The Secret Circle
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens will be drawn to this supernatural thriller based on a book series by L.J. Smith partly because of its similarities to the author's other hit story, The Vampire Diaries. The stars of this show are teen witches (both male and female) who set out to uncover the truth to their families' mysterious past and master their craft now that their powers are in full swing. This being a teen-targeted drama populated by impossibly beautiful characters, love (or, at least, lust) is always in the air, and there's a sexy edge to the teens' relationships. Expect some partial nudity (bare torsos for guys, bras or naked upper backs for girls), intense make-out scenes, and the unspoken assumption of intercourse. Bullying, emotional manipulation, betrayal, and duplicitous motivations are integral to the suspenseful plot, and violence sometimes leads to death.
What's the story?
Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) is an average teen whose world is rocked when a fire kills her mother and forces her to movie into her grandmother's house in a small Washington town. Soon after she arrives, she learns that she's part of a coven of witches whose power is compete now that she's in the presence of her new peers, Diana (Shelley Hennig), Faye (Phoebe Tonkin), Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Adam (Thomas Dekker), and Nick (Louis Hunter). When she finds a letter from her mother confirming her identity, Cassie is drawn into a world of powers, curses, dangerous adversaries, and long-hidden secrets about hers and all of the families in Chance Harbor. Things get more complicated with the arrival Jake (Chris Zylka), who brings his own mysterious past to the mix, and later the return of Cassie's father, John Blackwell (Joe Lando), who has his own set of secrets to keep.
Is it any good?
This fast-paced thriller rides the supernatural wave to certain popularity among teen viewers, who will find many similarities between the Twilight story and this one, which also follows a newcomer to a small northwest town with secretive residents and a mysterious history. Here it's witchcraft rather than yin and yang of werewolves and vampires, but it's the enticing suggestion that things aren't always what they seem on the surface that beckons to thrill-seeking viewers. Of course, drop-dead gorgeous stars and complicated love triangles don't hurt, either.
Sexual content and violence are the main issues to consider in this show. The fact that they're witches doesn't make these teens any less susceptible to the social struggles of this age group, either, and instances of peer pressure, competition, and jealousy are even more glaring when the players involved have powers that can maim or kill. Generally the show's themes veer toward the positive, showing teens choosing the common good over personal desires, but there are some moments when selfishness and retaliation win out. On the plus side, the show is enjoyable enough that it's a truly fun watch for you and your teen to share.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the appeal of supernatural series like this one. Why are fans so drawn to shows about vampires and witches? Do you think this implies that people believe in the supernatural? Do you think this trend will pass, or is it here to stay?
What are this show's messages about relationships? Do you believe that destiny plays a role in love? What factors are essential in a successful relationship?
If teens have read the books upon which this show is based, talk to them about how the series compares to the original story. Was anything important altered for the show? Do you think this impacted the story?