The CW debuted its new supernatural Thursday last night, with the series debut of The Secret Circle following the season 3 premiere of The Vampire Diaries. The pairing makes perfect sense: Both shows, adapted from L.J. Smith novels, have teen heroines, and both come from Kevin Williamson, who loves twists and epic love stories equally. By scheduling them on the same night, the CW hopes those TVD fans who love a mythology-driven drama that moves will stick around for TSC. It worked in week 1: The Secret Circle retained nearly all of its Vampire Diaries lead-in. But what about next week? Are you in or are you out?
I’m in for The Secret Circle, largely because of Gale Harold (pictured). He plays Charles, the father of one of the teens who make up the secret circle of witches. I love that the show opened with him setting a fire that killed the mother of the main character, Cassie (Britt Robertson). He needed Cassie, now orphaned, to move to Chance Harbor, Wash. to live with her grandmother so she could meet the five classmates who’d tell her she’s a witch and completes their circle. They all lost at least one parent 16 years ago when something happened to their circle. What are Charles and Dawn (Natasha Henstridge), the high school principal who’s also a parent of a circle member, plotting? Williamson likes to introduce characters as one thing and have them evolve into something else. So Charles, while first appearing deliciously evil, can’t be all bad, can he?
The promo for next week is all about the teens, but according to Williamson, the parents are just as big a part of the show: “When [Natasha] got the second episode script, she called us up and was like, ‘Okay, I had no idea that this was my character,’” he told EW. “I think she thought she was going to be the mom on a CW show. She didn’t truly understand the extent of what she really is to the show. I’m like, ‘No, you and Gale Harold, don’t you worry. As much as it’s about this circle of young teenagers, it’s all about you guys.’ The most fascinating thing is understanding what makes them tick, why they’re up to what they’re doing, their moral compass and how it’s askew, and how they very much love their children but at the same time have an agenda and it gets a little bloody.”
I hope they feature Charles in more of the promos moving forward and make him this show’s Damon, the character you love to hate in season 1. The great thing about The Vampire Diaries, speaking as a woman in her 30s, is that you didn’t have to feel guilty for swooning over Damon and Stefan. Yes, Stefan was in high school, but he wasn’t actually 17. I now spend paragraphs talking about teens Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) and Tyler (Michael Trevino) in my TVD recaps, but that didn’t really start until season 2. I don’t know if I’ll be comfortable swooning over the boys of The Secret Circle in that way quickly, so I need Gale Harold to keep luring me in. Plus, we’ve seen the teen witch coming-of-age story before. Though I’m sure Williamson and fellow EP Andrew Miller have their own unique take, and I look forward to it unfolding, it’s whatever Charles and Dawn have brewing that is the unknown. Am I just old, or do you agree with me?