| 7.4/10 |
15 September 2011
| Supernatural drama
The Secret Circle by
L. J. Smith
Jessica Parker Kennedy
The Secret Circle Theme Song
Britt Robertson, Phoebe Tonkin, Shelley Hennig, Thomas Dekker, Jessica Parker Kennedy
The Secret Circle is an American supernatural teen drama that aired on The CW from September 15, 2011 to May 10, 2012. It is based on the book series of the same name written by L. J. Smith, the same author who wrote another American supernatural teen drama, Vampire Diaries. Set in the town of Chance Harbor, Washington, the series focuses on Cassie Blake who, after moving to Chance Harbor, discovers that she is a hereditary witch and soon after joins a secret coven of five others. The series was developed by Andrew Miller and was picked up on May 17, 2011, by The CW. On October 12, 2011, The CW ordered a full 22-episode season of the series.
On May 11, 2012, The CW canceled the series. The ratings declined in the second half of the season; the high cost of special effects, and dramatic locations were cited as reasons for the show's cancellation.
The Secret Circle (TV series) Wikipedia
Following the death of her mother, Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) moves to Chance Harbor, Washington, to live with her grandmother. Her attempts to adjust to the new town are crushed when five of her classmates, Adam Conant (Thomas Dekker), Diana Meade (Shelley Hennig), Faye Chamberlain (Phoebe Tonkin), Melissa Glaser (Jessica Parker Kennedy), and Nick Armstrong (Louis Hunter), reveal to Cassie that she comes from a long line of witches and is the final member of their coven; with her they are able to unlock the full extent of their powers. Initially Cassie refuses to believe that she is a witch, even after Adam helps her to unlock her powers. It is only after she discovers an old leather-bound book of spells left to her by her late mother, Amelia, that Cassie begins to accept her power. Inside the book is a message to Cassie explaining that she kept their real family history and her powers a secret in order to keep her safe; as the circle soon finds out, their powers attract dark and dangerous forces that constantly puts them in harm's way.Cassie Blake (played by Britt Robertson) is a newly discovered Witch who, since the death of her mother, Amelia, has resided in the town of Chance Harbor, Washington. While Cassie initially dislikes the idea of being a witch, she later begins to accept her destiny and her family's heritage of magic. Her mother's side goes all the way back to the beginning of witchcraft, while her father, John Blackwell, comes from a long line of dark witches. She is Diana's older half-sister through John Blackwell.
Adam Conant (played by Thomas Dekker) is a natural born witch and one of the two male members of the Circle. Adam is instantly attracted to Cassie Blake, despite his relationship with Diana Meade. It is Adam who helps Cassie unlock her powers and encourages her to join the Circle. The attraction that he and Cassie share causes a strain in his relationship with Diana.
Faye Chamberlain (played by Phoebe Tonkin) is an eccentric and free-spirited witch who uses her powers recklessly and selfishly. Frequently brash and irresponsible, Faye often challenges authority and is best friends with Melissa Glaser. She does not believe that Diana Meade deserves to be the leader of the Circle and resents the fact that Diana has found her family's Book of Shadows while she hasn't.
Diana Meade (played by Shelley Hennig) is a witch and the responsible, but strict leader of the Circle. Diana is good friends with Cassie Blake, despite the attraction between Cassie and Diana's long-term boyfriend, Adam Conant. Diana is the first member of the Circle to discover witchcraft and, as of the series' start, the only member to have found her family's Book of Shadows before Cassie found hers. She is also Cassie's younger half-sister through their father, John Blackwell. She also has dark magic and Balcoin blood.
Melissa Glaser (played by Jessica Parker Kennedy) is the fourth female witch of the Circle. She is Faye Chamberlain's closest friend and the former girlfriend of Nick Armstrong. In contrast to her counterparts, Melissa is more quiet and keeps to herself, but she is responsible and loyal to the Circle.
Nick Armstrong (played by Louis Hunter; regular in episodes 1–5 and 20-21) is the second male member of the Circle. Prior to the start of the show, he and Melissa Glaser developed a sexual relationship. He showed reluctance to make it anything more than just about sex. After being threatened by Faye Chamberlain, however, he began to act nicer to Melissa and their relationship deepened.
Jake Armstrong (played by Chris Zylka; guest episodes 6-13, regular 14-22) is Nick's older brother. He used to work for a group of witch hunters, thinking that witch-craft was responsible for the death of his family, before finding out that his parents were dead because the witch hunters killed them. He has an interest in Cassie Blake but sexual relationship with Faye Chamberlain throughout the show.
Charles Meade (played by Gale Harold) is Diana's father, he is a member of the previous generation of the Circle. Following the fire at the Boat Yard, Charles' powers are stripped from him, along with the other surviving members of his Circle. In episode 1, he kills Cassie's mother with magic he got from the crystal.
Jane Blake (portrayed by Ashley Crow) is the grandmother of Cassie Blake and mother of Amelia. While initially she acts as though she does not know about the Circle, Cassie eventually realizes that they need her help and tells her the truth.
Dawn Chamberlain (played by Natasha Henstridge) is Faye Chamberlain's mother, the principal of Chance Harbor High School, and a member of the previous generation of the Circle. While she and Charles act as a team, she is the leader and the more vindictive of the two. When she can, she will sit back and let Charles do the dirty work, including murdering Amelia Blake.
Sally Matthews (played by Logan Browning) is a sweet girl who befriends Cassie. She often butts heads with Faye, who accidentally kills her when her power was out of control. Dawn manages to revive her with a crystal, leaving her with a broken arm. Sally then becomes suspicious of Cassie, Adam, Diana, Nick, Melissa and Faye, especially after they left the hallway a mess from using their powers, but still tries to be friends with Cassie. She doesn't appear after 'Loner'.
Luke (played by Zachary Abel) is a boy who is friends with Adam and is attracted to Cassie when she first arrives in Chance Harbor. Through Adam, he asks her to the school dance in 'Loner' but amicably leaves her after she ditches him. In 'Masked' he is asked to attend a party at Cassie's house on Halloween organized by Faye, and is revealed to be a witch hunter.
Ethan Conant (played by Adam Harrington) is Adam's father. He is an alcoholic, and owns the Boathouse Bar and Grill where Adam works. Like Charles and Dawn, he was stripped of his powers sixteen years prior to the series' beginning. He continually complains about how he never was with Amelia Blake, despite the fact that they were "written in the stars" and misses her more than Adam's mother. He eventually tells Diana that Adam is destined to be with Cassie, resulting in their breakup. Later he recovers from his alcoholism, realizing he needs to be a better father. He has a rivalry with Charles Meade, mentioning multiple times that he has always been a bully. He also hates John Blackwell, at one point trying to kill him. He does not appear after 'Lucky'.
Amelia Blake (played by Emily Holmes in her first appearance, Andrea Brooks in her second) is Cassie's mother. At the beginning of the series she is killed by Charles Meade to bring Cassie back to Chance Harbor, but is mentioned many times throughout the series. She was John Blackwell's girlfriend, and let him into the Circle, but left him after realizing who he was. She stopped the demons Blackwell summoned at the boatyard fire, and was stripped of her powers along with Charles, Dawn and Ethan. In a flashback, it is revealed she also knew Blackwell was the father of Diana.
Isaac (played by JR Bourne) is a high ranking member of the witch hunters. He is the one who Jake reports to regularly, and even after leaving the witch hunters, Jake still seems to have some respect for him. He arrives in Chance Harbor in 'Wake' and leaves in 'Balcoin', but later returns to get Balcoin's medallion from Jake, showing that he also respects Jake as a person. His faction of the witch hunters is called the "True Believers".
Ian (played by Richard Harmon) is a witch hunter. He first appears in 'Masked' trying to kill the Circle. He later appears in 'Traitor' having returned to Chance Harbor in Isaac's place (though only out of respect for Isaac) to warn the Circle about a witch who gave power to the witch hunters.
Eben (played by Sammi Rotibi) is the leader of the witch hunters who will do anything to kill them, especially John Blackwell. Sixteen years prior he used Ethan Conant's power to try to kill Blackwell, but it failed. He also killed Jake and Nick's parents personally on that day. After Blackwell returns, Eben summons demons into himself to protect him and aid him in killing witches, which causes a rift with Isaac and other witch hunters.
Lucy Gibbons (played by Lauren Stamile) was John Blackwell's psychic sixteen years prior, who was at the boatyard the night of the "accident". After seeing Cassie in the memory, she goes to meet her to warn her about the witch hunters, but is later revealed to be working for the witch hunters, as she was sixteen years ago.
Henry Chamberlain (played by Tom Butler) is Dawn's father-in-law, Faye's grandfather, and an elder. He comes to Chance Harbor after being called by Ethan Conant, to determine whether or not the next generation is practicing. Dawn kills him after he says he will alert the elders. Charles hides his body twice at his house, but it is eventually found.
Kate Meade (played by Stepfanie Kramer) is Charles' mother, Diana's grandmother, and an elder. She is suspicious when Diana tells her Charles and Dawn are dating, and confronts Dawn. Dawn later puts on a facade, where she may have attempted to poison her, causing a rift with Charles. She tries to kill Cassie to destroy her dark magic but fails, and informs Charles that she knows what he has done. She returns in 'Family', where she gives Charles and Dawn her power to save the children.
Calvin Wilson (played by Hiro Kanagawa) is the owner of Chance Harbor's antique store. He is a witch from another Circle. He realizes Cassie has dark magic and tries to warn her, but is stopped by Jake. He later appears as a hallucination to Jake when he is sick.
John Blackwell (played by Joe Lando) is Cassie's father, and a witch with dark magic. He returns to Chance Harbor after Cassie contacts him with his medallion. He is later revealed to be Diana's biological father due to an affair when Charles and his wife were separated. It is unclear what his intentions are until the final episodes, where it is revealed he fathered Cassie and Diana and caused all other female members of the Circle to get pregnant by their boyfriends, and then go to the boatyard, which he knew was a trap, to make their children orphans he could easily manipulate to form his own circle of dark magic. His plans are ultimately stopped by Cassie and Diana. He also had an affair with Dawn, but it didn't work because when it started Dawn was already pregnant with Faye.
Lee LaBeque (played by Grey Damon) is a practitioner of voodoo magic. Faye tracks him down in an attempt to get her solo magic back. He does a few things, but they all have consequences Faye dislikes, and she believes he is using her. He is using her magic to revive his girlfriend who is in a coma, but he and Faye also develop feelings for each other.
Eva (played by Alexia Fast) is Lee's girlfriend, who is in a coma. She later awakens and gains some of Faye's power due to voodoo.
Callum (played by Michael Graziadei) is one of Lee's friends. He is also a drug dealer who sells Devil's Spirit. He later realizes that Faye and Melissa are witches after a party and an argument with Lee. In 'Crystal' he attempts to steal one of the crystals, but the Circle stops him and "marks" him, ordering him to never return to Chance Harbor.
Grant (played by Tim Phillipps) is an Australian boy who came to Chance Harbor on a boat. He and Diana develop an instant attraction to each other, but problems arise because he lied to her about owning the boat (he just works on it), and she is a witch. He later offers her to leave Chance Harbor with him.
On October 28, 2010, L. J. Smith announced that the series had been optioned for a TV series by The CW. On February 8, 2011, The CW picked up The Secret Circle with Dawson's Creek creator and The Vampire Diaries co-creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson now attached. However, he told The CW that The Vampire Diaries companion series he was helming had been put on hold in order to focus on The Secret Circle. Williamson worked on an original script penned by Andrew Miller, creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Imaginary Bitches, with writer credit shared by both men. On February 16, 2011, The Secret Circle booked Liz Friedlander to direct the pilot. Friedlander also directed episodes for The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, 90210 and One Tree Hill.
On October 12, 2011, The CW ordered a full season of twenty-two episodes. On May 11, 2012 The CW cancelled the series.
The pilot has been met with mixed reviews, with Metacritic giving a score of 55 out of a 100 based on 20 critics. Lloyd Roberts of the Los Angeles Times thought the pilot was "splendidly rendered; effective in the expected ways in a way that makes you forget you expected them." He then wrote "Director Liz Friedlander aims not just for creepiness but for a tremulous sense of beauty that reflects the heightened sensibilities and hair-trigger sensitivities of adolescence" and appreciated the actors "who are good to look at, but also bring a little soul to their roles."
In 2015, three years following the cancellation of the show, Gavin Hetherington of SpoilerTV looked back on the series finale, as well as the series as a whole. He reviewed the show favorably, commenting "the last several episodes really built up the potential of the show and made it pretty exciting, and it would have led into an awesome second season", and saying that the show should have had a second season, "to further develop the characters and the storylines we were left hanging with".
Phoebe Tonkin's performance was well received by critics; she was featured on Variety's list of new faces to watch and named one of 2011 Breakout TV Stars by E! Online.
On May 11, 2012, the CW cancelled the series, despite being the network's third-highest rated performer. Following the show's cancellation, a formal fan-led campaign website titled 'Save The Circle' was launched. A letter-writing campaign, targeted at the CW, aimed to encourage the CW to reconsider bringing back the show for a mid-season slot. Campaigns were also launched at other TV networks whose target demographic matched those of The CW—MTV, ABC Family, and Syfy. Fans donated between $1–10 to the Make a Wish Foundation in the name of MTV; this aimed to attach a good cause to the campaign while getting MTV's attention. The Secret Circle executive producer Andrew Miller auctioned a signed poster of the show's cast in support of the campaign. In the end, over $7,000 was raised. The campaign targeted at ABC Family asked fans to donate money to fund a delivery of 325,000 golden plastic coins to the network's headquarters. The coins were symbolic of a 'cloaking coin' that belonged to one of the main characters, Adam Conant's grandfather in the episode "Traitor". The metaphor was that The CW 'cloaked' the show by cancelling it, and fans wanted ABC Family to 'uncloak' the show by picking it up.
A letter-writing campaign to Syfy was also launched, but ultimately the 'Save The Circle' campaign leaders decided against pursuing the network further due to budgetary concerns. Following the announcement that Warner Bros. had unsuccessfully entered talks with ABC Family about picking up the show and that the series would not be shipped to another network, campaigning targeting potential networks for a pick-up ceased. Nevertheless, a new campaign, aimed at Warner Bros, was launched following the announcement that the series' first season would not be released on DVD or Blu-ray. As of September 2012, The Secret Circle is available on Netflix for immediate streaming. A music project was launched, with the aim of developing and distributing a full-length album of 10 fan songs online and making them available for free download. Fans were asked to either submit an audio recording of themselves singing their own songs, or send in lyrics for potential use. Petitions were also set up, in the hope that they would bring back the series. The three main campaigns together, as of June 24, 2012, amassed over 85,500 signatures. Since the show was canceled, fans have voted it "the show that will be missed most" or "Most Shocking Cancellation" in a number of polls, including E!, Clique Clack, Hypable, Spoiler TV, TV Fanatic, TV.com, and Zap2it.
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