The musings of a feminist pop culture fanatic

The Secret Circle

Here is the main thing I have learned from supernatural TV shows. I clearly need to move to a small town if I ever want to meet a vampire, witch, or werewolf.

The Secret Circle is yet another supernatural teen drama, which seems to be what The CW now specializes in. Its premiere held 100% of The Vampire Diaries’ viewership, which is basically unheard of.

Here’s the gist of the show: Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson of Life Unexpected) is a 16-year-old girl who has to move in with her grandmother (Ashley Crow, a.k.a. Claire’s mom on Heroes) in a small town in Washington. Cassie’s mom just died in a house explosion and Cassie is devastated. When she moves to Chance Harbor, everyone knows who she is and is very excited to meet her. It’s almost reminiscent of Twilight when everyone is instantly in love with Bella Swan. Except Cassie isn’t quite as boring of a character. She’s got more spunk.

So, there are five teenagers in particular we meet in the first episode. There’s Nick, the creepy guy who lives next door to Cassie and somehow opens her curtains even after she shut them. Diana, the nice girl who instantly wants to be Cassie’s bestie. Adam, the potential love interest for Cassie, but feels conflicted because he’s dating Diana. Faye, who is described as the “resident bad girl.” This is made even more clear when she walks in slow motion while “bad girl music” plays. It’s as cheesy as it sounds. And Phoebe, who is given little to do except be Faye’s lackey.

Then there are the adults. Cassie’s grandma, of course, seems like the traditional, awesome grandmother typically portrayed on these shows. Faye’s mother is the school principal and seems to be drastically different from her bad-girl daughter. In the last scenes, however, it becomes apparent that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Diana’s dad is super creepy and it’s basically shown that he killed Cassie’s mom. Then there’s Adam’s dad, who owns the Boathouse (the hang-out spot in Chance Harbor) and is a drunk who likes to talk a lot about fate. He also tells Cassie that he loved her mom and that he thinks her and Adam are destined to be together.

Those are all the major characters. Now, on to the plot.

The show opens with Cassie getting a flat tire and talking to her mom on the phone. After she hangs up the phone, Cassie’s house mysteriously bursts into flames and her mother dies in the fire. Cut to Cassie moving in with her grandma. When she starts school the next day, everyone seems to know who she is and wants to tell her how pretty she is. Seriously, nearly every character mentions it. Mysterious things seem to happen, like Cassie’s combination lock mysteriously opening and her curtains coming open after she shuts them.

After her first day of school, Diana invites her to the Boathouse. Faye corners Cassie and she decides she wants to leave. As Cassie is trying to get her car to start, the engine starts smoking and then bursts into flames. She also can’t get the door unlocked. Adam comes out to try to save her as Faye and Phoebe watch. Clearly, it’s implied that Faye is the one trapping her in the car. Cassie eventually gets the door unlocked and the fire goes out. Later, Diana confronts Faye and says they need to be careful about their power.

Yep, all the teenagers we’ve been introduced to are practicing witchcraft and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to complete their “circle.” Now that Cassie is there, they are more powerful than ever. They tell Cassie about her abilities and naturally, she doesn’t believe them. Later, Adam finds her in the woods and they make drops of water levitate. They also almost kiss. It’s supposed to be super romantic, but is mainly really cheesy. Now that their circle is complete, however, the six teens are much more powerful. Faye, especially, is thrilled by this. She goes for a walk one night, making light bulbs go out and starting massive thunderstorms. Quickly, the storm gets out of control and is only stopped when Cassie helps her.

Cassie’s grandmother believes the children might be practicing again and goes to Faye’s mom, the principal. Faye’s mom assures her that she doesn’t think the kids are practicing and she would know since she’s around them all day. Cassie’s grandmother doesn’t seem to be entirely reassured, but lets it go. Apparently, something terrible happened 16 years ago when all the current teens’ parents were practicing witchcraft. Each of the current generation of teens lost a parent in the accident. Cassie’s dad, Adam’s mom, Faye’s dad, Diana’s mom, and no one really cares about the other two yet. By the end of the show, though, it becomes clear that Faye’s mom does in fact know about the practicing and is in cahoots with Diana’s evil father to encourage it. Diana’s evil father confronts Adam’s awesome drunk dad and basically uses his power to pretend drown him as a warning that he needs to stop talking to Cassie. It’s very evil and cheesy.

The show is created by Kevin Williamson (of Dawson’s Creek and The Vampire Diaries fame) and is very reminiscent of his other shows. It is a very cheesy teen drama like Dawson’s Creek with the supernatural elements of The Vampire Diaries. It isn’t the worst show I’ve ever seen. Britt Robertson is spunky and adorable as Cassie. Some of the other teens aren’t completely boring. Ashley Crow is her usual kickass self. The biggest problem is that it takes itself too seriously. The music, in particular, makes many of the plot points very heavy-handed. Every time we see Diana’s dad, the music gets super ominous. It’s just a little bit over the top. Many pilots tend to be this way, though, because they have to set up so many things. I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because I do see some potential here. If it weren’t in such a crowded timeslot (against Person of Interest, The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, and Bones), it would most likely be on my fall schedule.

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