Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Secret Circle” SnapCap (1.01)


When only four percent of scripted TV shows feature LGBT characters, what’s a gay girl to do? Why, strap on your gay goggles and watch TV along with us, of course! Our handy appraisal scale is better than any old letter grade. Other sites A+. We say, “What about our lezzy-lady feelings?”

“Destiny isn’t easy to run from.” Actually, I think destiny is pretty much destined, but we’ll let it go because, Look! There’s the chick from Life Unexpected! Except nobody watched that show, which is why she’s in this one. Britt Robertson as Cassie Blake has a tire blowout that keeps her from being home when her mom is killed in a fire. She moves to Capeside Chance Harbor to live with Grams, which means a new school, which means strange new people everywhere. When this school has a spelling bee, nobody wins. (See what I did there?) Think Mean Girls with supernatural powers in a Dawson’s Creek setting.


Cute girls are everywhere and even though they’re in high school, the actresses are in their 20s, so you don’t have to feel creepy. Besides Robertson, the crafty girls are Phoebe Tonkin as evil witch Faye, Shelly Henning as good witch Diana and Jessica Parker Kennedy as sidekick witch Melissa. Two male witches (don’t call them warlocks, please), Adam (Thomas Dekker) and Nick (Louis Hunter), complete the Secret Circle and will help you get your gay boyfriends to watch with you — as will Queer as Folk‘s Gale Harold, who plays dark witch Charles, Diana’s father. Also in the parent category is the very sexy Natasha Henstridge as Principal Dawn Chamberlain and Faye’s mom. The wonderful Ashley Crow, one of the best parts of Heroes, plays Cassie’s grandmother Jane. Yeah, that’s a lot of characters, but they are well drawn and well acted, so you won’t get them mixed up.


A lot was packed into this episode — and everything came with its own special feeling. Cassie’s mother caught in the burning house: Helpless. Discovering Cassie’s mother was a witch and wondering why she didn’t just stop the fire: Confusion. Nick magically opening Cassie’s bedroom curtain while she undressed: Icky. Cassie and Adam doing a dewy spell in the forest: Woo-woo. Dawn and Charles discussing nefarious plan: Creepy. Jane confronting Dawn about Cassie’s accident: Excited about future lady fight. Bottom line: this show is a feeling feast.


Phoebe Tonkin as Faye Chamberlain is one of the best things about The Secret Circle. We were thinking Regina George from the minute Faye first saw Cassie and cocked an eyebrow: “You’re the new girl. You’re pretty.” Faye prods Cassie toward Adam, even though Diana and Adam have been together for three years. Faye starts a fire in Cassie’s car to force her to do magic. Faye blurts out, “You’re a witch,” as Diana works up to telling Cassie about her place in the circle. Faye wants no part of a ritual to control the circle’s heightened power: “We have real power now, the last thing I want to do is control it.” Faye starts a raging storm that she can’t stop — until Cassie steps in. Faye’s a witch-with-a-b, and she’s not learning her lesson anytime soon.


So! Many! Secrets! Cassie’s mom didn’t tell her about her witchy ways because 16 years earlier, when The Secret Circle’s parents had their own Secret Circle, something went Very Wrong and people died — which is why the current families are single-witch-parent households. After the accident, the circle was broken up and witchcraft was banned in Chance Harbor. But Dawn and Charles, with the aforementioned nefarious plan, brought Cassie back to turn on the power again. Something wicked this way comes.

The Secret Circle is like a deeper, smarter cousin of Charmed, with all of the sexiness and power but less of the surface silliness. The fun is dark, the romance is a little threatening, and magic is a not-so-subtle metaphor for sex. As with all CW shows, the soundtrack is cool and the setting is gorgeous. How did you like it? Are you joining the Circle?

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