Can having magical powers make someone better or destroy them in the long run? That’s the premise of the CW’s new show The Secret Circle which attempted to replicate the same successful formula as The Vampire Diaries, now in its third season. Will Circle be able to live up to such a tall order? So far the results are a little shaky, but somewhat promising.
Both shows followed similiar premises with damsels in distressing situations as they watched all the supernatural chaos happening around them. The Secret Circle followed newly orphaned Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) who was still dealing with the loss of her mother who died in a fire that wasn’t as accidental as it appeared. She moved back to her mother’s hometown to live with her grandmother. Her arrival was most certainly noticed by everyone. Cassie’s new school mates good girl Diana Meade (Shelley Hennig) and her boyfriend Adam Conant (Thomas Dekker) were among them. They wanted her to join their supernatural group of second generation witches who had to practice in secret after their parents were tragically involved in an accident 16 years ago. Cassie has to fight her brewing supernatural powers and her attraction to Adam. She also had to watch out for Charles Meade (Gale Harold) and his partner in mayhem Dawn Chamberlain (Natasha Henstridge) with a hidden agenda of their own. On The Vampire Diaries, adult orphan Elena (Nina Dobrev) still dealt with the loss of her aunt/guardian and how her vampire boyfriend Stefan (Paul Wesley) sacrificed his soul to the psychotic Klaus (Joseph Morgan) to save his brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Elena has to decide whether to let him go as Stefan gave in to his lethal urges or save him no matter what. She also watched her brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) was still reeling from his near deathe experience which had some scary side effects. Will Elena be able to save her loved ones and her now dangerous boyfriend with a soul barely hanging on?
In terms of plot, both shows had plenty to spare with enough special effects to keep viewers busy for the entire hour. Diaries had the triangle between Elena and the Salvatore brothers which was hard enough, because audiences had a hard time deciding which one she should choose. It was nice to see Wesley bring out Stefan’s dark side a little more, because Wesley was pretty riveting to watch as a vampire undone by his choices. Rumored real life pair Dobrev and Somerhalder did a verbal dance as they tried to control the attraction between their characters. Will they succeed? Let’s hope not. The triangle should be a lot more dicey if they let temptation win for a change. The show also had the brewing pairing between werewolf Tyler (Michael Trevino) and Vampire Caroline (Candice Accola) to up the sex quota that True Blood has in spades. While Elena’s love life was surrounded in too much drama, Trevino and Accola had enough chemistry and Romeo & Juliet tragedy to keep audiences interested. The only weak links so far are McQueen’s “I See Dead People” plot and Matt Davis’ sad sack teacher who needs to either find a new outlook or leave town. In terms of Circle, the plot overshadowed the sometimes stale acting from a chemistry who saw one too many Twilight movies. The primary casualty was good girl Henning who would’ve been better served as a villain like her wicked onscreen mother Henstridge. The premiere’s real revelation was Harold’s turn as a killer witch who sure knew how to earn someone’s silence. Disturbing instead. Circle has some potential, but it still has a long way to go to be the next Vampire Diaries.
The Vampire Diaries premiered on September 15th and airs Thursdays at 8:00 pm on the CW. The Secret Circle premiered on September 15th and airs Thursdays at 9:00 pm on the CW.
Verdict: Two shows with supernatural twists that mixed teenage angst and real life tragedies with different results.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars (The Vampire Diaries)
2.5 out of 5 stars (The Secret Circle)
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)