'The Secret Circle': Five reasons to love Kevin Williamson's new show


Image Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/CBS

Tonight, the CW follows the season 3 premiere of The Vampire Diaries with the series debut of The Secret Circle (9 p.m. ET), another twisty tale from TVD exec producer Kevin Williamson and Andrew Miller. The set-up: Newly orphaned Cassie (Britt Robertson) moves in with her grandmother in Chance Harbor, Wash., and learns that she’s a teen witch whose arrival in town completes a circle with five classmates. They’ll have to bind their heightened powers to control them and uncover what happened to their parents 16 years ago — when many of them, also witches, died — so they can protect themselves if it happens again. Here are five reasons we’re already loving The Secret Circle:

• The pace: There will be an open-and-shut problem of the week, but as with Vampire Diaries, there’s an overarching mythology that will unfold over the course of the season. It may not have the breakneck speed of TVD‘s second season, but it will have the satisfying flow of TVD‘s first season, Williamson says. “You can blame 24 for that,” he adds. “I watched every episode of 24 at least 2 times because I was in love with that show and Jack Bauer, and for some reason, that pace just stuck with me and this is my interpretation of that. While it’s no 24, it certainly has a rhythm that I hope is fun to watch.” 

• Vampire violence means blood, but witches can be more creative: “We’re using the elements, but we’re trying to use them in a very dangerous way so you can see how the spell interacts with the elements around them and how they can create violent situations,” Williamson says. “These witches will pray on your weaknesses. They’ll find out what’s the easiest way to get at you, and they will do it. They’ll use your fears, your physical limitations. They’ll use anything they can to attack you and also cover their tracks. It’s really kind of eerie. We’re creating a very sort of devilish view of witchcraft. But we also have the aspirational wish-fulfillment aspect of it as well, which is what the kids ultimately want to do. They bind the circle, because who wouldn’t want to have superpowers, and then, of course, it gets dangerous.”

• There is romance: Cassie learns she and circle member Adam (Thomas Dekker) are “written in the stars.” Though both Robertson and Williamson are quick to say that may not mean what we think it means, there’s no denying there’s something brewing between Cassie and Adam. The complication: Adam already has a girlfriend in the circle, Diana (Shelley Hennig), and she genuinely wants to be Cassie’s friend. We expect that triangle to be on a low simmer for a while because Williamson knows the situation will only be made more tragic if Diana and Cassie do become friends. And then there’s this: “I believe in longing and yearning, and I feel like that will always trump sex for me, but I do believe that people in this day and age have hot sex. I don’t have a formula for it,” Williamson laughs. “At the end of the day, I just know that I still yearn for things to the point where it hurts, and if you can tap into that side of the characters and then pay it off with some good sex, there you go. You got a smile on my face. I’ll keep watching. That’s what I want to see in a show, and that’s what Julie [Plec] and I are all about on The Vampire Diaries. And that’s sorta what we’re building here between Adam and Cassie. It’s a really nice romance, and it’s gonna take a lot of twist and turns. We’ve got a whole season arc for it. It’s gonna be fun.”

• The parents (Queer as Folk‘s Gale Harold and Natasha Henstridge) aren’t your usual CW parents: As we quickly see in the premiere, two of the circle members have parents that have a mysterious, deadly serious agenda of their own. ”This is how I want to see this man,” Williamson says of Harold. ”I want to see him be devilish and delicious again. All the writers are very excited about the possibilities of what they can do with him. Everyone in the writers room was like, ‘Remember Queer as Folk when he did this, and when he did that?’ We’re gonna try to revisit his bad side, but at the time same time make it a complicated character so that we have a reason to love watching him. The same with Natasha Henstridge’s character. When she got the second episode script, she called us up and was like, ‘Okay, I had no idea that this was my character.’ I think she thought she was going to be the mom on a CW show. She didn’t truly understand the extent of what she really is to the show. I’m like, ‘No, you and Gale Harold, don’t you worry. As much as it’s about this circle of young teenagers, it’s all about you guys.’ The most fascinating thing is understanding what makes them tick, why they’re up to what they’re doing, their moral compass and how it’s askew, and how they very much love their children but at the same time have an agenda and it gets a little bloody.”

• But those teens will be fun, too: We’ve already covered Cassie, Adam, and Diana. There’s also bad girl Faye (Phoebe Tonkin), who Williamson describes as “a force to be reckoned with. You’ll love to hate her, and you can’t wait to see what she does next,” he says. “There’s good witches and bad witches. It’s sort of that epic story of battling the good and bad inside of you.” There’s Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Faye’s best friend. “Melissa is the sidekick, and she’s a little tired of it, so we’ll watch her through the course of the season rise up and be an individual,” he says. “She doesn’t really need Faye as much as Faye seems to need her.” And there’s Nick (Louis Hunter), Cassie’s brooding neighbor. “We dive into his character the first two episodes,” Williamson says. “His back story is he’s actually the only one who lost both parents [16 years ago]. So he’s completely orphaned, very much like Cassie now.”

Williamson was drawn to the idea of six people who wouldn’t normally be friends being forced together. “It’s one of those shows where you just don’t know: maybe the person you don’t trust is the person you should be trusting. And so it will be fun to watch how they fraction off and how the unlikely friendships continue to evolve,” he says. “When it comes time to use their power at full force against someone who may be trying to kill them, they’re gonna have to find a way to come together. That’s what the circle is about.”

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Comments (17 total) Add your comment
  • askew37

    I’ll give it a try, but I’m already a little apprehensive about how much they’ve butchered the books. I think it would have been more interesting with the full circle of 12.

    • Allie

      Well they changed a lot of stuff in the Vampire Diaries from the books too-they’re practically different stories-and that worked out well. Doubt you should worry too much

      • AT

        I’m okay with changes from book to screen, but I just think VD’s were okay. It hasn’t really reached it’s full potential. I did watch the new pilot of “The Secret Circle.” It’s quite good. ThoughI think it would have been better with 12. All members wouldn’t have to be main characters, but it would have been more intimidating to the audience. That’s one of my main criticisms of the series…I just don’t believe that 6 equals to a circle. And why Melissa? They should have kept in Deborah or Susan. They were so much more interesting and dynamic. I get changes, but make them good ones that make sense.

        As for Kevin Williamson’s opinions about sex… He seems to view teen sex very casually. I find that to be problematic. Not to mention that that was the whole problem with Stefan and Elena. They got together too quickly. There was no real build up and then suddenly they were sleeping together as if she was already very sexually experienced. I didn’t like it.

        Personally, I think it’s best to keep obstacles in place because it makes it more interesting. Look at Moonlight, Roswell, etc…Putting people together too quickly is almost always a mistake.

  • gypzyjedi

    I just worry if there is any TV situation worthy of Gale Harold. QAF is a hard act to follow.

    • Nicole

      I saw the pilot and he is a seriously evil badass who also gets to be completely charming and sleazy. I mean, there won’t be another QAF, but I was really digging his character on this show. Put it this way: I watched Hellcats when he was on and was so embarrased for him. I didn’t feel that at all watching TSC.

      • Lisa London

        Could not agree more.

  • Mesh

    I’ve just start to read the book, although granted on how ‘cheesy’ the story can be, the book is much better than the first episode! Agreed on the 12 members thing, I personally like Kori and the twins brother, and what’s up with killing Cassie’s mom in the first episode? Who’s the principal? I haven’t finish the book so I might be out of loop here. Anyways, will give it few more chance and decide.

  • verybookish

    Glad the Secret Circle writers are aware of Gale Harold’s work on Queer as Folk and know what incredible depth and range of emotion he can convey. I can’t wait to see what they do with him.

  • Erin

    Already seen the pilot and really liked it – I found it better than the Vampire Diaries Pilot. And like Vampire Diaries I expect it to get better and better. Both shows will pair well together.

  • Ace

    I’ll be checking this out just for Britt (she’s so hot.) I liked her in Life Unexpected so hopefully she’ll be good in this too.

  • Daya

    I wanted to watch the pilot, just to see what it was like before I completely dissed it, but I decided against it. I agree with everyone who says they butchered the books…the next thing we know, they’ll be cutting Black John!

    And by the way? Phoebe Tonkin doesn’t look the LEAST bit scary. She looks like some goth who is PRETENDING to be Faye!

  • JB

    Haven’t read the books, but with Williamson writing this it should get better and better like TVD. Already intrigued after seeing the first episode.

  • MWeyer

    Keep in mind, Vampire Diaries has a so-so start before becoming absolutely awesome so give this a try for a bit.

  • Carrie

    My only complaint with the pilot is the amount of commercial breaks that it had. It seemed like there were more then usual, so it sort of cut into the flow of the show for me.

    I actually didn’t mind the pilot, though. I also don’t mind that it’s not following the books. I think having a full circle of 12 would have been too overwhelming and it would have been hard for the audience to keep up. I agree with the character of Melissa, though. It should have been Deborah or Susan. Hopefully we’re going to see more of her and Nick, because, at this point, they just seem like background characters.

  • Brian/JustinFAN

    Theres only one reason to watch TSC. GALE HAROLD IS ON IT! This show is the same recycled crap the CW keeps throwing out there.

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  • tresorparis

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