TV Review: The Secret Circle (The CW)

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Can L.J. Smith build on the success of The Vampire Diaries and bring another winner to the CW? Yes, it is the only possible answer as the writing, casting and production team seemed determined not to have a sophomore slump.
Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson ) is a young girl whose life changes drastically when her mother dies in a house fire. She has to move to a new town where her grandmother, Jane Blake (Ashley Crow ) lives and where her mother's past was left behind many years ago. Her grandmother clearly wants her daughter's past not only kept a secret but does not want to lose her granddaughter to the same influences.
Cassie knows things are different but just wants to graduate high school, taking life one step at a time. Her new classmates have another plan for her and want to bring her into their fold where they believe she is meant to be.
Her first encounter is with a young boy, Nick Armstrong (Louis Hunter ), next door who she sees peering at her from his room. She then closes the curtains and turns her back while getting ready for bed. When she looks back the curtains are again open but the boy is no longer at his window. As she falls asleep she begins looking at the ceiling covered in stars and the darker the room gets the more each star glows. A pattern begins to appear and change not allowing Cassie to get a handle on what the stars mean or what they are trying to say.

Later, Diane Mead (Shelley Hennig ) walks up to Cassie while she struggles to get her locker open and begins a dialog. They engage each other sweetly, giving way to Cassie's first friendship at her new school. Diane's father, Charles Meade (Gale Harold ), was seen in the first scenes throwing lit matches at Cassie's house where her mom was making dinner.
Faye Chamberlain (Phoebe Tonkin ) never thinks of the repercussions of her actions or has any plan if they go wrong. She wants what she wants when she wants it and lets no one stand in her way. She is the Faith-like character from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but has little connection to the other characters, even her boyfriend, Adam Conant (Thomas Dekker ). Cassie's aura quickly connects to Adam when Faye uses her powers to ignite a fire and force the doors locked on her car, trapping her inside. What Faye really wants is to push Cassie along, bringing light to her powers. Adam comes to her rescue trying to get her out of the car which is now fully engulfed in flames.
Melissa Glaser (Jessica Parker Kennedy ) is looking for her sense of self and finds it hiding behind Faye. She does not have the back bone to do the things Faye does, so she becomes her sidekick, living vicariously through her. She is a follower looking to be accepted and whether she likes Faye or not, she knows it is her only way to get noticed.
Dawn Chamberlain (Natasha Henstridge ) is Faye's mother and the high school principal. Together with Charles Meade, she knows all too well what can happen when the circle of their next generation bond. She is sweet and innocent on the outside but as daughter Faye tells Cassie, "don't let her fool you." Jane comes to Dawn's office at school, making sure that if there is any chance that the group of kids find out what powers they can have together, the elders can divert them in another direction. Dawn says if there were any rumors or gossip going around the school, she would have heard it and assures Jane the kids have no idea.
Dawn and Charles have their own agenda and it does not include keeping the children apart, but bringing them together to realize their full potential.
When the commercials started to prompt the show's premier, there was little to encourage a good show. As a matter of fact, another supernatural/vampire style show was anything the airwaves needed. After the first 15 minutes, the viewers know they are hooked. The story keeps moving, the dialogue is full, and the twists are so subtle that you do not realize you have encountered necessary information until the next commercial break.


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