A while back I started recapping the Secret Circle books. I haven’t yet finished, but I’m in the process of rereading so I can finish my recaps. For now, however, here’s a little something to tide you over.
In an attempt to ride off the success of The Vampire Diaries and make a franchise out of everything ever, the CW has now made The Secret Circle into a TV series. Because of my general masochism and inability to resist a good train wreck, I tuned in. The first few episodes were rather ho-hum, but the show has officially crossed over from entertaining trainwreck to straight-up crack in episode 4, so things are looking up.
I’m not going to give the episodes the full recap treatment, like I have for previous shows. There’s just too much ground to cover and while I love recapping, it can be extremely tedious and time-consuming. Have no fear, though–I am working on another recap for this site. Aren’t you excited? I’m also not going to spend a lot of time comparing the TV series to the books. That can also get tedious, and generally speaking, I prefer to analyze TV adaptations on their own merits. Oh, and it should go without saying–MASSIVE SPOILERS UP TO EPISODE 4.
TSC invites comparisons to the Vampire Diaries, since the books were written by the same author, and they’re both about paranormal teens involved in star-crossed love triangles. However, what jumped out at me more was the similarities between TSC and another supernatural teen series previously recapped here:
To me, it’s rather eerie how incredibly similar TSC is to PP both stylistically and in content. And I don’t just mean the posters. The credits are also extremely similar–both feature creepy songs hummed by a creepy-sounding child’s voice and both feature what I call the flapping birds effect:
Both series perpetually doe-eyed blonde heroines who are new in town (despite the fact that Cassie was a brunette in the books) and possess a great deal of supernatural power that they are, initially, unaware of. They also feature a sinister, older male villain played by the biggest name on the cast (Gale Harold and Grant Show, respectively) who’s always lurking around. Both also feature painfully bland love interests with Abercrombie-good looks but gasp! They’re both taken–SS’s dreamboat is with the head witch in charge and PP’s is with the head bitch in charge. The other similarities are many but can be chocked up to standard teen-show tropes: douchey guy, bitchy girl (who’s also kind of slutty), supporting girl with no real personality but damn, them bazooms:
So far, TSC isn’t quite living up to PP in its soapaliciousness. The teen love triangles are static and dull and the adult characters are even less interesting, minus Gale Harold (see, I don’t even remember his name. He’s just Gale Harold). I actually feel really bad for Gale, being shuffled from one mediocre CW show to the next. Both in the book and the show, Cassie’s character is as flat as week-old soda, and I was far more interested in the other characters. Particularly, our obligatory psychotic bitch, Faye. TSC!Faye isn’t deliciously evil enough (yet) to really be fun, but she definitely breathes the most life into this cast. She’s the only character who really seems to do anything or have any kind of goals or interests at all. I’m disappointed that the show cut Deborah, the biker girl from the book series, because she was a lot of fun, too.
And the Cassie/Deborah subtext was the best. Seriously, those two had more heat than Cassie/Adam and Cassie/Nick combined.
So the first few eps were basically Diana being sanctimonious and boring, Faye stirring shit, Boobs and Nick being fuck buddies while Boobs develops Feelings, Cassie being wide-eyed and confused, and Cassie and Adam making goo-goo eyes at each other in an enchanted forest. No, really:
Which leads me to another observation: the Twilight-ization of TSC. Honestly, that shit’s become a YA STD. Everything is being Twilight-ized. In the books, I believe Cassie and Adam’s initial scene of Mystic Googly Eyed Connection took place on a beach. But I guess that’s not exciting or romantic enough. It has to be an enchanted forest. Adam, sadly, does not have the skin of a killer, but I guess sparkly dew drops will have to suffice. The setting was inexplicably changed from the books’ setting of New Salem, Massachusetts to Chance Harbor, Washington. This change completely baffles me. In the books, Salem’s history with witchcraft forms pretty much the entire backbone of the plot. Why are they moving it to some random town in Washington? The show isn’t even filmed there–it’s filmed in Vancouver. Does Vancouver really look that different from Massachusetts? Hell, freaking Smallville filmed in Vancouver–and that show was supposed to take place in Kansas! The only logical conclusion is that Twilight was set in Washington, so let’s set our show there, too!
Anyway, TSC really needs to step up its game if it doesn’t want to get canned. Ep 4 was a step in that direction. Some of this shit was absolutely priceless. So there’s this chick, Heather, who knew Cassie’s Mom and has been in a catatonic state for 16 years, ever since the fire that killed everyone in their circle. Cassie and Faye cast a spell in an attempt to wake her, but the spell fails–or so they think. It actually does wake her, and then she goes on this ape shit rampage. Move over, Evil Willow. It was awesome. Because the circle is lame and people can’t do individual magics anymore, both Cassie and Faye pretty much get their asses kicked by Heather. I must say I agree with Faye on how weak this only-do-magic-in-groups rule is. I don’t recall it in the books, and wtf is the point of a series about witches if you can’t have individual magic? It renders the characters pretty much defenseless (except the bad guys, of course… I guess they didn’t bind their circle?) unless they’re in groups and it’s boring as fuck. Where are my magic battles? I WANT MY MAGIC BATTLES!
But the absolute greatest moment was when Faye was running up the stairs and Heather flew. Like fucking Peter Pan shit up in hurr. It was glorious.
So Cassie comes to and runs up to her room, where she grabs Heather by the hair and drags her off Faye. Yessss, catfight action! Cassie throws Heather to the ground and this incapacitates her long enough for the two of them to run away. I would question why a witch powerful enough to fly is suddenly knocked out by hair pulling, but I think at this point it’s best to just go with it.
So Cassie and Faye run to the front door just as Boobs and Nick show up. Good thing Nick likes to leave the window open while hooking up (Nick lives next door and his window is opposite Cassie’s room). Heather has come to by now, and she grabs Cassie for more catfight action (again, if this bitch is powerful enough to fly, why doesn’t she like, throw Cassie against the wall with magic or some shit? Why am I still analyzing this?). Then Nick pulls Heather off Cassie and gives her this BITCH I’MA CUT U look and suddenly Heather is terrified. She runs out the front door just in time to get hit by a van, Regina George-style. She does a couple flips in the air before she lands on the pavement and it’s all very dramatic.
And then some like X-Files worm thing crawls out of Heather’s arm and hitches a ride on Nick’s jacket. Later that evening, after Nick and Boobs finish hooking up, the worm crawls out of the jacket (I guess it had the sense to wait till they were asleep) and into Boobs’ ear. Grosssssss. I have to ask who these kids’ parents are and where they are. Aren’t Boobs’ parents wondering where she is? Don’t Nick’s parents ever check up on him? How are they able to spend nights together on a regular basis? Again, why am I still analyzing this?
Whatever. At least possessed!Boobs might be more interesting.
All in all though, you are good job, TSC. Keep that crack coming! Perhaps this little turtle might find its way to the sea after all. Stay tuned!