It’s officially fall, my favorite time of the year! I’ve talked about how fall is just a state of mind in my fall movie recommendations, so it feels right to continue the trend with this week’s Gone Too Soon. This week it’s the witchy, one season CW show, The Secret Circle.
Surprisingly, I haven’t covered many CW shows, just No Tomorrow and iZombie, and both of those technically have endings, whether they are abrupt or an epilogue. In recent years, the CW has been more lenient about allowing shows to continue after their first season, sure they still cancel shows after a season, Katy Keene is a recent example. Back in 2011 however, they were cancelling shows left and right: Hellcats, Life Unexpected, and Ringer were all cancelled around that time.
The Secret Circle had a few problems, but it had a lot of potential and deserved a second season. The show had a great cast and interesting premise. It at least deserved a second season, although if it had gotten another season would Hayley ever show up on The Vampire Diaries, or Malia on Teen Wolf? Let’s get into it.
After the death of her mother, Cassie (Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland) moves to a new town to live with her grandmother, a town that her mom left 16 years earlier. Once there, she finds out that she’s a witch and belongs to a circle of witches that are her age. The circle, Diana (Shelley Henning, Teen Wolf), Adam (Thomas Dekker, A Nightmare on Elm Street) Faye (Phoebe Tonkin, The Originals), Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy, The Flash), Nick (Louis Hunter, The Fosters), and later Jake (Chris Zylka, The Amazing Spider-Man), must face witch hunters and the supernatural, all while keeping their powers a secret from their families.
A boat fire killed at least one parent of each member of the circle -Nick and Jake lost both. The remaining parents on this show are just terrible, but they do have their own storylines and their own witchcraft to manage. Diana’s dad, Charles (Gale Harold, Queer as Folk) and Faye’s mom Dawn (Natasha Henstridge, Species) are responsible for bringing Cassie back to Chance Harbor. They’re also selfish people who should be paying more attention to what is going on with their children and less time worried about getting their magic back.
As a side note, I kinda love how basically all the high school versions of the parents are Hallmark movie alumni, like Andrea Brooks. I can’t believe that Cindy Busby and Marcus Rosner had never done a Hallmark movie together.
Should You Watch It
Here’s the deal, The Secret Circle is flawed. The section after this is going to be my thoughts on the show and it’s issues -it will be filled with spoilers- but I wouldn’t be covering it for Gone Too Soon if I didn’t think it deserved another chance.
If you are a fan of The Vampire Diaries or Teen Wolf, you will like this show. It’s a supernatural teen drama, and if you like others then you will like this show. The Secret Circle is worth checking out, if only to see actors that you recognize from a plethora of other places. It’s only 22 episodes, so it’s a great palette cleanser before you jump into another series with several seasons.
I’m conflicted about The Secret Circle, I absolutely believe it should have gotten another season, but I also completely understand how it didn’t get renewed. The show has problems, but they aren’t unfixable problems. Plot lines will lie mostly dormant for several episodes at a time -the downfall of a 22 episode season- before they are truly picked up again. The relationships need more development and the characters have made several head-scratching choices.
Cassie spends an inordinate amount of time making the worst possible decisions. At one point she decides to spend the night in her home alone, even after she knows that witch hunters have marked her house. There’s a difference between independence and stupidity. It wouldn’t be weak for her to stay somewhere else or have someone stay with her. People offer! She was staying with Diana and left her house in this episode.
The ages of everyone are just plain confusing. Everyone in the circle is 16, and their parents had them while they were in high school. Which isn’t too strange until you factor in that they say that they are married. On top of that, Jake’s parents had Nick in high school as well, two years before they had Jake. I don’t think that any of the ages line up unless they were all married in high school when they were spelled to become pregnant. There’s just a lot of questions, but the show is still enjoyable despite that.
There’s so much to unpack with shipping on this show that I don’t even know where to begin. There are only 22 episodes and somehow there are eight ships –eight– that involve different combinations of the same characters. I don’t even have a preference. Most of the relationships move so fast you don’t even have time to get attached before something happens to break them up. The Secret Circle has ships for everyone and if you don’t like a couple just wait a few episodes. You’re sure to find a couple that you like more.
The ending of The Secret Circle is a bit frustrating. There are still a lot of questions that the first season failed to answer, things that should have been addressed. They very clearly set up the central conflict for season two and I wish I knew what would happen next. If you want a wrapped up ending then you’ll be disappointed. If you don’t mind being left with a lot of questions, check out this show.
Where to Watch
Great news! If The Secret Circle seems like a show you would like, all the episodes are free to stream on CW Seed. While you’re there, be sure to read the episode descriptions. They don’t actually offer any information about the episodes, but they are entertaining.
If you want more spooky movies get in the mood for Halloween, here’s a list of horror classics and one for non-scary Halloween movies. For more shows Gone Too Soon, you can check out my column. Including Spinning Out, Timeless, The Baker and the Beauty, Hannibal, and Galavant.