THE SECRET CIRCLE “Pilot” Season 1 Episode 1 – After her mother dies in a mysterious house fire, Cassie Blake moves to Chance Harbor, Washington to stay with her grandmother. A small town where everyone knows each other, Cassie soon finds herself stumbling upon old friends of her mother, including Ethan (who loved her mother, Amelia), Dawn (who is now principal of Cassie’s new school) and Charles – a man who we learn killed Cassie’s mother.

It’s the children of these people who go on to befriend – or attempt to befriend – Cassie. There’s Faye, the bad girl, and her bestie Melissa; Nick, Cassie’s new next door neighbour; and ‘good’ girl Dawn and her boyfriend, Adam. While Cassie is wary of the first three, she seems to get along with Dawn – though not as well as she gets along with Adam. There’s an instant attraction there, which is only complicated further by Ethan telling her that a joining between their families is ‘written in the stars’. Things didn’t work out for Amelia and Ethan, but will they work out for Cassie and Adam?

The history we’re told in this episode is a great setup for the season to come. These five kids form a ‘circle’ of witches, but it is Cassie who will complete them and allow them to practise powerful magic – if she decides to join them. They all have to keep the circle a secret, however, to avoid being found out by the adults of the town. Their parents were part of a circle sixteen years ago but something went wrong, killing townsfolk and causing magic to be banished from Chance Harbor. But what exactly happened?

The key to finding out may be Dawn and Charles. They know about the circle and Cassie’s power, and we know that Charles is dangerous. Cassie may soon start to suspect he is too; she finds a letter hidden by her mother that warns her of people who will ‘come for [her]’.

The Secret Circle has a strong premise and the pilot episode was solid. I was a little worried that it would just be The Vampire Diaries with witches instead of vampires and werewolves, but it managed to step out of the shadow of its sister show with ease. The acting is good, the writing is engaging, and although nothing about The Secret Circle is new (or even all that fresh), it definitely holds a lot of promise. I look forward to seeing where it goes.

What did you think of The Secret Circle? Did any characters or plotlines catch your eye in particular? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!