Waiting in line for "The Secret Circle" panel at Comic-Con turned out to be a lonely experience. When asking if the people around me were waiting to see a sneak preview of the new CW show, I was greeted with blank looks and awkward smiles. "I'm here for 'Nikita'" or "I just wanted to get here early for 'Mythbusters'" was the usual response. Though the show is about witches and is from Kevin Williamson, the mastermind behind swoony "The Vampire Diaries," clearly those fans were slow coming over from that show's panel in Ballroom 20.


So it shouldn't have come as a surprise that "The Secret Circle" was met with guffaws usually reserved for popular sitcoms. And, to be honest, some of the material in the pilot was unintentionally funny. The dark arts are a pretty good metaphor for sex, and when one character demands of her boyfriend, "You did magic with her?" with the indignation usually reserved for neglected housewives, the whole room broke into laughter. Otherwise, the "VD"-like charms of the show were likely lost on fanboys. Like "VD," this show is based on a series of books by the same author and many elements are similar. The orphaned girl hero, the super sexy bad villain (in this case, a female teen witch instead of a hot guy vampire), lots of longing looks between two characters kept tragically apart, that sort of thing. It might have been more strategic to schedule this panel a little closer to "Twilight"'s. 


The cast (Britt Robertson, Thomas Dekker, Phoebe Tonkin and Natasha Henstridge) might have been relieved that, once the episode was over, the Q&A session was less than ten minutes -- not even enough time for fans (or would be fans) to ask questions. 


The moderator did squeeze in a few, though. Will the series be similar to the books? "It's the same story with the 'Vampire Diaries,'" WIlliamson explained. "It's a great place to jump off from. There's love, romance, betrayal, murder, deceit and mayhem." 


But anyone hoping for a crossover with "The Vampire Diaries" will be disappointed. "They're two different worlds," Williamson said. "This is the beginning of a brand new story. These worlds do not intersect." But he added hopefully, 'If you like 'Vampire Diaries,' this is a show you might enjoy just as well.


Liane Bonin Starr is an author, screenwriter and former writer for EW.com. Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and a lot of other places. Her last book was called "a scandalously catty, guilty pleasure" by Jane magazine. Expect the same from Starr Raving.