I am taking a break from the regularly scheduled program to blog about The Secret Circle television series which premiered last week on CW. In a way, this is sort of related to my 30-day blogging challenge–in that it is about books made into a television series, but it’s not about a day in the life of this particular author.
I know that I am a week late, but I just watched the premiere of The Secret Circle. I had decided, long ago, not to watch this show after seeing the preview–I even tweeted about it. My first objection…the characters, with the exception of Cassie, look nothing like how Smith describe them in the book. Now, I understand the concept of creative license (I was able to get with the dark-haired Elena Gilbert when The Vampire Diaries premiere a couple of years ago. Though I still can’t understand why they went in that direction. Could they not find a blond that could act the part? Is Hollywood suddenly blond phobic? The only conclusion that I can reach is that they were trying to make Elena more like Bella, though only God knows why.) However, the liberties here seem too drastic, especially given the special link that Smith makes in the books between the characters, their ancestors, and their appearance (by the way, can we get Faye some honey-colored contacts? Almost twenty years later, and I still remember clearly that striking part of her description). My second objection, there are only six kids. What happen to the other six. I understand that a cast of twelve could potentially be unwieldy, but even in the books, about half of the circle were only fully developed. The rest were supporting characters at best. I feel like that is manageable. Anyway, these were my objections just from viewing the preview. Still, against my better judgement, I decided to give it a chance. Not one of my better ideas.
My objections only doubled after watching the premiere:
1. The setting: Why the heck is the show set in “Chance Harbor, Washington”. That doesn’t even make sense. What makes sense is setting the show in “New Salem” on the east coast, as in the books. Why does it make since? Because then, that 1692 date (which marks the beginning of the Salem Witch trials) makes sense. In 1692, Washington state would have been populated primarily by indigenous tribes…I don’t believe many European explorers had made it that far west year. The area certainly had not been colonized at that point. So, unless you are telling me that these so-called “Chance Harbor” witches are descendants of indigenous tribes that lived in the area in 1692–which actually might make the show a modicum more cool, though still not “The Secret Circle”–then, again, what the heck?!
2. The plot: So far as I can tell, there is nothing in this first episode that in away resembles the plot of the novels; well, except for the characters names. I won’t rehash the whole plot of the novel for you. You can find that elsewhere. Suffice to say, I watched in vain for some aspect of the books that I would recognize, but those moments were few and far between. The sad thing is that if they had followed the plot a little more, it probably would have made for a much more interesting premiere. Does anyone remember the witch hunters?
3. The characters: Did I mention appearance? I am sorry, but the appearance is so important. Here, it’s like the casting director didn’t even try. I miss Chris and Doug, the teal-eyed, weird twins. I miss Deborah, Sean, and even Suzan. In the books, they all had very distinctive characters and, as of right now, I could care less about any of the characters on the television show. Really, only Faye is believable (she still needs the contacts though.)
4. Their powers: The things that these kids could do in the book were cool, but somehow the representations of their powers on the screen just comes across as cheesy. Also, in the book, most of them had a specific element that they worked with. Faye’s was fire, and I think I remember Melanie being good with herbs. In this show, it’s just a free for all. And, really, Faye talking to the sky, saying make it rain. (I had a strip club joke here, but I will refrain). Gimme a break already.
So, I don’t think that I will be watching this show again. In my mind, it might as well be called “Some Random Witch Show.”
These two things have nothing in common.
The show has nothing to do with the plot or even the spirit of the original book series, so why even call it by the same name. By using the same name, the producers created a sense of expectation and assumed some degree of responsibility to the original text. They sorely disappointed all around. If they had called it “Some Random Witch Show,” maybe–though that’s a big maybe–I would have watched it again.
To bring it back around to the topic of the 30-day challenge, it just goes to show how success at this level is a double-edged sword. Sure, it is wonderful to imagine a television series or a movie; but what happens when your work gets optioned and turned into something that neither you nor your readers recognize. For every Harry Potter, which were generally pretty true to the books–there is a “The Seeker,” which basically mangled the first chapter in The Dark is Rising series (and you see they haven’t made another one). That’s why so many authors are gun-shy about having their work translated to film.
Anyway, it is something that I think about every now and again, when I have a moment to think.