The bad news: many shows have already aired their final episodes of 2011.
The good news: this means we can stop and assess them, as we've already done in midseason report cards for Grey's Anatomy (HERE) and The Vampire Diaries (HERE). Next up? The latter's Thursday night companion, The Secret Circle...
Best character: Faye. She was your basic bad girl to start the season, and was still a hoot to watch every week. But we're slowly peeling back this young witch's layers, as evidenced by her past with Jake and the fact that she's only slept with two guys. Just how much of this bitchy attitude is an act? Phoebe Tonkin has a blast making it unclear.
Worst character: Jane. I know, I know, she's been brain-washed and that sucks. But she's just sort of boring. She's also placing her granddaughter in danger. Do we really believe Jane doesn't know what went down 16 years ago? Fill Cassie in! Help her protect herself and her friends.
Best episode: "Slither." An easy choice. Creepy and truly shocking, this episode took the unexpected step of killing off a main character. It raised the stakes big time and made it clear no one is safe in Chance Harbor.
Worst episode: "Beneath." Just a bit boring. The game of Truth or Dare was interesting, and that Adam/Diana sex scene was hot... but nothing new was really revealed, as the episode spun its wheels a lot in order to eventually make it known that Faye's grandfather was dead.
Strangest subplot: The need for at least one girl to appear topless every week. Granted, the actresses are of legal age, but it's still been a bit odd. Melissa has been half naked on more than one occasion, Diana took off her shirt during the aforementioned game, Faye appeared in a bathtub. Why so prude, Cassie?!?
Hopes for 2012: First, a new cast photo. Come on, CW! If you're going to kill off a coven member, you must update your posters.
Second, even more from the older generations. Charles and Dawn have faded to the background a bit in recent weeks, which is a shame. I'm fascinated by their history and their plans for the future. Are they simply after power? Do they want to protect their kids? Is Charles just trying to make a private appointment with the principal (if you know what I mean!!!)? Many questions abound.
Finally, an expanded role for the witch hunters. There's tons of potential here. Are there others like Jake, anxious to kill their own kind? Who comprises the council? The Vampire Diaries has been enormously successful establishing recurring villains such as Katherine and Klaus. Would love to see the same thing happen here.