It hit me tonight what bugs me about Secret Circle over Vampire Diaries, and why I prefer the latter.
Both are similar in nature, both have supernatural elements, and teen angst, all of which is fine. Heck, that's almost the recipe for classic X-Men and/or New Mutants, and even some Legion.
But the thing with SC, I think, is that the supernatural is just kinda there, while the supernatural is a part of and in service of the teen angst on Diaries. On Secret Circle, they're just angsty because they're teens, and that's what they do. It's more normal angsting, and not because of their particular circumstances. For the most part, there are a few exceptions.
And both approaches are fine! And I *do* like Secret Circle, it's just I'm more interested when things are a more cohesive whole, and right now at least, the later show is more like two separate things doing their thing.