Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor

Ah, the roller coaster life of a teenager. One minute your spirits are up, not a care in the world, driving on a bridge, humming to the radio; the next minute you’re trapped inside a burning car and your high school frenemies are calling you a witch. To your face.

So begins the CW fantasy The Secret Circle by the creators of The Vampire Diaries, a team that includes executive producer Kevin Williamson who developed Dawson’s Creek, the teen drama that put The WB Television Network on the map back in 1998.

Late one evening, unassuming Cassie Blake (Brittany Robertson) drives her car along the highway and blows out a tire. Meanwhile, back in the family kitchen, her mom Amelia’s house “catches” on fire. Cassie moves to Chance Harbor, Washington to live with her grandmother, Jane (Ashley Crow).

When Cassie starts classes at her new high school, strange things happen she can only describe as “beyond crazy.” Cars burst into flames. Closed curtains open. Opened doors lock. Cassie begins to understand why her mother left town and never went back.

To top it all off, she develops a crush on a boy, Adam (Thomas Dekker) who is dating her friend, Diane (Shelley Hennig). The resident bad girl, Faye (Phoebe Jane Tonkin) gets in her face in an abandoned house in the woods and pointedly tells her, “You’re a full-blooded, 100% witch.” This is quite a compliment in Chance Harbor.

In order for the alleged “Secret Circle” to have any real power, a complete circle of six from certain families is necessary. Cassie’s arrival in town completes the circle. According to her, “There’s no such thing as witches and magic.” However, during an “accident” in the town fifteen years prior, members of the former circle, some of the teenagers’ own parents, died. Was it a result of witchcraft gone wrong?

The surviving parents are keeping secrets and threatening each other’s lives. Some want to stop a new circle from practicing. Some hope to harness its power for an undetermined agenda. Which will prevail? Good or evil?

The Secret Circle cast

The Secret Circle cast

TV To Talk About

I saw a clip from The Secret Circle back in May and immediately thought, “I’ve seen this before. It’s an updated version of The WB’s Charmed.” Yuck.

I didn’t watch Charmed. I don’t like magic. I don’t believe in witchcraft. I’m not a fan of sci-fi or special effects. In short, I wasn’t eager to watch the entire pilot of The Secret Circle.

Imagine my shock when I actually enjoyed it. While I was watching, my DVD copy cut off at the end, and I was already jonesin’ for another episode.

Wow, the music. What a cool, fresh, hip soundtrack. What I liked even more was that the series comprises an ensemble cast. Yes, Brittany Robertson garners the most attention in the pilot, but she doesn’t steal the spotlight from the other actors or the writing.

Watch for a sweet, innocent scene between Cassie and Adam in the lush, green forest. “A drop of water as light as air.” Maybe there will be bolder special effects in the upcoming season, but this was subtle and magical.

Secret Circle

Thomas Dekker as Adam and Brittany Robertson as Cassie in The Secret Circle

The writers seem to be developing an interesting dynamic between Faye and the rest of the circle. She’s a rebel: inherent drama potential. There should also be conflict to explore among the six families since they have a rich history in the small town. Dr. Phil can have them all on his show to dissect their dysfunctional relationships.

Is a love triangle, or perhaps quadrangle, brewing with Cassie, Adam, Diane, and Nick? We didn’t see much of cutie neighbor Nick (Louis Hunter) in the pilot, but I have a feeling his character is going to explode sooner rather than later. What role will he play? Stay tuned to find out.

Good job, CW. Keep the mysterious story lines coming.

The Secret Circle airs Thursdays from 9:00pm-10:00pm on CW50.

>> More Motor City Musing With Vicki Briganti


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