WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope you enjoyed this content. Be sure to share it with family and friends you think will enjoy it as well.

TV Series Review

Cassie Blake is a real witch.

I'm not just being mean. She really is a witch. She's proud of it, in fact. She'd brag about it if she could … only, she and her circle of witch friends are sorta—well, secret.

Apparently, being a witch is a family tradition. Her mother's a witch—or was, until she died in a horrific fire. Her grandmother's a witch, and now serves as Cassie's guardian in the quaint-but-mysterious town of Chance Harbor, Wash. One suspects that, when the extended Blake clan gets together, all dinners are cooked by cauldron and all dishes are cleaned by walking brooms.

But Cassie has no time to dilly-dally at family get-togethers. She's quite busy hanging with her witchy pals, creating something of an occult clique: Instead of going to high school football games or playing LittleBigPlanet, these kids spend their free time casting spells, lighting candles and fighting demons.

Oh, and having sex. Let's not forget that. These high schoolers have no moral qualms at all about sleeping with one another, and the CW has no qualms about showing as much as the censors will allow. Passionate make-out sessions, often featuring teen characters in a state of partial undress, seems to be a standard feature of The Secret Circle, as the narrative offers a hint of homosexuality here or an allusion to other risqué sexual escapades there.

We can assume that Cassie and her friends—queen bee Diana, mean girl Faye, sycophantic Melissa and Diana's beau Adam (who, naturally, also has a thing for Cassie)—do find time to go to class, though we rarely see them there. And they have home lives, too, though parents provide about as much familial guidance as mammy and pappy rattlesnakes.

Indeed, some of the parents in The Secret Circle are not just disengaged from their children (not uncommon for CW's teen-centric shows), they're out-and-out malevolent. While Cassie's mother did her best to protect her daughter from her own witchcrafty past (and might've gotten herself killed as a result), Diana's father (Charles Meade) and Faye's mother (Dawn Chamberlain, the high school principal) are both witches who've lost most of their powers by verdict of the "Elders"—apparently folks who punish witches for abusing their abilities. But these adults are undaunted, and now hope to use their kids' juvenile dabbling to somehow recharge their own magical stores.

As you can see, The Secret Circle (based on a teen lit series written by L.J. Smith) has issues. But it's not entirely bad. Between spells, Cassie and her grandmother, Jane, model some pretty decent family dynamics. Jane encourages Cassie to trust her and allow her to dispense grandmotherly advice now and then. She wants to be a safe harbor in Cassie's stormy life.

"There's nothing you can't talk to me about," Jane tells her. "You know that, right?"

And Cassie, to her credit, accepts her grandmother's help. Thus, the series shows viewers that a healthy family isn't magic: It's a process constantly being built and replenished through nothing more mystical than trust and love. Moreover, Jane stresses to Cassie that magic can be, frankly, more trouble than it's worth.

"It's dangerous," she says. "And it attracts darkness."

True enough. The magic here feels more medieval than that of Harry Potter, more malignant than you'll find in The Lord of the Rings. There's still a naturalistic component to it—these teens are apparently imbued with special spell-casting genes—but the spells themselves feel overtly occult-like, stocked with special ingredients and overlaid with incantations. They're often cast through the coven, rather than individually, making this form of witchcraft seem more native to Salem than Hogwarts.

That sounds serious. But this show isn't. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, about a century ago it seems, used horror tropes and occult trappings as metaphors to explore the mysterious, frightening world of high school. In the hands of Dawson's Creek and  Scream scribe Kevin Williamson, The Secret Circle has no such pretensions. It is superficial. It is shallow. It is about hormonal teenage witches. 'Nuff said.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

SecretCircle: 10132011

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Select a genre below to view additional content

DramaSci-Fi/Fantasy

Author

Cast

Britt Robertson as Cassie Blake; Thomas Dekker as Adam; Shelley Hennig as Diana Meade; Phoebe Tonkin as Faye Chamberlain; Jessica Parker Kennedy as Melissa Glaser; Gale Harold as Charles Meade; Natasha Henstridge as Dawn Chamberlain; Ashley Crow as Jane Blake

Director

Distributor

Network

CW

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope you enjoyed this content. Be sure to share it with family and friends you think will enjoy it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!