You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard the hype. Now there’s only one thing you want to know: Which of the new fall shows are worth watching and which should be avoided at all costs? In this continuing series, we give you the scoop on some of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, with today’s focus being the CW’s perfect companion piece to THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, THE SECRET CIRCLE
The Boilerplate: Since these pilot presentations may go through numerous rewrites and casting changes prior to premiere, this by no means should be considered an official review. Rather a preview of what one can expect come Fall.
The Plot: Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers. But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny. What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident.
The First Impression: Was one of pleasant surprise. Which is to say, despite a cast featuring a slew of TV Addict favorites including LIFE UNEXPECTED’s Britt Robertson and TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES’ Thomas Dekker, witches have never quite been our cup of tea. So you can imagine our surprise by just how compelling THE SECRET CIRCLE’s first episode was. Far stronger than THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’ initial offering, the CW’s flawlessly constructed companion piece not only sets up a good versus evil world filled complete with mystery, romance and intrigue, but features a welcome spin on the all-too-typical female protagonist thanks to Robertson’s Cassie Blake — who unlike TVD’s somewhat damsel-in-distress-esque Elena — can more than take care of herself. Also working in THE SECRET CIRCLE’s favor, at least for this TV Addict who is quickly aging himself out of the CW’s core demographic, is that the show features some incredibly exciting adult characters, most notably QUEER AS FOLK’s Gale Harold FTW!, who will surely play a far more integral role in the show than your typical CW parent (See: 90210, GOSSIP GIRL, ONE TREE HILL etc.)
The Concern: Is almost nonexistent. But since we’re here to nitpick all things small screen, we suppose it’s somewhat prudent to ask whether or not anyone is the least bit concerned that short of CHARMED and SABRINA, witches haven’t quite found nearly the success that vampires have had on both the big and small screens (See: ABC’s short-lived EASTWICK, Practical Magic, among others.) But that aside…
The Verdict: Has us all but guaranteeing that THE SECRET CIRLCE will be fall’s big breakout hit where the CW is concerned.
THE SECRET CIRCLE is scheduled to premiere Monday September 15th on the CW