The Secret Circle is based on the trilogy written by The Vampire Diaries author, L.J. Smith. Volume 1 is titled The Initiation; volume 2, The Captive; volume 3, The Power. I read volume 1 and I have to be honest, I really didn’t like it at all. I found it very frustrating to read and I really didn’t like Cassie, the main character. So when I heard they were making it into a television series, I had my doubts. Then I heard that Kevin Williamson was heading up the project and I paid attention. The pilot of “The Secret Circle” was shown during preview night at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and while I can’t say I was riveted, I am willing to give this the same opportunity as I gave “The Vampire Diaries”.
Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) moves to Chance Harbor after the horrifying death of her mother, Amelia, in a fire that was classified as accidental. We know from the opening scenes that the fire was anything but an accident. They even show us the killer. Orphaned, Cassie goes to live with her grandmother, who gives her Amelia’s bedroom. It’s a strange room, with curtains that open by themselves, stars that move painted on the ceiling and a secret compartment in the wall, which hides an old book of spells and a letter to Cassie from her mother. The letter contains a warning of the “incredible power” inside Cassie and people want it – and her.
Cassie’s first day at her new school has oddities of its own. The new girls that she meets seem to have been expecting her arrival and acting on their invitation, she meets them after school at the local bar and grill. Faye and Melissa know something about Cassie but all they do is drop annoying hints that do nothing but send Cassie off, thinking that they’re crazy. Faye and Melissa realize that Cassie may not be aware of what she is, so Faye sets Cassie’s car on fire, locking her inside as well. As Cassie begins to panic, Faye stands watching and murmuring, “Come on Cassie, put it out.” Adam comes to the rescue and puts out the fire using his power and frees Cassie from the car. Diana runs up and makes sure Cassie is alright, directing Adam, who is her boyfriend, to take Cassie home.
Of course, Faye, Melissa, Diana, Adam and next door neighbor (and peeping Tom), Nick, are all witches who make up the Secret Circle. ‘Secret’ because they can never tell their parents what they’ve been up to. The Circle is one short of being complete, though, and Cassie is to be the sixth member. With a complete circle, their power is increased but the teens don’t know how to control it. Faye demonstrates this by calling down a fierce thunder storm that gets out of control until Cassie walks up and calms the storm. Faye is a dangerous loose cannon.
Cassie and the others are descendants of a long line of witches dating back to the town’s beginning. While the teens in the group embrace and welcome what they are, Cassie does not. And though the kids all think that their families don’t know that they are practicing, we come to see that the parents do know. In fact, Faye’s mother and Diana’s father are surreptitiously nudging the Circle to become more powerful but we don’t yet know why. We do know that Diana’s father, Charlie, is the man who started the fire that killed Amelia. Clearly, these two have an evil agenda and the Secret Circle is the tool.
It’s clear there is a spark between Adam and Cassie. He almost kisses her during a moment alone in the woods, when Cassie, freaked out after the Circle tell her that she’s a witch, runs off. Adam runs after her and demonstrates her power, with a little help from his own. Drama will happen, because Diana has befriended Cassie and neither Cassie nor Adam want to hurt her. I’m not really sure I care about the teen angst that will come from this, but then again, I’m not a teen.
I think “The Secret Circle” is worth the look-see. I like Britt Robertson (Life Unexpected) and Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and of course Kevin Williamson. I hope he can do for this series what he’s done for “The Vampire Diaries”. I’ll look forward to seeing how he develops the characters and hope that his Cassie will be made of much stronger stuff than the book ‘Cassie’. (Honestly, I ended up throwing that book against the wall in anger.)
The Secret Circle premieres September 15, at 9/8c, on the CW.