Sunday, October 2, 2011

We're enjoying THE SECRET CIRCLE on the CW. By episode 3, the characters and even the acting have got a bit more nuanced. We stuck with it because it gets magic mostly right: it's not waving around wands and shouting Latin, it's willpower and talent, and a coven has more power than a solo witch. It's not THE CRAFT, but it's warming up.

At the end of episode 2, the teen witches bind their circle, which in the show's mythology means that none of them can do any magic alone. It's a clever storytelling decision. In episode 2, one of the girls calls down elemental power. If you give any character too much power, it becomes hard to tell stories about her. What problem can she have that she can't magick her way out of?

That's why Superman is harder to make a nuanced story about than Batman. He's invulnerable, he can see through walls, he can destroy at a distance, and he can turn back time. Superman stories wind up being all about the villains and the obstacles. Either you need to afflict him with Kryptonite®, or put him up against an equally overpowered menace, or against an enemy he has a weakness to. Batman, thankfully, is only a man.

Magic has to have a cost, or a risk, in a story. I always liked how, in EXCALIBUR, magic exhausts Merlin. Elric's magic is powered by blood and souls. On SESAME STREET, Abby Cadabby's magic just never does what it's supposed to.

When you set out to tell a supernatural story, think long and hard about the rules by which you circumscribe your magic. They are the foundation on which you're building your tale.


Post a Comment

Back to The Circle Cast main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.

The Circle Cast Web Site