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The Secret Circle
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2011

Format: TV
By:   Andrew Miller (creator)
Genre:   Supernatural teen drama
Review Date:   September 30, 2011
RevSF Rating:   5/10 (What Is This?)

"I did your binding ritual to get our powers under control so no one else would get hurt. That doesn't mean we all need to be friends." -- Cassie

Secret Circle is a teen soap where everyone is secretly a witch. Everyone knows they can do witch stuff, but no one knows they are doing witch stuff.

The story revolves around witches in a small town. When the teen witches were witch babies, something evilly magical happened. One good witch left town and raised a kid in safety. But that kid, Cassie's mom is whacked by a bad witch, so Cassie gets sucked into their drama.

Oh, lordy. The drama.

This show got the deluxe CW package. Pop songs play constantly. Someone storms away. Someone gazes longingly. Someone sees something no one else sees them see. The teens hang out in a bar. (It's owned by one of the parents, so he must be the coolest dad ever.)

Good guy Adam is Thomas Dekker, who was John Connor on Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles.. The other four are Adam's good-girl girlfriend, a douchebag, the girl who does the nasty with the douchebag, and the bad girl who wants to use her witch powers for meanness.

There is not a joke or a smarty pants comment to be found. This is serious! Cassie and Adam talk 90210-style. When he introduces his girlfriend, Cassie asks, "How long have you been together?" And he says, "Three years," as if ground down by the weight of the world.

Cassie's grandma and Adam's father are the only good people in town. Every other parent is evil. I would say OMG spoilers!, but we find all that out in the first episode.

Adam falls for Cassie the moment she appears. Adam helps Cassie do magic for the first time, and they make dew in the forest sparkle. Sigh.

Is it cheating if you make a girl do magic for the first time, while your girlfriend is running right behind you in the forest?

I'm pleasantly surprised to see Natasha Henstridge from Species. She plays the principal, the mean girl's mother, and the leader of the evil parents. She's regal in her evilness, and is a foot taller than every other adult.

In episode 1, mean girl Faye's hair is in a severe bun, and she's so mean, you guys, seriously. In episode 2, her hair is down to her shoulders and she apologizes. I assume in every episode she'll do something evil, then feel bad. So, tying your hair back makes you evil.

There are no demons or even unattractive humans. The supernatural is just making things move and causing rain. The most magical thing is an out of control thunderstorm. No one has explained why the kids shouldn't use magic. And the evil adults want magic, but they don't say why. They must want it to rain more.

The kids gather at a ramshackle house in the woods to do their secret witch business. That is gross. Think of the splinters. The damp musty smell. The racoons.

The show may be compared to Vampire Diaries, which also airs on the CW and is also about teens and the supernatural. But Secret Circle is more about the teen drama than the supernatural. The show would be the same if the secret was they could all play the accordion.

Also, the teens on Secret Circle don't look like they're 35. 25, sure. But not 35.

This is a teen soap on the CW, so it'll last until all the teens look 45 instead of 25. I assume we'll find out more secrets, and more people will gaze longingly. But if the evil-parent secret comes out, and they fight the kids, then the show's over. There's no return to status quo once the parents cast Magic Missile.

Watch The Secret Circle for free at the show site.

From left to right: The douchebag, the good girl, star of the show Cassie, bad girl Faye, good guy Adam, and the girl who does the nasty with the douchebag.

RevolutionSF's Joe Crowe always thinks of the racoons.

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