All three new CW network shows are incredibly good this fall season, but The Secret Circle stood out to me from the moment it started. It’s based on the book series by L.J. Smith (who brought us The Vampire Diaries) and centers around Cassie Blake (played by Britt Robertson) who moves in with her grandmother to a new town after her mom dies. She is quite the talk of the town and almost instantly has a new group of friends. She finds out later that these new “friends” are part of a group called “The Circle,” and they are all witches. Up until this moment, Cassie had no idea she was a witch. Add into the mix, Adam (played by Thomas Dekker) whose dad is an alcoholic, Faye Chamberlain (played by Phoebe Tonkin), the bad-ass with a mysterious, distant mother Dawn (played by Natasha Henstridge), Diana (played by Shelly Hennig), the leader of the circle, and her Dad Charles (played by Gale Harold, who we learn in the first scene is responsible for Cassie’s mom’s death). Apparently, The Circle is much more powerful now that Cassie has arrived, and I am very interested to see where that goes.
The town in The Secret Circle, much like Mystic Falls, has an air of mystery. Witchcraft spans generations and there is much more to The Circle than we could possibly know. In the pilot episode, we learn that something really bad happened with the parents’ “Circle” that made them stop practicing witchcraft. And a lot of them (like Cassie’s mom) are no longer alive. Kevin Williamson, who is an Executive Producer on this show and The Vampire Diaries, always brings fantastic mythology to any show he works on, so I’m very excited to learn more about the town and all of the witches in it. And then we add the love triangle of Adam, Cassie and Diana and we have the makings of a hit. The Secret Circle is in a word, enchanting. Britt Robertson is great in her new lead role. Phoebe Tonkin completely blew me out of the water. She was an absolute highlight of the show for me. And Thomas Dekker is fantastic as well.
The show makes a perfect companion piece to The Vampire Diaries, because it exists in a very similar world. While there are witches, these teenagers are going through life like any normal teenager would, just with another element added in. One of my favorite moments of the pilot is when Cassie wasn’t quick to accept she had her powers. She didn’t believe in witchcraft. That part made the whole show feel so grounded to me. And just like Mystic Falls, I am sure there might be more supernaturals lurking about. I personally am holding out hope for a crossover episode with The Vampire Diaries, but Kevin Williamson says it’s not in the works. In any case, if you love The Vampire Diaries for all its drama, angst and great writing (and Ian Somerhalder, let’s be honest), you will also love The Secret Circle. It is beautifully shot, wonderfully written, and all you would hope for in that hour after The Vampire Diaries.
Be sure to tune in tonight at 9 PM to the CW for the series premiere of The Secret Circle!