'The Secret Circle' so far: What we love (and what we'd love to change) about the magic and the madness

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tsc-circle-113.jpgNow that we're halfway through " The Secret Circle's" first season, we thought it about time to take a look back on what they're doing right -- and what could use a little tweaking. We're totally obsessed with the witchy new drama, particularly now that we're starting to get some more insight into Cassie's dark side and the horror that unfolded 16 years ago in Chance Harbor.

What we love:

1. Getting some answers! We were a little worried that "The Secret Circle" was going to make us wait six seasons to tell us that everyone's been dead all along -- but that's not the case. In last week's episode, we finally got some answers about the boat fire that killed everyone's parents and, in an awesome surprise, "TSC" fully reinvented the flashback sequence and found a way to integrate our favorite characters into the events of the past.

2. Jake and his face and his chest muscles. Okay, so we were sad to see that one of the main characters in the book series was cut out of "The Secret Circle," but we didn't exactly mourn Nick's absence, because the most interesting thing about him was his distracting belly button. Jake, on the other hand, is super dark and mysterious and as a bonus, has that kicked-puppy look that makes us want to take him home and feed him soup. He's done a great job of taking on the romantic lead role that this show was lacking (but more on that later).

3. Dawn is the perfect evil villain. When we saw the pilot, we thought that Charles (Gale Harold) was going to be the one to beat, but we were wrong. It turns out he's pretty flaccid (but more on that later). The person who is really running the show here is Dawn (Natasha Henstridge), and the more devious she gets, the more we love to watch her. Force Charles to kill a child that she could have easily saved? BAMF. Suggest that Charles help her plot to kill his own mom? BAMF. Tell Ethan that Charles is abusing her with his secret crystal magic? BAMF. At this rate, you could tell us that the woman eats babies and kittens for breakfast and we'd probably throw her a parade.

4. Drunk Ethan can stay. Maybe we're getting old, but this is the first CW series ever where we've cared about the parental units, and that was only intensified by Adam Harrington's awesome performance in last week's episode. Not only did we discover that Ethan was secretly involved in the deaths of oh, all of his friends, but we saw a weakened, beaten-down character get his first taste of power in over a decade. And it tasted good. We hope to see more of Ethan -- specifically, of Ethan with his son -- in upcoming episodes.

5. Cassie's dark side is her best side. Initially, Cassie was a character who had things happen to her. Everything from her mom's death to her magic was out of her control. Now that her dark magic is alive and kickin', she's taken the reigns on her own life, and it's awesome. Britt Robertson has proven herself more than capable of embodying Cassie's full range -- from sweet girl-next-door to kick-butt coffin-exploding kill-you-with-her-brain femme fatale. We like our heroines to have a little sizzle to them, and she's certainly got it.

6. Speaking of sizzle... Faye is flawless. We don't even care about her accent anymore. Somehow, Phoebe Tonkin takes even mundane stories (we're not entirely sure what happened with the witch-drugs last week) and elevates them with her particular brand of sass. We particularly love the way Faye turns up the Mean Girl factor to 11 when necessary -- and drops it just as quickly as soon as anyone calls her out. She's able to suss out exactly how far people will allow her to push them -- and then she pushes them just a little extra. It doesn't hurt that she's got powerful chemistry with every. single. person. Which brings us to...

7. Diana gets an A+ as well. There was some potential for Diana to be incredibly boring, but along the way, she became the most relatable character on the show. She seems to be the only character whose world is bigger than her powers. She cares about her family, she's involved at school -- she doesn't just orbit around an abandoned house, measuring her power against her friends'. Plus, her decisions when it comes to Adam have been refreshingly mature. And she has great hair.

tsc-red-dress.jpg 8. The sibling twist has major potential. We'd been hoping that the mystery Blackwell sibling would be Adam, but since he and Cassie finally kissed last week and this isn't "Game of Thrones," we're guessing he's off the table. Even without that particular shake-up, though, the sibling thing adds a layer of mystery not only to our current circle, but to our limited understanding of the previous generation. With Joe Lando coming in to play Blackwell (who-- surprise! is not so dead) we're sure this is only going to get more intriguing.

What we'd love to see change:


1. Unclench, Adam. Here's the thing -- Thomas Dekker is a dynamic and magnetic actor. We'd deign to say he's one of the most talented people who has ever stepped foot on the C-dub. His work in productions like "Cinema Verite" and "Kaboom" had us completely enthralled. We hung on every quirk of his eyebrow. But "The Secret Circle" not only isn't playing to his strengths, it's tossing a wet blanket over any hint of a spark. Adam seems to live in a perpetual state of condescending disapproval, whether he's concerned about his friends or his father. He rarely takes any significant action. Instead, he just hovers on the sidelines, waiting for other people to make messes so he can give them dirty looks while he cleans it up. Give this guy some personality, and fast. We would recommend having him get possessed by a demon with a bad attitude... and then leaving the demon in there forever. This guy was set up as the romantic lead of the show. Give us something to swoon over.

2. Use the talent that you've got. Speaking of not writing to an actor's strengths, Gale Harold and Jessica Parker Kennedy are phenomenal actors who are relegated to the sidelines way, way too often on this show. Harold didn't accrue an army of devoted fans by playing the rube for years. He's capable of carrying an entire show -- give him something to do here (other than repeatedly get proven wrong by Awesome Evil Dawn) and we're confident he can recapture the charisma that had us hooked on Charles in the first scene of the pilot. As for Kennedy, we've already sung her praises in our Underrated TV Stars of 2011 list. But seriously, we meant it.

3. Put on some shirts. Not you, Chris Zylka. The wardrobe on this show needs a serious revamp. The characters on "TSC" are the youngest on the network -- so why is everyone's cleavage constantly out to play? Not to sound like someone's mom, but young lady, go upstairs and change right now. Network execs actually made editors digitally add inches to Cassie's red dress in one episode -- and when The CW tells you to cover up, it's time to make some room in the budget for extra fabric. We're not saying everyone should dress like Elena Gilbert -- there aren't enough boring maroon henleys on the planet -- but surely these witches can brew up a way to look stylish and sexy without making us fear for a wardrobe malfunction.

3. Reschedule, please. Dear CW Scheduling Gods: Please put "The Secret Circle" on a new night next season. Having it on right after "The Vampire Diaries" gives us such an overdose of awesome, we can barely pay attention by the fourth act. It's a problem.

Disagree with our opinions on the show? Think we left something out? Drop us a line in the comments below and share your two cents!
Photo/Video credit: The CW