I Lie is rife with perspective shifts amid suspenseful set-ups. And the series will feature a female protagonist as well as a slew of other intriguing characters with more than their fair share to hide.
Clearly, the rise of such episodic whodunnits can only continue. And if crime thrillers must keep spawning, Sometimes I Lie seems ideal for the small screen. As a Gellar fan, I’m keen on her involvement in the project above everything else. The thought of her playing a complicated and questionable character is exhilarating, considering how this would be an ideal, timely comeback.
Gellar’s titular role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (along with a couple of killer appearances in its Angel spin-off) really solidifies her talents as a well-rounded actress, alongside her status as a mainstay in pop culture as a whole. Two decades since the supernaturally-tinged show first aired, Buffy Summers remains one of the most important female characters ever.
Rather than being a symbol of two-dimensional, “Strong Female Character”-esque badassery, Buffy is a more nuanced combination of spunk and pathos thanks to Gellar. She particularly reaches intensely heartrending and unexpectedly real depths of emotional turmoil as the show progresses through rougher seasons at its tail end. Honestly, so vital is Buffy to women’s representation in the televisual canon that we can’t simply reboot her and call it a day.
Gellar’s post-Buffy work displays slivers of her multifaceted talents. At least her turn as Daphne Blake in the live-action Scooby-Doo movies can be seen as the epitome of spirited as she puts an empowering spin on the traditionally “danger-prone” damsel-in-distress. In I Know What You Did Last Summer, Gellar deepens the trope of a shallow girly girl by making her well-intentioned and absolutely gutsy. Even a snootier side of the actress is a wonder to witness, as well; look to the cult classic Cruel Intentions for a taste of her diabolical scheming as a fille fatale.
Unfortunately, Gellar can’t save every project. She has wrangled her fair share of predictable and nonsensical plotlines to less-than-stellar results. I so wish that the American remake of The Grudge was more memorable in its entirety. Possession is a trial to sit through, wherein good actors like Gellar and Lee Pace are left to fumble through a truly confusing storyline.
Gellar’s initial TV comebacks had some promise to them, but they ultimately fail to deliver. The CW’s Ringer gives Gellar a dual role to sink her teeth into. However, the show suffers from inconsequential plotting that makes her efforts feel out of place. Meanwhile, The Crazy Ones, a sitcom co-starring the late, great Robin Williams, should have been better, given its association with David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies). But Kelley himself eventually admitted that the hodgepodge writing on the series did a disservice to the actors anyway.
Regardless, there is plenty of evidence that Gellar can make magic happen on screen with the right project. I’ve sorely missed her taking center stage on screen and the time is ripe for something like Sometimes I Lie to soar. Fingers crossed that she and her fellow producers find the right creative team for the job. The series needs to succeed, for an actress of Gellar’s caliber deserves it.