WATCHING: The Secret Circle

1 Dec

Watching: The Secret Circle

Why you should be watching: Clichés

 (Photo Credit)

This freshman drama from The CW network based on the book series by L.J. Smith (of Vampire Diaries fame) is already kind of addicting. I’m super-excited for the return of the show in early January. It’s an interesting blend of teen drama and the supernatural. I’m no newbie to either genre. I count The O.C and the early years of One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl among my favorites in the former category, and Charmed and True Blood in the latter.And these in addition to the probably hundreds of books I’ve read in either category, and usually with plenty of overlap, like the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, or the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz.

Needless to say, I’ve encountered just about every cliché in the genre, and The Secret Circle hits just about every single one of them. However (huge however), this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The show revolves around newly orphaned Cassie Blake, who moves back to her mother’s hometown to live with her maternal grandmother. While in town, Cassie is approached by various members of a group of five teenagers. The thing is, each of them is one part of a circle of witches, that there families have been involved in going back for generations. They need Cassie to complete the circle of six, and must convince her of her powers. All while keeping their powers secret from the rest of the town—including their parents! Along the way, The Secret Circle taps about every cliché you could expect to see, but in a totally awesome way. There’s a reason clichés exist, right?

WARNING: spoilers ahead! If you haven’t seen all the episodes of The Secret Circle but plan on it, stop reading! If it doesn’t matter, or you’re all caught up, read on!

The Love Triangle

The love triangle has been done to death. And its pretty much been a requirement since Twilight (though writers were doing it before and more deftly, just saying). But there’s a reason it works.

Early on, we encounter long time GF and BF (and members of the circle) Diana Meade and Adam Conant. Cassie and Adam are attracted to each other pretty much from the moment Cassie moves to Chance Harbor. He’s the first person she works magic with, and consequently, he splits her world wide open. And then there’s Diana.Arguably Cassie’s best friend in town, Diana is super-sweet and nice to Cassie even though she doesn’t know her. And then there’s Adam’s father, Ethan, an alcoholic who owns a local restaurant/bar who tells Adam that his and Cassie’s relationship is written in the stars (like, his should have been with Cassie’s mom, but that didn’t happen). Though Cassie and Adam never really act on their burgeoning feelings for each other, they have enough chemistry and show it often enough that Diana actually breaks up with Adam!

(Adam and Cassie, makin’ magic. Photo Credit.)

Whew! Now, here’s why The Secret Circle is awesome: in an emotion and unexpected twist, after the break up, it’s Diana who goes running right to Cassie, because she dosen’t think that anyone else could understand it better. As of the mid-season finale, though there were some obvious tensions, Cassie and Adam still hadn’t hooked up and Cassie and Diana were still friends. (Though, if you’re like me, you’re probably waiting for the Cassie-Adam moment. I mean, they’re written in the stars, right?)

The Bad Boy/Girl

Faye Chamberlain is Chance Harbor’s resident bad girl. She looks and acts like she could have walked out of The Craft. All she seems to care about is her own powers—period, and anything that gets in the way of that has got to go. She’s rude, a little crude, and gorgeous, natch.

But of course, Faye is also loyal to her best friend, Melissa, and to her family, and she can really be called on when the going gets tough. Because of these, Faye is easy to like, but I’m waiting on her to subvert her cliché a little—either go really, bad, or do something really good.

Onto the bad boy—Nick. We get Nick Armstrong (who is the only member of the coven to have lost both of his parents other than Cassie, beeteedubs) who’s good-looking, brooding and sleeping with Melissa. He’s mean to her, and generally is only interested in her when she’s in his bed. Then, when Melissa insists she needs more, he actually manages to step up to the plate—just in time to be semi-accidentally murdered by Charles Meade (yes, MEADE, as in Diana’s dad, but more on that in a moment.) There is momentary panic—poor Melissa, what about the circle, etc, etc.

Enter Jake, Nick’s older, badder brother. This guy is so bad, he’s straight up traitorous. Even though he completes the circle, he’s angry because magic took his parents, so he became a witch-hunter. Though it appears he might be happier having a circle, and making eyes at Cassie, for now, no one knows how bad this bad guys is, or if he’ll drag Cassie to the dark side with him.

The Villains

The more the show goes on, the more baddies make themselves known. The group knows about the witch-hunters, who were more aggressive, but Dawn Chamberlain, Faye’s mother, and Charles Meade have a plan in action to get their powers back. Because of some accident years before, they, along with the rest of their circle, had their powers stripped.

Dawn and Charles have an elaborate plan that involves the kids, but that mystery is still unfolding. But still. We’re used to villains, especially villains who pretend they aren’t. But parents? Who love you, but murder your friends? Creepy.

In short, it’s become my goal as a writer, to stop avoiding the cliché. There’s a reason they work, because they’re these basic situations that are morally, ethically, emotionally enthralling. However, I think it’s important to understand that clichés only work when characters and situations are complex. Other than that, you’re just writing about a pretty chick who can’t get a date, but who suddenly is caught between a gorgeous bad boy and the golden boy. Blech.

So what do you think? Are you into The Secret Circle? Do you agree, or did I get it all wrong? Let me know: drop a comment!


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