• Network: The CW
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 15, 2011
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Sep 12, 2011
    58
    The CW built this predictable teen supernatural romance as a companion to the similar and better "Vampire Diaries.".
  2. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Sep 15, 2011
    67
    At times, the dialogue stops and unloads for exposition dumps, and a few of the young cast mates could use some more training back in the land of the Muggles.
  3. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Sep 13, 2011
    75
    In the premiere at least, the story unfolds nicely--and to the tune of a good soundtrack. When the episode ended, I wanted to know more about the Circle, both its history and where it's headed.
  4. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Sep 15, 2011
    67
    The Secret Circle may be over-calculated and under-inspired, but that doesn't necessarily mean The Secret Circle is bad. There's something to be said for setting reasonable goals and largely succeeding, especially when there are plenty of shows that aspire to a good deal less and still fail.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Sep 13, 2011
    80
    This air of familiarity notwithstanding, the pilot is splendidly rendered; effective in the expected ways in a way that makes you forget you expected them.
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Sep 15, 2011
    60
    Secret Circle is competently performed and produced and liable to entertain anybody not old enough to remember Alyssa Milano and Shannen Doherty doing pretty much the same stuff in Charmed back in the 20th-century day.
  7. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Sep 15, 2011
    60
    The Secret Circle isn't stunning out of the gate. It does seem to understand what it wants and needs to be.
  8. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Sep 15, 2011
    67
    A not-bad formula gothic that'll rise or fall on the Dekker/Robertson chemistry; I'm betting on the former.
  9. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Sep 9, 2011
    75
    The acting is flat, but the show casts a hokey spell. [19 Sep 2011, p.65]
  10. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Sep 15, 2011
    40
    If this season's "True Blood" hasn't exhausted your patience with TV witches--as it has mine--Robertson's as appealing here as she was on "Life Unexpected." Maybe magic powers will help her keep this one on the air.
  11. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 14, 2011
    50
    There's nothing wrong with any of this except that it doesn't feel fresh or new; there's no added, bewitching spark to a familiar concept.
  12. Reviewed by: Michelle Welch
    Sep 15, 2011
    50
    Unfortunately, The Secret Circle's first episode doesn't offer much beyond all this plotty set-up. Specifically, it's missing what made other supernatural shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Supernatural successful: funny, quirky, and layered characters.
  13. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 14, 2011
    70
    The Secret Circle does exactly what you expect it to do, yet that efficiency ends up being refreshing rather than maddening.
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Sep 12, 2011
    40
    It's the entire supernatural teen-soap-opera template, but the execution is rushed and chintzy, without the languorous gloss that makes "The Vampire Diaries" worthwhile.
  15. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 15, 2011
    40
    To say Secret Circle isn't spellbinding is an understatement. Originality and surprise are the main ingredients missing from this tepid witches' brew.
  16. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Sep 15, 2011
    42
    Secret Circle, replete with The CW's usual heavy doses of sappy pop music mood-ruiners, eventually gets around to outlining its basic plot point.
  17. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Sep 14, 2011
    50
    What they get is Diaries' less attractive little sister, one that, beneath all the witchcraft, is just another CW teen-driven soap.
  18. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 12, 2011
    50
    As usual, it's a new kid who provides a wide-eyed introduction to the shenanigans, though nothing in the pilot conjures any genuine magic, TV-wise.
  19. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 15, 2011
    16
    Based on a book series from the same author who ginned up The Vampire Diaries and drawing upon every market-tested trope the witchy-poo genre has to offer.
  20. Reviewed by: Mikey O'Connell
    Sep 15, 2011
    70
    Anxious fans should be pleased, and curious viewers outside the usual demographic might even be surprised.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 25
  2. Negative: 5 out of 25
  1. Nov 3, 2011
    1
    Following in the trend of some other recent shows this series sees late 20 year olds cast as 16-18 year old school kids, and it just doesn't work. The plot is almost completely different to the books and like Vampire Diaries is mainly just and excuse to use a well known authors following to garner more viewers. There is little chemistry between the various actors and actresses and none of them are particularly endearing. The effects are are nothing new and the show comes over more like BH90210 than as similar to it's sister show Vampire Diaries. Full Review »
  2. Apr 30, 2012
    2
    This really is the most CW'ish show ever. Its like gossip girl with magic or Harry Potter if it was written by Stephanie Meyer. The characters are all so teen'ish and its all about their high school issues and conflicts. There is nothing to drive the plot along so its just so slow and boring. Unless you are a 14 year old girl or just want to see attractive characters going to school in somewhat slutty outfits, avoid it. Full Review »
  3. Dec 11, 2011
    4
    This show can be entertaining if you can get past the bad acting and actually get interested in the story but the actors make that hard to do. They should of gotten better actors because there is so much potential for this show and not to mention killing off the best actor they had, bad ideas writers. Overall their moving this plot tooooooo quickly and trying to force it on us. And coming on after the vampire diaries Is a bad thing. Full Review »