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The Secret Circle: Pilot

“Destiny’s not easy to run from.”

After the surprising transformation of The Vampire Diaries into an epic fantasy that rivals even the greatest shows in its genre, my expectations for Kevin Williamson’s new baby series were high. All of the lessons had been learned, so we could skip all the boring stuff and get straight down to business. Unlike The Vampire Diaries’ pilot, which left a lot to be desired, this felt like it belonged in a different league. It introduced us to a diverse group of characters, opened up an intriguing world of magic and mystery and left me with an impressive amount of excitement for the story’s continuation. Some people found it difficult to get into this series, especially at first, but I was drawn in almost instantly, despite its predictability.

When it comes to pilot episodes they’re almost always flawed. They’re either overly ambitious, creating something messy and indiscernible, or they’re far too slow, with not enough excitement to hold viewers’ attention. I think we’d all prefer to forget the lackluster, trend chasing tripe that was The Vampire Diaries first offering but thankfully, this is one hell of a kick-off point. Like its sister series, The Secret Circle isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, it is what it is; a teen drama with a supernatural twist. It’s also got a small town mystery edge not unlike Kevin Williamson’s other creation. There’s a major The Craft vibe about it too, which is certainly not a bad thing.

In the premiere we got to meet some great new faces, including Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson), our leading lady who exhibits equal amounts of likability and appeal. Unlike Elena, who spent almost 7 episodes running around Mystic Falls like a brain dead ninnie before she realized what was going on, Cassie figured something was up almost instantly; I mean it was one wacky town she had moved to. Although personally, I would be ecstatic to learn I had some serious magical gifts (I know some school bullies who would find themselves with some rather unwanted facial abrasions). Britt Robertson proved that she’s not just a one trick pony; if you came along to see Lux 2, you’d have been disappointed.

We met all the other beautiful teens too. Adam (Thomas Dekker - who I am seriously in love with), the trademark love interest; Diana: the popular, but friendly “leader” of sorts; Faye: the cocky, mean girl: Melissa: Faye’s sidekick; and Nick: the hot but slightly stalkery next door neighbor. Each of them seem to bring something very different to the table, and some are more interesting than others, but I’m most excited to see what happens with loose cannon Faye, played to perfection by Aussie newcomer Phoebe Tonkin. As for the titular love triangle, it’s a little "been there done that" but the magic ends up bringing a whole other element to it, which so far I like.

There seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding the previous circle and the events leading up to their parents’ deaths 16 years ago. Although this episode gave us a few vague tid-bits and teased us enough to want more, I do hope that we find out the truth sooner, rather than later. Charles Meade’s disturbing murder at the start of the episode cemented him as an evil force to be reckoned with. Normally it’s the teen stuff you’d want to see over the parents’ shenanigans, but here I’m equally invested in both right now, especially considering how intertwined all of their actions are.

Unlike The Vampire Diaries whose brooding atmosphere is reflected with shadows and darkness, this show is bouncing with color (see the forest scene with the floating raindrops) and instantly feels like a much different series with a starkly contrasting personality. Each type has its pros and cons, I just think that if they wanted to make The Secret Circle stand out as a show in its own right, at least visually, they’ve done their job.

As far as first episodes are concerned, this is up there with the best. There’s still more room for it to seek out a more definitive identity, with both its stories and its characters, but it’s a wonderful step-off point.


- This is definitely a younger show, and not just in terms of episode count. It seems to target a slightly younger demographic than The Vampire Diaries. Plus, it’s nice that a teen show actually has some teen characters; they seem like they’re actually 16, not 25.

- How creepy was that opening scene? Seeing Amelia burning while Charles watched on gave me goose bumps.

- I’m not familiar with the books, but I’m pretty sure Cassie’s Mom doesn’t die, am I right?

- While I’m on the topic of the books, the circle was changed from 12 members to 6, probably for easy casting. It would have made the series overcrowded and confusing, but I’d be curious to see what it would be like.

- I’m glad they skipped the initial mourning stage with Cassie dealing with her mother’s “accidental” death and got on with it. I enjoy seeing a series tackle a characters loss, but this episode just got straight to the good stuff, and we didn’t know Cassie well enough for us to understand her pain anyway.

- It’s pretty depressing that Ashley Crow is playing a grandma now. Wouldn’t it be cool to see Hayden pay a visit as Cassie’s older cousin, or something? Though judging by these rules, she’ll probably have to play… a cool aunt?

- Book of Shadows = Charmed flashback

- That theme music is incredibly eerie and captivating. I’m curious to see whether or not it will have any significance story wise, or not.

- Amelia’s letter to Cassie is this, in case you were wondering, or you don’t own a TiVo:
My Sweet Cassie,
You finding this means I’m gone and for that I am so sorry. I didn’t want you to have this life. I didn’t want it for myself either, but destiny’s not easy to run from. I hoped that keeping this secret would keep you safe, but all I’ve done is left you unprotected.
You have incredible power inside you. People will come for it. They will come for you.
I have no idea of the world you’re going to encounter. But find your strength. And believe in yourself as I believe in you. Who you are is your greatest protection.
I will love you always,
Your mom
She couldn’t have given her a little more to go on than that?!

- Who’s cooler: Damon or Faye?

He Said, She Said

Faye: “Oh for God’s sake spit it out. You’re a witch. A full blooded, 100% witch. We all are. There, done."

Faye: “So you’re the new girl?”
Cassie: “Ah, yeah, that’s me.”
Faye: “You’re very pretty.”
I laughed out loud at this.

Cassie: “There’s no such thing as witches and magic. I don’t believe it. I can’t.”

Diana: “We’re different. You’re different.”

Cassie: “Why did my Mom leave here? You said you loved her. What happened?”
Ethan: “Your father happened.”

Diana: “You can’t make it rain, just ‘cause you want to!”
Faye: “Yes we can, we can do anything we want!”
Seems Faye is a little trigger happy with this whole witch thing. Is there a possibility for a Willow style overdose in the future?

Dawn: “You did the right thing bringing her here, she’s got the gift.”
Charles: “She’s her father’s daughter.”
Dawn: “…Unfortunately she’s her mother’s daughter, too.”
This exchange got me thinking about what side they could truly be on. Amelia didn’t seem like the evil type, and she just wanted her daughter to be safe. I wonder what their agenda could be.

Four out of four floating raindrops.

Previously posted at PandaTV.

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