Put the kiddies to bed and turn up those lights, y'all!
That's our advice for watching the first five minutes of the CW's new bewitching (hey, see what we did there?!) series, The Secret Circle, which has the most gripping opening scene of any new series for fall.
If that other Kevin Williamson CW series (The Vampire Diaries, heard of it?) has taught us anything, it's that this creative mastermind is not afraid of killing off major characters, and fast. And that's one of the things we love about his latest series, that you really have no idea what crazy-ass things are coming next.
But beyond that, is this show really worth watching?
The Secret Circle (CW)
Premieres Thursday, Sept. 15, 9 p.m.
Time-Slot Competition: Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Person of Interest (CBS), The X Factor (Fox), The Office (NBC), Whitney (NBC)
Cast: Britt Robertson,Thomas Dekker, Phoebe Tonkin, Shelley Hennig, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Louis Hunter, Gale Harold, Natasha Henstridge, Ashley Crow
Status: We've seen the pilot episode
OK, maybe we're just suckers for attractive people with supernatural abilities and a lot of emotional baggage and epic love triangles, but man, did we love this pilot and the show it's shaping up to be. Was it perfect? No. But did it perfectly set up the rest of the series and leave you wanting more? Hell yes.
Also, we kind of have a thing for Secret Circle's leading lady, Life Unexpected's Britt Robertson, and a fascination with apparent big bad Gale Harold. So sue us.
From executive producers Andrew Miller and Kevin Williamson (TVD and Scream), the show centers on young Cassie Blake (Robertson), who is forced to move to her mother's hometown of Chance Harbor after a tragic accident (more on that later). She soon hits it off with Adam (Dekker) and, unfortunately, his longtime girlfriend Diana (Hennig) before learning she's part of a secret coven of witches. Bad girl Faye (Tonkin) and the currently underdeveloped Melissa (Kennedy) and boy-next-door Nick (Hunter) make up the rest of the circle. Now that Cassie is in town, the circle can be complete (with each of the six families represented), meaning the witches have more power than ever. You know the old saying: mo' power, mo' problems. And hopefully, mo' good TV!
So what's the secret? Sixteen years ago, Cassie's and the rest of the coven's parents were part of their own circle, but something went terribly wrong and people died. As a result, witchcraft was abolished, which means awesome things for viewers because a) it kind of reminds us of Footloose and b) it makes the show's magic dangerous and deadly. You didn't think it would just be floating raindrops, did you?
Can we just talk about the chemistry between Cassie and Adam for a second? Stefan and Elena who?! Robertson and Dekker are electric together and we couldn't help but feel butterflies flutterin' around in our stomachs during their scenes. There's a certain floating-raindrop encounter that is honestly...breathtaking. Seriously, we did not breathe. But (come on, there's always a but!) Diana is just as likable as Cassie, making it a love triangle worth investing in. You know at least one of them is going to end up with a broken heart, and it genuinely sucks. A+, casting director. A+.
Not to be outdone by the (for now) Goody Two-Shoes, the pilot's baddies are all kinds of delicious. The coven's resident bad girl Faye is all attitude, all the time, and she's giving Ian Somerhalders Damon Salvatore some serious competition for Best Emotion-Revealing Eyebrows on the CW. We're calling it now: Tonkin will be the breakout star of TSC. Not to be outdone by a younger witch, Harold steals the pilot as Diana's father Charles, the man who does very bad things to Cassie's mother (oh snap!) in the opening scenes. Menacing, charismatic, cruel and focused, you can tell Harold is having a blast playing the guy you love to hate.
The only thing the show has going against it is, ironically, one of its biggest assets: The Vampire Diaries is its lead-in. Secret Circle is going to be compared to the third season of TVD, not the pilot, which means viewers may be expecting a faster pace and bigger reveals right off the bat. That being said, when it comes to pilot vs. pilot, believe it or not, we think Secret Circle is the winner.
Oh, and before you Damon-Elena-Stefan fans start sending us hate mail, please know that headline up there is tongue-in-cheek and we are fully aware that the sun totally rises and sets by the charismatic pull of Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev. We just really think you'll dig the core romance on this show, too.
Verdict: Watch! Witches are totally the new vampires, and mixing the two together makes an irresistible (and unbeatable) pairing for CW viewers. Is it Sept. 15 yet?