The Secret Circle: Is the New CW TV Series Worth Watching?

Secret Circle tv seriesThe Vampire Diaries is The CW’s biggest TV series so it makes sense that they’re trying to duplicate that success. What better way to do it than to produce another show that’s based on a series of books from author L.J. Smith.

The Secret Circle revolves around a normal teenager named Cassie (Britt Robertson) who loses her mother in a tragic fire. Cassie moves to a beautiful small town in Washington to live with her grandmother (Ashley Crow). At high school, she connects with a number of classmates; sweet-natured Diana Meade (Shelly Hennig) and her handsome boyfriend, Adam Conant (Thomas Dekker); brooding loner Nick (Louis Hunter); mean-girl Faye Chamberlain (Phoebe Tonkin) and her sidekick, Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy). Soon, strange and frightening things begin to happen and Cassie learns that she and her friends have incredible powers. Unsurprisingly, there’s some darker powers at play as well.

The critics have mixed views on the series but overall seem to agree that it accomplishes what it sets out to be: a good companion piece to Vampire Diaries.

NY Times: The Secret Circle sticks “closely to CW formulas, with the result that a lot of what we see and hear in the first episode feels like outtakes. Pretty young characters in a picturesque location (British Columbia standing in for Washington State), coming of age to a pop soundtrack; dead or vanished parents; latent paranormal abilities; local hangout; small-town secrets — it’s the entire supernatural teenage soap opera template, but the execution is rushed and chintzy, without the languorous gloss that makes The Vampire Diaries worthwhile.”

LA Times: The air “of familiarity notwithstanding, the pilot is splendidly rendered; effective in the expected ways in a way that makes you forget you expected them. Director Liz Friedlander aims not just for creepiness but for a tremulous sense of beauty that reflects the heightened sensibilities and hair-trigger sensitivities of adolescence. There is a very pretty sequence involving floating drops of dew that suggests a metaphor for magic as sex, and the pilot generally licks its lips over the moody light and low northern skies that spell “Made in Canada.” (The series moves the action from the books’ original location, Salem, Mass., to a fictional harbor town in Washington state — Twilight territory, possibly not incidentally.)

Similarly, it’s been cast with actors who, it goes without saying, are good to look at, but who also bring a little soul to their roles. As in all such romances, much of the matter is conveyed in their meaningful looks, and in looks away. As Cassie, the suddenly orphaned new girl in town, Robertson (Life Unexpected) has something of the lost-blond quality that Sarah Michelle Gellar brought to Buffy a generation of slayers ago. Force-for-chaos Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) describes Cassie as the ‘sad, delicate’ sort, and is herself described in turn, by force-for-order Diana (Shelley Hennig), as the “resident bad girl” — these types are so well established that even the characters know it.”

NY Daily News: “The basic question of who killed Cassie’s mother and why seems as if it could be efficiently resolved in 100 minutes, which suggests the real mission of Secret Circle is to spin itself into the kind of teen soap opera that scores well not just here, but on MTV and ABC Family.”

“Since teens seem amenable to the supernatural in their soaps, that’s not a bad plan, and the core cast here is varied and attractive. While we don’t get deeply into romance yet, that’s clearly in the cards as weeks go by. The Secret Circle isn’t stunning out of the gate. It does seem to understand what it wants and needs to be.”

Salt Lake Tribune: “For programmers at The CW, adding The Secret Circle to its schedule must have been a no-brainer.”…

The Secret Circle is OK, as supernatural teen dramas go. But nothing to get particularly excited about. The CW is hoping that the vampire fans who tune in at 7 p.m. will stick around to watch the witches at 8 p.m. But two hours of this stuff seems like at least an hour too much.”

What do you think? Will you give The Secret Circle a try? Do you think it will be a success or be quickly cancelled?

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10 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Rainnie says

    This is my favorite show, no show can compete with a book. Though the show might not be for most, if you are a teenager this show fits into more than just witches. Cancelling this show would be horrible, in the fact that this show hasnt been on very long and the advertising of the show is bad on the cw’s part. if it got closely half to as much advertisment as the vampire diares, The Secret Circle would get more viewers and then stay longer. So in that affect the CW cant expect a show to do well if it dosent premote it like others. Keep The Show ON!

  2. Samara says

    I have to agree with Colin – I loved “Hellcats” and thought it was well worth keeping – especially having now seen “The Secret Circle”! It was extremely boring, considering that magic and witches are usually very entertaining! If I were bored to death, I might watch it, but I most certainly won’t cry if I miss an episode or ten! The series “Eastwick”, based on the movie, was way better, and it still got cancelled – I don’t see this faring much better!

  3. TexasBelle says

    The first episode of VD started off a little cheesey but it really got better. So yes, I will watch to see where they will go. Never read the books as I did with the VD!

  4. Bethany says

    I only watched the one episode, but so far I have liked it. Of course, that usually means that of course they are going to cancel it, because that is what they do. When they get a good show, they dump it like an old potato, but just cling to the terrible ones that make us not even bother watching the network until the new season begins, and then only until they cancel all of their good shows for the year. LOL

  5. Kittin says

    I am so disappointed by the first show “Pilot” that aired tonight. After reading the books 12+ years ago and hearing about the TV show, I was excited and read the books again. Watching the first episode was like watching gossip girl with some of the names from the books and a very few similarities from the novels from which the show is based. I expected them to divert from the material, much like the Vampire Diaries did from its series of books, but not so much that at least 3 MAIN characters are missing, the location is on the opposite coast, there is very little having to do with the school and how the “circle” is treated, the general looks, the idea of their street being just them, and Faye using water more than her element of fire. It just really annoys me that they call it the same title as the books. A couple names and using magic does not mean you can say its based on the novels. I give this series a solid D, it may have gotten a higher score had it actually been something that claimed to be original, but I don’t know, I can’t get past the disconnect enough to have a unbiased opinion.

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