Salem (TV series)
|Created by||Brannon Braga
|Theme music composer||Marilyn Manson
|Opening theme||"Cupid Carries a Gun" by Marilyn Manson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26 (list of episodes)|
David Von Ancken
|Running time||45 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Fox 21 (2014)
Fox 21 Television Studios (2015-)
|Original channel||WGN America|
|Original release||April 20, 2014– present|
Salem is an American supernatural fiction drama television series created by Brannon Braga and Adam Simon, airing on WGN America starting April 20, 2014. It is the first original-scripted series distributed by WGN America. The series, starring Janet Montgomery and Shane West, is inspired by the real Salem witch trials in the 17th century.
Salem is a fictional story based on the infamous Salem witch trials in the 17th century in colonial Massachusetts, when the government was dominated by Puritan leaders. It questions whether the Puritans were right in their actions, whether the people punished were innocent, and centers on powerful figures who controlled day-to-day lives of ordinary people, but were not who they appeared to be. 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.
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.
Development and production
The series first appeared as part of WGN America's development slate in July 2012, under the title Malice. On June 4, 2013, WGN America bypassed the pilot stage and placed a series order for 13 episodes, under the new title Salem. On November 8, 2013, filming of the series began in Shreveport, Louisiana, on an expansive set reflecting 17th-century Massachusetts.
Cast and characters
|Janet Montgomery||Mary Sibley||Main||TBA|
|Shane West||Captain John Alden||Main|
|Seth Gabel||Cotton Mather||Main|
|Tamzin Merchant||Anne Hale||Main|
|Elise Eberle||Mercy Lewis||Main|
|Iddo Goldberg||Isaac Walton||Main|
|Xander Berkeley||Magistrate Hale||Main||Guest||TBA|
|Joe Doyle||Baron Sebastian von Marburg||Main|
- Janet Montgomery as Mary Sibley (née Walcott), wife of George Sibley and a witch, whose double life of love threatens her position of power in Salem. She once carried John Alden's baby and still has strong feelings for him.
- Shane West as Captain John Alden, a war veteran and Mary's lover, who returned home as the voice of reason and defender of innocent victims in the middle of Salem's witch panic.
- Seth Gabel as Cotton Mather, Salem's well-educated reverend and John Alden's friend. Changed by the local sex-worker Gloriana, with whom he was in love, Cotton stopped Salem's witch-hunts.
- Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale, a rebel witch and a talented young artist. Like Cotton Mather, she too is determined to prevent unnecessary deaths.
- Ashley Madekwe as Tituba, the witch who controls Mary. She convinced Mary to give her and John's baby to the devil.
- Elise Eberle as Mercy Lewis, a girl once tormented by Mary Sibley's witchcraft. Mary later turned her into a witch.
- Iddo Goldberg as Isaac Walton, the wisest person in Salem. As a punishment for his fornications from his past, he was once charged with cleaning the town's waste and removing dead bodies.
- Xander Berkeley as Magistrate Hale, a witch and a chief politician in Salem. He was killed by his daughter Anne, who wants to help save the people of Salem from unnecessary deaths.
- Joe Doyle as Baron Sebastian von Marburg, the charming son of Countess Marburg.
- Oliver Bell as John, Mary and John's long lost son.
- Stephen Lang as Increase Mather (seasons 1–2), reverend, Cotton Mather's father, and a fanatical witch-hunter. He was killed by his son Cotton, determined to prevent more deaths resulting from witch-hunts. He was subsequently brought back from the dead by Mary Sibley to defeat Countess Marburg.
- Michael Mulheren as George Sibley (seasons 1–2), the ailing, wealthy head of the Selectmen of Salem, spelled by Tituba and his wife Mary. He marked Isaac Walton as a fornicator.
- Sammi Hanratty as Dollie (seasons 1–2), Mercy's closest friend and follower.
- Azure Parsons as Gloriana (season 1), a prostitute and Cotton's lover, banished from Salem by his father Increase Mather.
- Lucy Lawless as Countess Palatine Ingrid von Marburg (season 2), one of the remaining survivors of ancient German witches, also known as Bathory, Medea and Hecate - Greek goddess of witchcraft.
- Stuart Townsend as Dr. Samuel Wainwright (season 2), a doctor, summoned to Salem to find a cure for the disease plaguing the town. Wainwright also had an affair with Mary and wished to become a warlock. This, in turn, made Sebastian jealous of his and Mary's relationship, which led to Sebastian pushing Wainwright into the pits of hell, killing him.
Casting announcements began in October 2013, with Ashley Madekwe first cast in the role of Tituba. Seth Gabel was the next actor cast, in the regular role of Cotton Mather. Janet Montgomery and Xander Berkeley were cast in the lead role of Mary Sibley and the role of Magistrate Hale, respectively. Shane West later signed onto the series regular role of John Alden. Also cast was Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale. Elise Eberle was later cast in the series regular role of Mercy Lewis. On the June 1, 2014 episode, Stephen Lang joined the cast in the recurring role of Increase Mather.
After the first season, Lucy Lawless and Stuart Townsend have joined Salem in the 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.
Salem scored 49 out of 100, based on 16 critic reviews on Metacritic. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season scored 54%, with an average rating of 5.5 out of 10 based on 26 critic reviews. Upon reviewing several episodes of the second season, Gavin Hetherington of SpoilerTV has called Salem the "best goddamn show on TV right now."
|2015||Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Favorite Actress on Television||Janet Montgomery||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series||Salem||Nominated|
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- "WGN America Announces Start of Production on First Original Scripted Series, "Salem"". The Futon Critic. November 8, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
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- "SALEM Season 2 Teaser Trailer". WGN America.
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- Stephen Lang Joins WGN America's 'Salem'
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- West, Shane (April 20, 2015). "Shane West on Twitter: "I can dig it"". Twitter. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- "'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.
- "'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.
- Gingold, Michael (June 1, 2015). "The 2015 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Winners and Full Results!". Fangoria.
- Blake, Emily (March 3, 2015). "2015 Saturn Awards: Captain America: Winter Soldier, Walking Dead lead nominees". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 13, 2015.