'Secret Circle' EP On Season One Hits & Misses
The Secret Circle season one finale airs tomorrow night, capping off an uneven 22 episode run that swung violently between stellar highs and laughable lows -- but that's totally typical in your average freshman series as the cast and crew attempt to navigate treacherous inaugural waters.
In anticipation of the finale, titled Family, I caught up with Secret Circle EP Andrew Miller for a refreshingly frank conversation about the mistakes that were made, the opportunities that were missed and the moments that made this season utterly incredible.
Insider.com: Secret Circle was the first network series you executive produced -- now that it's said and done, how do you feel about the 22 episodes?
Andrew Miller: Ultimately, incredible. It's harder than I thought but I had an inordinate amount of support – I had a cast that you dream about, an incredible writing staff, a crew in Vancouver that constantly made what we wrote better and so much support from the network. Everyone was conspiring to make my job easier and to make the show better – I had the good sense to let them do it.
Insider: What was the hardest part of bringing Secret Circle to the screen for you?
Andrew: The hardest part of this show is also the best part of this show: struggling to tell a serialized story that stays compelling week-to-week, but also moves forward without getting stupid. And there are things you simply can't anticipate in the writer's room while plotting a season -- like those moments where you realize, "Oh sh*t, look how funny Phoebe Tonkin is?" Or seeing that Shelley Hennig could be the star of a romantic comedy! And who knew Britt Robertson could be so evil?!? It's easy to fall into little traps and sometimes you just miss story opportunities or don't see relationships blossoming until a week after you need to.
Insider: What do you think the biggest missed opportunities of season one were?
Andrew: I wish we had taken more time to explore Jake's relationship with Isaac. There was some Jake backstory with the witch hunters that I wished we had explored further. Jessica Parker Kennedy is such a talented actress, and I was so proud of her work with Nick – that character was such a douche but in a funny way, that brought out the best in Melissa. I wish we were able to capitalize on that better.
Insider: The last few episodes have been some of the season's best -- is that a result of perfectly laid plans coming to fruition or just everyone settling into a groove?
Andrew: I think it's both. When we started out there was so much ground to cover and it took a while for us as writers and the characters to open themselves up to the fun of magic. I wish we had done that a bit earlier. From a character point of view, opening that world sooner was hard. I think that's clicked into place in these last few episodes. Initially the idea of the show was The Scooby Gang together on every case so we weren't able to do that. In these last stretch of episodes, everything was able to breathe more.
Insider: With tomorrow's finale, how much time did you want to spend resolving season one issues and how much time did you want to spend setting up season two, should The CW renew?
Andrew: I'm such a TV geek that I can only do it in the way I crave it from shows I love – you need to resolve what I've been watching for a year but I also want to be titillated about next year. We're really closing a chapter on this story – we started with this mystery from 16 years ago, it has weaved all the way through and the kids will truly come face to face with what happened 16 years ago in the finale. The past catches up to the present in a very real and dire way. From there, it propels them into a very uncertain future. It both answers the questions we've been setting up and also pushes the show in a really fun way for the what's next question.
Insider: So season two would, in theory, be much less about the past?
Andrew: Absolutely. I think that their parents will always tie in, but the nature of it will change. Their past and the past of witchcraft as it came through Chance Harbor plays in season two, but it's not about the fire and boatyard.
Insider: Looking back, what was your favorite episode from season one?
Andrew: The episode I'm most proud of is Witness (where Cassie went into Jake's blocked memories) – we live in a crazy world where The CW was not only supportive but encouraging of doing a really weird episode like that. Also, the Valentine's Day episode (Valentine) – that was just pure fun. One felt like we were taking story risks and the other was a pedal to the metal, pillow fight, kissing spell romp.
The Secret Circle airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on The CW.