"I don't know if you'll see that crossover episode," Kevin Williamson, who is the executive producer of both shows, said with finality at CW's fall TV previews Thursday. "I didn't want this show to look like The Vampire Diaries. You want this show to look like its own show. You want it to be its own world."
Williamson stressed that despite sharing some basic supernatural DNA, the two universes and their separate mythologies don't connect. "We would be tied to the werewolf and vampire lore and witchdom. That limits us. We need to start from ground zero and create our own story... so that we can tell just as good a story as Vampire Diaries."
Even though murder and villainy are nearly the norm on Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle will be a sinister story in other ways. "Our version of witchcraft is very dark," Williamson said. "It's certainly not that hard-edge, ripping hearts out and slicing people open the way we do in Vampire, but there's other ways to skin a cat."
Part of the series' darkness is connected to its adult themes. The show stars Britt Robertson as a suddenly orphaned girl who returns to her mother's hometown only to discover she is part of a secret coven of witches. The story will delve into the different generations of witches, whose motives aren't quite as innocent as the younger circle. "What I love about this show is the multigenerational," Williamson said. "I love the idea that it's not just a teen show, it's very much an adult show. The themes and ideas that are running through it, while they're young characters, it's going to get very adult very fast."
Even so, there is also a certain innocence to the characters' experiences. "Because of the age of these characters — they're not 140 years old [like on Vampire Diaries] — they're experiencing these things for the first time — first love, first betrayal, these friendships that will hopefully last forever," executive producer Andrew Miller said. "We're just trying to use the witchcraft as a backdrop to explore ... issues these kids are going through as they transition into adulthood and define themselves."
The Secret Circle premieres Thursday, Sept. 15 at 9/8c on the CW.