The first six episodes of this new show have been filled with an intriguing array of witchcraft and action. It is based upon the fictional novel series of the same name, created by L. J. Smith.
Set in a quaint, misty Pacific Northwest coastal town, this show is about a group of students involved with everyday high school life. Okay, that sounds like Twilight, but the comparison stops there. In the opening, five young witches, two males and three females, stumble together, learning their craft as they use a family book of spells belonging to one of the girls. They each have lost one or both parents, in some tragedy rumored to have involved witchcraft. The sons and daughters of the deceased learned of their own rare powers by accident and formed an association to support each other. They fear history will repeat and use of witchcraft will take them to the face the fates of their parents. Their only hope is a directive in the book, telling them to bind the circle of six witches in their generation. In that way, they all must be present to cast a spell…kind of a safety in numbers idea in case something goes wrong. The only problem—they are missing one member. The sixth and final member, Cassie Blake, who is the main character, moves to town, forced to live with her grandmother after her mother dies in a fire. In disbelief, she fights her true identity as a witch, but ultimately joins the group and they bind the circle.
Binding the circle enhances their collective strength. This allows both wonderful and dangerous things. In one lovely scene, Cassie and Adam are drawn together by romantic destiny. They hold hands deep in a forest and make water from leaves float upward, like reverse rain. However, power encourages greed and longing from a host of demons, witch hunters, and other witches. The six become targets. Plot twists keep the adolescents scrambling to stay one step ahead, learning how to use their abilities to avert serious dangers.
An interesting interplay of good versus evil is also present. Their remaining parents secretly seek to bolster their faded powers using the children’s collective strength. Their grandparents, the elders, possess crystals which allow yet another magical system of power enhancement. The previous generations fight each other with different goals, using the kids’ or protecting them.
The negative aspects are the mundane high school setting, which lacks realism. Few classes are depicted. Most in-school scenes take place in the hallways. Afterschool, they have a couple hangouts. One is frequented by students in general, and a second is an abandoned house used by the circle for their witchcraft studies. The dress of the young witches is generally darker and pricier than expected, the girls’ makeup too professional. The action primarily happens after dark. Personalities of the six are stereotypical, their social interactions and growth predictable. After teaching high school for seventeen years, I usually tend to stay well away from settings like this. The lack of realism bothers me too much.
However, I can actually forgive this series for its bland high-schoolness because the magical systems hold my attention. The writers have put much thought into details discovered by the young witches. Learning more about how their magic works pulls me eagerly back to the next episode. Each show reveals a new layer, new clues, new puzzle pieces. Wisely, the viewer is allowed to learn along with them. That is the true magic of the show.
The Secret Circle, on the CW channel at 9 PM, will present its extra scary Halloween episode tonight—Masked.
Learn more about the show at this website: http://www.cwtv.com/shows/the-secret-circle