|written by Andrew Miller (based on the novel by L.J Smith); directed by Liz Friedlander|
starring Britt Robertson, Thomas Dekker, Gale Harold, Shelley Henning & Phoebe Tonkin
Twilight and True Blood. The Vampire Diaries has been a big hit for The CW these past few years, so they're hoping to catch lightning twice by adapting Smith's lesser-known witch saga The Secret Circle as a companion piece. The pilot of which was competent but ineffectual, with wishy-washy characters and a concept that just didn't leap off the screen for me. Magic and witches are fun concepts to play with, but The Secret Circle doesn't offer anything that feels fresh or deserving of particular attention.
Heroes' Ashley Crow). Very quickly she discovers that five of her new school friends have magical abilities, and are excited Cassie's moved to her mother's hometown because it means they can combine their powers (as progeny of the six bewitched local dynasties), and perform feats a little more impressive than levitating forest dew, starting small fires, or making it rain.
The Secret Circle doesn't have much to set it apart, beyond how so many of the characters are accepting of magic. Indeed, it seems the parents of the five children are attempting to keep a lid on these powers, and are rather fearful their kids may be "practicing". There could definitely be a fun little mystery for Cassie to explore, regarding the town's history, each family, her mother's past, and exactly why some people are so afraid (or glad) her friends have completed their "circle". It probably also helps that The Secret Circle has a trilogy of books to pull from, so three seasons of readymade structure and ideas are there to be dramatized and improved.
As with all pilots, it's too early to write-off the series, I just know it's probably not going to be for me—or any other men in their thirties—and it's really not designed to be. If you're 14-years-old, with less than a decade's memory of TV drama, The Secret Circle probably feels new, exciting, cool, unpredictable, and interesting. I just wish it was more remarkable to anyone who's seen this kind of thing many, many times before, and felt slightly more dangerous and creepy.
15 September 2011 / The CW