The Secret Circle (TV series)
|The Secret Circle|
|Created by||Kevin Williamson|
|Developed by||Andrew Miller|
Jessica Parker Kennedy
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||22 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Kevin Williamson
|Location(s)||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Running time||42 minutes (approx.)|
|Production company(s)||Warner Bros. Television
CBS Television Studios
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original channel||The CW|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original run||September 15, 2011– May 10, 2012|
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. Set in the town of Chance Harbor, Washington, the series focuses on Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) 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 cancelled the series. The ratings decline in the second half of the season, the expensive cost of special effects, and dramatic locations were cited as reasons for the show's cancellation. The show can now be seen on the Chiller Channel.
Synopsis and episodes
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 attention 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.
- Adam Conant (played by Thomas Dekker) is a natural born male 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.
- 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 in season 1; episodes 1–5, recurring 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. He first appeared in episode 6 and till episode 13 he was credited as guest on the show. From episode 14, he became a regular) 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 a sexual relationship with Faye Chamberlain throughout the series before he starts developing feeling for her.
- 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.
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."
Awards and nominations
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Outcome|
|2011||E! Golden Tater Awards||New Fall Show You're Most Excited For||The Secret Circle||Nominated|
|TV.com's Best of 2011||Best New Series|
|Best Sci-Fi or Fantasy|
|2012||People's Choice Awards||Favorite New TV Drama|
|Saturn Awards||Best Youth-Oriented Television Series|
|PAAFTJ Television Awards||Best Main Title Theme Music|
Cancellation and fan campaign
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 re-consider bringing back the show for a midseason slot. Campaigns were also launched at other TV networks whose target demo 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 both immediate streaming as well as DVD. 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 hope that they will bring back the series. The three main campaigns together, as of June 24, 2012, amass 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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- "Cancelled Shows: Which Will You Miss Most?". June 24, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
- "The Secret Circle Is the Recently Canceled Show You'll Miss the Most". June 24, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
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- The Secret Circle at the Internet Movie Database
- The Secret Circle at TV.com
- The Secret Circle at Metacritic
- The Secret Circle at Alloy Entertainment
- Andrew Miller & Gale Harold's interview after Ep. 9 ("Balcoin") was aired on YouTube