Series / The Secret Circle

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The-Secret-Circle-Cast_2923.jpg

A series on the CW based on a book trilogy by L.J. Smith, who also created The Vampire Diaries.

Cassie Blake thought she was just a normal girl, until her mother is murdered by a witch who makes it look like a gas explosion. She moves in with her grandmother, and soon comes to the attention of five of her new classmates. They're all children of witches, and explain to Cassie that her mother was a witch too. And with Cassie in town, they now have a full "circle" of six members, meaning their powers have increased dramatically. Cassie must decide for herself whether to accept what it appears destiny has in store for her. Meanwhile, her mother's killer is also a resident, and the father of one of the Circle.

Slightly longer version: 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.

The show first premiered on September 15, 2011 and was cancelled on May 11, 2012 after only one season with 22 episodes.

Has a Character Sheet with the main members of the Circle, the parents/families, the supporting characters and the antagonists/villains.

Tropes in this series include:

  • Action Girl: Cassie, Diana, Faye and Melissa all fit this trope. All of them are engaged within the midst of all of the action on this show.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Cassie is a brunette in the books but on the show, she is blonde.
    • Diana in the books is a blonde but on the show, she is a brunette.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Described by Faye as the "creepiest place on earth'', with Monster Clown statues and murals, dark and dirty rooms, and not improved by the addition of real corpses.
  • AntiHero / AntiHeroine: Almost all of the characters on the show fit this criteria of anti-heroes, with the exception of Adam and Diana.
    • Cassie is a Type II after she discovers that she is a witch. She becomes more of a Type III as the series progresses later on after she discovers her heritage of Dark Magic. When she lets her dark magic overtake her, she becomes a Type IV or Type V. As the series progresses, although Cassie has good intentions and uses her powers to save people, she also becomes much of a darker individual especially when she discovers her Dark Magic ancestry.
    • Faye could be classified as a Type III or a Type IV.
    • Melissa could be classified as a Type II, possibly Type III.
    • Nick could be seen as a Type III, possibly Type II.
    • Jake starts off as a Type IV or Type V. As the series progresses, Jake becomes more of a Type III.
    • Charles could classify as a Type V in the beginning. As the series progressed, Charles became more of a Type III.
    • Dawn could classify as a Type III or a Type IV
  • Anyone Can Die: As you'd expect from the team behind The Vampire Diaries. Significantly speaking, it starts with Nick and continues on through Jane, much to the Circle's grief.
  • Back from the Dead/Came Back Wrong/Face–Heel Turn: Nick, though Melissa finishes him off to save Jake.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Cassie at first, though Diana fits this more now.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn:
    • Beauty - Cassie
    • Brains - Diana
    • Brawn - Faye
  • Because Destiny Says So: A major theme of the series, with just about everything happening because of it. As well, Adam's father claims that he and Cassie's mother were destined to be together, and things went wrong because that didn't happen.
  • Batman Gambit: Apparently the binding of the new circle's powers is exactly what Dawn Chamberlain and Charles Meade wanted in the first place.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Cassie and Jake have it as do Charles and Dawn
  • Big Bad Ensemble: So far, there's at least both Charles and Dawn — who often seem on the verge of stabbing each other in the back — and the witch hunters (especially Eben), neither of whom really seem to know about each other. There's also the threat of demons, along with anything else that may come up.
  • Black Magic: John Blackwell and his two daughters, Cassie and Diana all possess dark magic due to their ancestry. Dark magic is the most deadly and dangerous form of magic.
    • Dark Magic possess the same capabilities as regular magic, though it appears to be slightly more potent. Unlike regular magic, dark magic is not limited by coven laws, as witches bound within circles are capable of using their dark magic without collective aid. Cassie Blake has successfully performed dark magic on several occasions while bound to her circle and was also capable of using regular magic as well, revealing witches that perform both dark magic and "white magic" appear to be able to distinguish the two apart and use them separately.
    • Dark magic has been shown to penetrate an iron sulphate circle which is supposed to block a witch's magic while inside the circle. Cassie Blake was capable of setting a witch hunter on fire using her dark magic, despite the fact that she was inside the iron sulphate circle as well.
    • Dark Magic also appears to grant its users a unique connection to other's minds, allowing them to view another's memories. Cassie Blake was able to see an apparition of Faye's memory while others could not with the exception of Faye. This connection was seen again when Cassie performed a spell to recall the "lost" memories of Jake Armstrong.
    • Dark magic also appears to have a unique connection with other forms of magic (though the exact nature is unknown), as Cassie and Diana were noted to be the only witches that could form the crystal skull. Dark magic mostly appears to be an innate quality, however Royce Armstrong mentioned that John Blackwell wanted to teach the circle dark magic. Because dark magic is rooted and accessed by negative emotions (anger/hate), it's possible to some degree it can be achieved by those that do not come from dark lineage like the Blackwells.
  • Black Magician Girl: Primarily Cassie and even Diana. Both possess dark magic and can be dangerous.
  • Brainy Brunette: Diana. She is the smartest one of the core group and often takes the lead because of her smarts and capability. Later on, Cassie seems to take the lead more often alongside Diana as Cassie begins to accept her witch ancestry.
  • Break the Cutie: In the past few episodes, Diana found out the man who raised her wasn't her father, her mother cheated on him, and, worst of all, he murdered Cassie's mother. Cassie has suffered just as much, though, what with being manipulated into making Adam forget his love for her and then losing her grandmother, her only blood family aside from her half-sister and their father.
  • But Now I Must Go: Jake does this after saving Cassie, though he soon returns.
    • Diana does the same in "Family", since she's lost her father and can't handle having dark magic.
  • Canon Foreigner: Jake didn't exist in the books.
  • The Chessmaster: Blackwell to the extreme. Not only does he seem to have a plan for everything, "Prom" reveals that he planned the entire existence of the Circle by casting a fertility spell.
  • The Chick: Cassie of course. She's the central figure of the series.
  • Cute Witch: Cassie, Diana, Melissa all classify as this.
  • Dawson Casting: Played straight, naturally. The youngest cast member of the main cast, Britt Robertson, is 21 and the oldest, Jessica Parker Kennedy is 27. The rest of the cast members include Thomas Dekker who's 24, Phoebe Tonkin who's 23, Louis Hunter who's 22, Chris Zylka who's 27, and Shelly Hennig who's 25.
    • Not to mention Adam Harrington plays the younger version of Ethan from the 90s (Adam Harrington is 42).
  • Demonic Possession: Heather had been possessed by the demon Abaddon, which is why Cassie's mother put a binding spell on her. Heather eventually dies after being run over by a car and the demon then proceeds to possess Melissa at the end of episode 4, before eventually being killed while possessing Nick.
  • Demoted to Extra: Nick was Cassie's love interest in the books. In the series he is quickly killed off and replaced by his older brother Jake (who wasn't in the books).
    • Jane was also prominent in the first nine episodes. Since then, she's only appeared a couple of times before getting killed off like Nick.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cassie certainly is this.
    Jake: A storm is coming. *a storm in the sky*
    Cassie: You think? What gave it away, the clouds or the thunder?
    • Faye is equally snarky.
    • Jake is also a snarky individual.
    • Even Adam has his witty moments.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Charles is horrified when Dawn suggests that they kill his mother and the other witch hunters are genuinely afraid of Eben.
  • Evil All Along: John Blackwell, though this was fairly obvious to some people.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: A side effect of Demonic Possession, natch.
  • Fake American: Phoebe Tonkin, the actress who plays Faye, is actually from Australia.
    • Louis Hunter and Jessica Parker Kennedy are from Australia and Canada, respectively.
    • Natasha Henstridge is Canadian as well.
  • Fantastic Drug: The concoction Nick and Faye were taking in Episode 2. Magic itself could also count.
    • "Medallion" introduces us to a magical "enhancer" called Devil's Spirit.
  • Fate Drives Us Together: Adam and Cassie's relationship. Fate and destiny is a driving force of their relationship. It has been repeatedly stated throughout that Adam and Cassie are destined and fated to be together.
    • The same was said for Cassie's mother, Amelia and Adam's father, Ethan.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Cassie (Ego)
    • Diana (Superego)
    • Faye (Id)
  • The Heart: Cassie. She brings everyone together within the Circle.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Cassie, Diana and Faye, with Cassie as the Maiden, Diana is the Matron and Faye as the Crone.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jake.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Faye and Melissa. Also Diana and Cassie.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Eben seems to have become this from fighting John Blackwell
  • Hugh Mann: Abaddon doesn't do an especially good job pretending to be Melissa, and ends up holding Nick at scissor-point to make the others obey when they catch on.
  • Hypocrite: Eben, leader of the witch hunters, employs a witch — thought to be a former member of the old Circle, but it's actually Nick — and kills witches with magic even when they're defenseless.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Cassie, especially at the beginning of the series. At first, not only is Cassie skeptical of witches and witchcraft, but when she does eventually come to accept her witch heritage, she wants nothing to do with it and tries to escape it as much as possible, feeling that it brings nothing but trouble and pain.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Faye.
  • Jerkass: Nick, at first; also Callum.
    • Jake as well. Although, like Nick, he changes and evolves as a person.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Faye, most definitely so far...at least where Melissa is concerned.
    • Also, Jake. Jake appears to be rather brooding, cocky and overconfident. However, much of this is a facade to hide his inner vulnerability.
  • Killed Off for Real: See Anyone Can Die above.
  • Kill It with Fire: Luke, the witchhunter; also the demon snakes.
  • Kill It with Water: The demon Abaddon is killed when Diana's father drowns his host body, Nick, at the marina.
  • Love Triangle: Type 10. Adam is in a relationship with Diana, but has UST with Cassie. Diana breaks up with him in "Wake" because of it.
    • Also, there was a love triangle between Adam/Cassie/Jake later on in the season.
  • Morality Pet: Melissa for Faye.
    • Interestingly Diana for Cassie.
    • Also, Adam for Cassie. Adam prevents Cassie from going over the edge, especially in regards to her Dark Magic. Adam, along with Diana, is one of the few people who can actually get through to Cassie.
    • Diana for Charles.
    • Cassie for Jake.
    • Melissa for Nick.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Each of the girls gets a turn at winding up in her undies or just a Modesty Bedsheet, particularly Melissa in the first few episodes.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Cassie seem to think this in the latest episodes but before killing someone a Morality Pet stops her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Cassie and Faye free Heather from her mother's binding spell, unaware that it was stopping the demon possessing her from A: hurting her and B: hurting other people.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Adam is the Noble Male to Jake's Roguish Male.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: One moment possessed Melissa is tied up and lying on the couch, then the camera and the characters look away for a second. When they look back, she's untied and standing next to them. It's not clear if this is done by magic or demonic speed, but it's a fairly creepy moment.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Phoebe Tonkin pulls off a pretty convincing American accent, but you can detect the barest hint of her Australian accent on certain words. It's especially evident if you're familiar with her voice from her other major role.
    • Nick's Aussie comes out when Charles is drowning him to kill Abaddon.
    • Shelley Hennig and Britt Robertson both have noticeable Southern accents despite being from Washington and California.
  • Parental Abandonment: Several of the main characters have a parent that is dead or that has not been mentioned. Cassie, Jake and Nick have lost both of their parents. This turns out to have been deliberately engineered by Cassie's father, actually alive, so that he could manipulate them better by offering them a connection to their dead parents or acting in a Parental Substitute role.
  • Playing Against Type: Chris Zylka usually plays Brainless Beauty types. Not so much here.
  • Playing Gertrude: Occurs naturally with Dawson Casting. The most egregious examples are Cassie and her mother and Charles Meade and his mother, both only thirteen years apart.
    • To be fair, Cassie's mother did have her in high school so this isn't that bad.
  • Playing with Fire: Cassie uses dark magic to set Luke on fire.
  • Protagonist: Cassie. The story focuses on her life, journey asa new-found witch and her relationships with other characters.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Cassie (Red) and Diana (Blue)
    • Cassie (Blue) and Faye (Red)
    • Diana (Blue) and Faye (Red)
    • Faye (Red) and Melissa (Blue)
    • Adam (Blue) and Jake (Red)
  • Redemption Equals Death: Charles in the season finale, though he may still be alive — we see him in a catatonic state at the end of the episode, with his mother doing something to his body.
    • this is likely to be the same binding spell that Cassie's mother had placed on the demon host in the show previously. So he's still alive, just catatonic.
  • Refusal of the Call: Cassie, at first.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Adam and Cassie's relationship. They are destined to be together. In the novel series, Adam and Cassie are tied together by the Red String of Fate.
  • Screwed by the Network: Despite decent ratings, the show was cancelled by The CW after one season. Apparently, it's not even going to get a DVD release.
    • Though the complete series is available for streaming on Netflix
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Adam and Jake. Adam is the Sensitive Guy to Jake's Manly Man.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Andrea Brooks, who plays the teenage version of Amelia looks likes she could be Britt Robertson's twin.
  • Six Student Clique:
    • The Head - Cassie
    • The Muscle - Adam
    • The Quirk - Nick
    • The Pretty One - Melissa
    • The Smart One - Diana
    • The Wild One - Faye
  • Shipper on Deck: Ethan is a hardcore Cassie and Adam shipper, believing that they're destined to be together. He even convinces Diana to break up with Adam.
  • Shirtless Scene: Nick. Lampshaded by Cassie when she wonders if he even owns a shirt.
  • Single Line of Descent: The coven are all descendants of six witch families (twelve in the books). How six families managed to intermarry for 300 years without inbreeding is a hefty bit of Fridge Logic. It's later explained that there are other witches and circles within Chance Harbor, allowing for new blood to enter the coven, and while the Circle is made of six witch families, the previous Circle contained twelve witches (a member from each of the families and their spouse).
  • The Smart Girl: Diana. She is the one who is the brains and logic of the Circle.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Adam and Cassie. Something...or someone, whether it is Cassie's father John Blackwell, or Jake Armstrong, is always trying to keep Adam and Cassie apart. Also including all of the other outside obstacles surround Adam and Cassie that manages to come between them.
  • Superpower Lottery: All of the witch and warlock characters have various strong powers and abilities. The powers vary amongst the witches and warlocks. Some of the common powers include:
    • Spellcasting: The ability to cast spells.
    • Conjurgation: The ability to call or summon an object, person, element or spirit.
    • Elemental Control: The ability to control different elements such as water, air, fire, ice, etc.
    • Telekinesis: The ability to move objects with the use of the mind.
  • The Reveal: In "Balcoin", Isaac tells us that not only is Cassie the child of John Blackwell, but someone else in the Circle is as well. This is just one of many during the series, though...
    • "Crystal" reveals the child to be Diana.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Faye is a subversion: she has all the surface traits, but doesn't want to hurt anyone and is scared of losing control of her powers. Jake, on the other hand...
  • Troubled, but Cute: Nick, Jake.
  • True Companions: The members of the Circle, but some more reluctantly than others. (Faye in particular wasn't much of a team player at first.) Of course, in their case they don't really have a choice, since their powers only work when two or more of them are together.
  • Wham Episode: "Witness", which ups the HSQ with its revelations that the members of the old Circle were killed by witch hunters, not their unrestrained power, and the fire itself was started to kill Cassie's father, John Blackwell — but he turned it back on the hunters and escaped, and is still alive. Oh, and Adam's dad, Ethan, was present at the old boat and has his own dark side, demonstrated when he used the crystal to nearly drown Charles.
    • "Crystal" kills off Jane and reveals that Diana is Cassie's half-sister.
    • "Traitor" reveals that Nick is alive and has killed a number of the witch hunters.
    • "Prom" kills Nick off for good and reveals that Blackwell arranged for the Circle to be born — oh, and Diana discovers to her horror that Charles killed Amelia.
    • "Family" outdoes them all, fitting for a season finale — the Circle gets unbound by the creation of the Crystal Skull, Jake kills Eben and Charles drowns himself to get rid of the demons, Blackwell plans to kill all witches without Balcoin blood and build a Circle of pure darkness, and Cassie and Diana manage to turn the tables on him after the latter's own dark magic is unleashed...oh, and Diana leaves with Grant at the end, unable to handle everything that's happened, though not before making some kind of peace with Cassie. However, it seems that the other four Balcoin witches have arrived in Chance Harbor and are already connected to Cassie and Diana... It's a shame the show's been canceled.
  • Wham Line: Specifically, the moment in "Crystal" when Diana reveals she didn't help Adam and Melissa because she couldn't enter the mine — she's Blackwell's other child and thus has dark magic.
    • Moreso the line that set it up from "Balcoin" from Isaac. "Cassie Blake is not the only child of Balcoin in the circle."
  • White Magic: This is the type of magic that all of the witches within the inner circle (Cassie, Adam, Diana, Melissa, Faye, Nick and Jake) all practice. Although, Cassie, along with Diana, have dabbled in Black Magic from time to time.
    • White Magic is the influencing of events by supernatural means. White Magic can often be split into dark and light, though depending on the situation, can also be neutral. Magic is both a genetic heredity and a studied technique that connects a person to the elements and forces of nature in order to practice sorcery.
    • With White Magic, you don't have to worry about malevolent side effects. (There may be a sacrifical cost to prove your commitment.) Whereas evil gods tend to despise their human patsies, genuinely good deities tend to genuinely like their devotees.
  • Witch Species
  • You Killed My Parents: Jake gets his revenge on Eben in "Family" — and it was a long time coming.
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