Salem (TV series)

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Salem - Title Card.png
Genre Supernatural fiction
Created by Brannon Braga
Adam Simon
Starring Janet Montgomery
Shane West
Seth Gabel
Tamzin Merchant
Ashley Madekwe
Elise Eberle
Iddo Goldberg
Xander Berkeley
Joe Doyle
Oliver Bell
Theme music composer Marilyn Manson
Tyler Bates
Opening theme "Cupid Carries a Gun" by Marilyn Manson
Composer(s) Tyler Bates
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Brannon Braga
David Von Ancken
Kelly Souders
Josh S. Barry
Jeff Kwatinetz
Joe Menosky
Elizabeth Sarnoff
Tricia Small
Adam Simon
Jon Harmon Feldman
Richard Shepard
Brian Wayne Peterson
Josh S. Barry
Producer(s) Brannon Braga
Coby Greenberg
David Von Ancken
Danielle Weinstock
Editor(s) Rick Tuber
Scott Boyd
Dan Liu
Carole Kravitz Aykanian
Monty DeGraff
John Duffy
Jo Francis
Nina Lucia
Misha Syeed
Location(s) Shreveport, Louisiana
Cinematography Mark Vargo
Michael Goi
Sarah Cawley
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) Beetlecod Productions
Prospect Park
Fox 21 (2014)
Fox 21 Television Studios (2015–present)
Distributor 20th Television
Original network WGN America
Original release April 20, 2014 (2014-04-20) – present
External links
Official website

Salem is an American supernatural fiction drama television series created by Brannon Braga and Adam Simon, inspired by the real Salem witch trials in the 17th century. The series stars Janet Montgomery as Mary Sibley, a powerful witch who controls the Salem witch trials by exemplifying hysteria among the puritans while executing her wicked plan of beginning the Grand Rite. Problems arise when her long lost love, John Alden (played by Shane West), returns to Salem, complicating Mary's plans. The show has elements of Horror and Gothic romance.

The series premiered on WGN America on April 20, 2014,[1] becoming the network's first original scripted series.[2] As the network's first and highest-rated series, it was renewed for a second season on May 15, 2014.[3] A third season was commissioned on July 11, 2015[4] and will premiere around Halloween 2016.[5]



The series first appeared as part of WGN America's development slate in July 2012, under the title Malice.[6] On June 4, 2013, WGN America bypassed the pilot stage and placed a series order for 13 episodes, under the new title Salem.[7] On November 8, 2013, filming of the series began in Shreveport, Louisiana, on an expansive set reflecting 17th-century Massachusetts.[8]

On May 15, 2014, Salem was renewed for a 13-episode second season by WGN America.[3][9][10]

On July 11, 2015, Salem was renewed for a 13-episode third season by WGN America.[4][11] It began production on January 21, 2016.[12]

Cast and characters[edit]


Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3
Janet Montgomery Mary Sibley Main
Shane West Captain John Alden Main
Seth Gabel Cotton Mather Main
Tamzin Merchant Anne Hale Main
Ashley Madekwe Tituba Main
Elise Eberle Mercy Lewis Main
Iddo Goldberg Isaac Walton Main
Xander Berkeley Magistrate Hale Main Guest
Oliver Bell John Guest Main
Joe Doyle Baron Sebastian von Marburg Main


Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3
Michael Mulheren George Sibley Recurring
Azure Parsons Gloriana Embry Recurring
Sammi Hanratty Dollie Trask Recurring
Stephen Lang Increase Mather Recurring Guest
Lucy Lawless Countess Ingrid Palatine von Marburg Recurring
Stuart Townsend Dr. Samuel Wainwright Recurring
Marilyn Manson[13] Thomas Dinley Recurring

Series overview[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 April 20, 2014 (2014-04-20) July 13, 2014 (2014-07-13)
2 13 April 5, 2015 (2015-04-05) June 28, 2015 (2015-06-28)
3 13 November 2, 2016[13] TBA

Season 1 (2014)[edit]

Main article: Salem (season 1)

Salem is a fictional story based on the infamous Salem witch trials of 17th century colonial Massachusetts, when the government was dominated by zealous Puritan leaders.[14] John Alden (Shane West) and Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery) find themselves in the middle of an epic romance, even as Puritan witch hunts engulf the town of Salem in hysteria, horror, and despair.[15]

Historically, Salem Village and Salem Town feuded over property, grazing rights and church rights. The government was dominated by Puritan leaders. People were scrutinized closely and this resulted in obvious discord. They were afraid of being persecuted for anything that may offend the Puritan mindset. The word "witch" seemed an easy and appropriate curse hurled at someone who behaved abnormally.[16]

Season 2 (2015)[edit]

Main article: Salem (season 2)

Future seasons[edit]

Adam Simon revealed in an exclusive interview with SpoilerTV that "We have a lot more story to tell -- that's for sure. The true Salem events are still only in their first months in our show -- the most important events haven’t even happened yet -- and they continued for nearly 2 years! And beyond that we’re excited about a whole supernatural twist on American history, even beyond the events at Salem, so fingers crossed there will be much, much more to come..."[17]


Casting announcements began in October 2013, with Ashley Madekwe first cast in the role of Tituba.[18] Seth Gabel was the next actor cast, in the regular role of Cotton Mather.[19] Janet Montgomery and Xander Berkeley were cast in the lead role of Mary Sibley and the role of Magistrate Hale, respectively.[20] Shane West later signed onto the series regular role of John Alden. Also cast was Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale.[21] Elise Eberle was later cast in the series regular role of Mercy Lewis.[22] On the June 1, 2014 episode, Stephen Lang joined the cast in the recurring role of Increase Mather.[23]

After the first season, Lucy Lawless and Stuart Townsend joined Salem recurring roles of Countess Marburg and Samuel Wainwright, respectively. Joe Doyle and Oliver Bell have also joined the second season in regular roles of Baron Sebastian Marburg and Mary's lost son, respectively.[24]


Home media[edit]

The first season was released on DVD in the United States on October 28, 2014 by Fox Home Entertainment.[25] The second season was released on DVD on April 5, 2016, and is manufactured by Amazon's CreateSpace MOD Program.[26]


Critical reception[edit]

Critical reaction to Salem has been mixed to positive, scoring 49 out of 100, based on 16 critic reviews, on Metacritic.[27] On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season scored 54%, with an average rating of 5.5 out of 10 based on 26 critic reviews, although 81% of audiences enjoyed the show.[28] Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times, upon reviewing the first season, said the show is "brash and well executed... perversely entertaining".[29] He went on to say that "when 'Salem' isn’t being deliberately outrageous, it's cultivating a dynamic that could be fruitful as things move along. Here in the 21st century, science and reason rule, but in a world of sorcery, clinging to rationality just makes you stupid." Mark Dawidziak of Plain Dealer gave the first few episodes a positive review, saying "Slowly drawing you into its heightened version of that Puritan community, 'Salem' casts its spell with an opening episode that is a witch's brew of romance, fear, deceit, revenge, hysteria, evil and uncertainty."[30] Gavin Hetherington of SpoilerTV gave the first season a glowing review, admiring its more realistic depiction of witches against other witch shows like Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and went on to say "For a first season, Salem did a very good job at setting up this world, the characters, the story, etc. There was always something happening and the danger got stronger and stronger until its brutal climax in the season's finale. The Grand Rite was a great plot point to build to and gave the show urgency, something to work towards and it never disappointed in its delivery. The writing was fantastic throughout, consistently building and introducing all kinds of magic that might have been a little bonkers and horrific, but was grounded."[31]

Upon reviewing several episodes of the second season, Gavin Hetherington of SpoilerTV has called Salem the "best goddamn show on TV right now."[32][33]


Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes Premiered Ended Average viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
Season 1 Sunday 10:00 pm 13 April 20, 2014 1.52[34] July 13, 2014 0.43[35] 1.7[36]
Season 2 13 April 5, 2015 0.51[37] June 28, 2015 0.34[38] 1.1[39]

The series premiere rose to 3.4 million viewers in Live+7 ratings, and had more than 1.5 million viewers in adults 18–49.[36]

The season two premiere rose 150% in adults 18–49 in Live+7 ratings, from 0.2 to 0.5,[40] while it rose to 1.5 million viewers in Live+3.[41] The second episode rose 300% from 0.1 to 0.4.[42]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2015 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards[43] Favorite Actress on Television Janet Montgomery Nominated
Saturn Awards[44] Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series Salem Nominated
2016 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards[45] Best TV Series Salem Nominated
Best TV Actress Janet Montgomery Nominated
Best TV Supporting Actor Seth Gabel Nominated
Best TV Supporting Actress Lucy Lawless Nominated
Best TV Make-Up/Creature FX Matthew Mungle, Clinton Wayne Nominated


  1. ^ "Shows A-Z - salem on wgn". Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ Bacardi, Francesca (December 19, 2013). "Watch WGN America's 'Salem' Teaser". Variety. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Eggersten, Chris (May 5, 2014). "Supernatural series is the network's first original scripted drama". HitFix. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Kondolojy, Amanda (July 11, 2015). "'Salem' Renewed for Third Season by WGN America". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 11, 2015. 
  5. ^ Eberle, Elise (April 5, 2016). "Elise Eberle's Tweet on Season 3 Premiere". Twitter. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Development Update: Thursday, July 12". The Futon Critic. July 12, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 4, 2013). "WGN America Greenlights Its First Original Scripted Series, Brannon Braga's 'Salem'". Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ "WGN America Announces Start of Production on First Original Scripted Series, "Salem"". The Futon Critic. November 8, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (January 28, 2015). "'Salem' Season Two Premieres Sunday, April 5 at 10PM". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  10. ^ "SALEM Season 2 Teaser Trailer". WGN America. 
  11. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 11, 2015). "Comic-Con: 'Salem' Renewed for Third Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 13, 2015. 
  12. ^ West, Shane (January 21, 2016). "Shane West on Twitter: "First day of work. Season 3."". Twitter. Retrieved January 23, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "'Salem' Season 3 Spoilers: New Witches, Cotton Is Not The New George Sibley, John Alden Changed — Will Mary Kill Her Son? Plus, The Tunnels Are Important". 
  14. ^ "SALEM: Witches Are Real". WGN America. 
  15. ^ "SALEM: An Introduction". WGN America. 
  16. ^ "Historical Aspects of Salem". WGN America. 
  17. ^ Hetherington, Gavin (June 23, 2015). "Salem - Adam Simon Exclusive Interview: Co-Creator Talks Season 2 Finale, Will There Be a Season 3 & So Much More!". SpoilerTV. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  18. ^ Masters, Megan (October 8, 2013). "TV Line Items: Revenge Vet's Witchy New Role, Idol Champ's CSI Gig, Lies Lands T.I. and More". TV Line. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  19. ^ Bucksbaum, Sydney (October 14, 2013). "'Fringe,' 'Arrow' alum Seth Gabel cast as lead role in 'Salem'". Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 28, 2013). "Janet Montgomery To Topline WGN America Drama Series 'Salem'". Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  21. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (November 1, 2013). "'Nikita's' Shane West Set as Male Lead in WGN America's 'Salem'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Development Update: Wednesday, November 6". The Futon Critic. November 6, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  23. ^ Team, The Deadline (18 April 2014). "Stephen Lang Joins WGN America's 'Salem'". 
  24. ^ Lesnick, Silas (January 14, 2015). "Salem Season Two Adds Lucy Lawless, Stuart Townsend and more". CraveOnline. 
  25. ^ Lambert, David (October 28, 2014). "Salem - A DVD Release for 'The Complete 1st Season' of the WGN America Series". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  26. ^ Lambert, David (March 25, 2016). "Salem - Catchy Cover Art Arrives for 'The Complete Season 2' on DVD". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Salem – Season 1". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Salem: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  29. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (April 27, 2014). "Once Again, Fires Burn and Cauldrons Bubble: 'Salem,' About You-Know-What, on WGN America". New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  30. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (April 18, 2014). "'Salem' casts an eerie spell with its story about witches". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  31. ^ Hetherington, Gavin (April 5, 2015). "Salem - The Series So Far Review: "Time for War, Heathens"". SpoilerTV. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  32. ^ Hetherington, Gavin (April 20, 2015). "Salem - From Within - Review: "By the Severing of Our Tongues"". SpoilerTV. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  33. ^ West, Shane (April 20, 2015). "Shane West on Twitter: "I can dig it"". Twitter. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Sunday's Cable Ratings & Broadcast Finals: "Game of Thrones" Tops Easter Demoss". The Futon Critic. April 22, 2014. 
  35. ^ SonoftheBronx (November 28, 2014). "In viewers, respectively: 476k, 465k, 591k, 432k "@mralphafreak viewership numbers for SALEM on May 25, June 22, June 29, and July 13?"" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  36. ^ a b "WGN America's Spellbinding Drama "Salem" Renewed for Second Season". The Futon Critic. May 5, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  37. ^ Cantor, Brian (April 7, 2015). "Ratings: WGN America's "Salem" Falls from Season One Premiere, Bests Finale". Headline Planet. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  38. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (June 30, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Sunday Cable Originals (& Network Update): 6.28.2015". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  39. ^ "WGN America's Spellbinding Original Drama "Salem" Renewed for Third Season". The Futon Critic. July 11, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  40. ^ "'Better Call Saul' Leads Adults 18-49 Gains, 'The Americans' Tops Percentage Increases in Live +7 Cable Ratings for Week 28 Ending April 5". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Impressive Gains for WGN America's 'Salem' Season Two in Live + 3 Viewing". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  42. ^ "'Better Call Saul' Leads Adults 18-49 & Viewership Gains, 'Salem' Tops Percentage Increases in Live +7 Cable Ratings for Week 29 Ending April 12". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  43. ^ Gingold, Michael (June 1, 2015). "The 2015 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Winners and Full Results!". Fangoria. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  44. ^ Blake, Emily (March 3, 2015). "2015 Saturn Awards: Captain America: Winter Soldier, Walking Dead lead nominees". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 13, 2015. 
  45. ^ "The 2016 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Winners and Full Results!". Fangoria. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 

External links[edit]