It is with great trepidation I view the upcoming CW series The Secret Circle. I’ve read L.J. Smith’s trilogy countless times, and read most of Smith’s other books as well. (Ironically, not The Vampire Diaries, but I was still very excited for the author when it became a show.)
When I first heard that the Secret Circle was going to be on TV, I had a few seconds of unadulterated joy. Then reality kicked in. I’d seen part of the previews, and my feelings toward it became worse and worse. I finally just saw the entire extended preview and...is it too strong to say I hate it? I have to admit, such feelings made me delay the writing of this post. A lot. (Sorry!)
First, I’m afraid it’ll become so people won’t read the books because they’re turned off by the series. On the show, they dumbed it down. Painfully so. If Gossip Girl can have interactive flow charts of which characters slept with whom in the New York Times, what makes the CW, or its writers, think viewers can’t handle a reasonably sized cast? Cost? Enh.
I noticed first of all, that they changed...well, everything. The circle is a coven of witches, and there are supposed to be twelve of them. Twelve. The previews very emphatically state there are only six in the coven. I’m actually hoping the writers play around with that from the pilot, and I noticed they were very vague with character names, aside from Cassie, the main character, as well as Diana, Faye, Adam, and Nick. Those are the most central characters, but all the others are key as well. The manner in which the show deals with Cassie’s mom is total crap, as are the parents. It hints that Diana’s dad is some sinister... something trying to control the coven. Which is stupid, because then why wouldn’t the parents have their own coven? The parents in the actual books aren’t present, which is a big part of YA in general. The book doesn’t lack parental figures, however, and grandmothers are most influential.
There are also gaps even in the previews because they imply that being a witch is passed from mother to daughter. Which means there’s a huge WTF when it comes to Adam and Nick, and whatever other male character(s) the writers deemed important enough to write into the show. I really hate that the parents seem to all be characters. That’s entirely contrary to the series, and smacks of Gossip Girl. Beyond that, the “magic” and spells and events and powers are just all off. From the start, well, how the series starts is wrong. I could forgive that, and move on. Too much back story doesn’t always work for TV: Location costs, etc.. But to change everything? What’s the point?
The casting of the characters is also wrong wrong wrong—so incredibly wrong. I get that everyone has to be amazingly attractive on television, but could they at least have tried to follow the book more? Cassie and Sally are supposed to be similar in both coloring and personality. Cassie is a witch, and Sally is effectively her “regular human” doppelgänger. Cassie is supposed to have “mousy brown hair.” She looks rather plain; she’s pretty, but understated and unnoticeable, which is a huge part of her growth when people realize she’s someone to be reckoned with. Cassie is supposed to begin as the timid Plain Jane girl next door.
Faye and Diana are foils of each other. Faye is supposed to have black hair and golden eyes; Diana has green eyes, and incredibly fair pale blonde hair, the color of moonlight. They’re actually cousins, and there’s more there, but I won’t spoiler it for you in case you do read the books. Adam is blond (because he’s the good guy). Nick is darker, with brown hair, and is your typical brooding bad boy. He has mahogany eyes. You aren’t quite sure if he’s good or bad. (Get the themes? Light equals good, dark equals bad.) In the show, Nick is blond, and seems to run around without his shirt a lot. Doesn’t Twilight get enough spoof jokes?
It’s hard to imagine the series will be able to plumb the depths of the books, especially with half the coven missing. Each person has a distinct personality and a different talent and power they bring to the circle. Additionally, the parents being involved means the entire plot of the series is thrown off.
I’m almost tempted to watch it, but my head might explode. I definitely recommend you read The Initiation, The Captive, and The Power. I’m sure the characters will be much more likeable, the story will make more sense, and it’ll simply be better across the board.
As you can see, I have strong feelings about it.
What about you? Will you watch the series? Do you mind when the characters in the show or movie look nothing like how the characters are described in the book?
Am I just being crazy ranty here?