We’ve done vampires. We’ve done werewolves. We’ve even done zombies. Obviously, it’s time the witches had their turn. And, thanks to The Secret Circle, premiering tonight on The CW, those witches arrive as a force to be reckoned with.

The basics of The Secret Circle may seem familiar to fans of its CW companion show, The Vampire Diaries. Both shows feature a group of ridiculously attractive young people dealing with supernatural issues. Only this time, in The Secret Circle, the supernatural issues are a lot more focused: absolutely everyone is a witch.

The story begins with Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson of Life Unexpected), a seemingly normal teenager living with her single mother until mysterious car trouble keeps Cassie out late while tragedy strikes at home. Left alone, Cassie moves to her mother’s northwestern hometown of Chance Harbor to live with her grandmother, Jane (Ashley Crow of Heroes).

And that’s where the fun begins.

Cassie soon learns that the stares she receives around town aren’t just because she’s the new girl. After an unsettling series of strange encounters — including a car fire and a town full of people who know way too much about her — Cassie learns the strangest secret of all. She’s a witch.

Cassie isn’t the only witch, of course. The full contingent of teens paying attention to new-girl Cassie are also witches, descendents of six witchcraft-wielding families with a fateful mandate to band together. Beyond the witchiness, however, each of the teens couldn’t be more different:

  • Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) immediately menaces as the Mean Girl.
  • Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy) hides in the background as the Sidekick. 
  • Diana (Shelley Hennig) makes nice as the Sweet (For Now …) Girl. 
  • Nick (Louis Hunter) keeps it mysterious as the Boy Next Door Who Rarely Talks But Looks Really Hot. 
  • And then there’s Adam (Thomas Dekker of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Adam is the Love Interest.

Granted, Adam is a singularly effective love interest, supposedly fated to be with Cassie, despite his long-term relationship with sweet Diana. We get only the first glimmer of the incipient love triangle in the pilot, but it’s kind of an awesome beginning. One might even call it magical …

Of course, it’s not all teenage angst and sexy witchcraft afoot in Chance Harbor. There’s a darker legacy at work, and Cassie is fully part of it. With each teen having lost at least one parent to past tragedy, the question of their magic’s safety is a big one. And the remaining parents, Charles (Gale Harold) and Dawn (Natasha Henstridge), are thoroughly menacing with hidden motives.

The pilot for The Secret Circle is occasionally a bit slow as it builds up the story. But that’s actually OK — the slow build gives us a chance to really get to know the central players in this melodrama. The magic, meanwhile, is thoroughly impressive (just wait until you see everything they do with rain!).

You can’t forget that, at its heart, this is a Twilight-esque teen romance story, but it’s hard to care. Not when The Secret Circle is such bewitching good fun!

Want more on The Secret Circle? Check out our Secret Circle Ultimate Fan Page on Facebook!

The Secret Circle premieres after The Vampire Diaries on The CW at 9pm on Thursday, September 15.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.