Salem (TV series)

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GenreSupernatural horror
Created byBrannon Braga
Adam Simon
StarringJanet Montgomery
Shane West
Seth Gabel
Tamzin Merchant
Ashley Madekwe
Elise Eberle
Iddo Goldberg
Xander Berkeley
Joe Doyle
Oliver Bell
Theme music composerMarilyn Manson
Tyler Bates
Opening theme"Cupid Carries a Gun"
ComposerTyler Bates
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes36 (list of episodes)
Executive producersBrannon 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
ProducersBrannon Braga
Coby Greenberg
David Von Ancken
Danielle Weinstock
Production locationShreveport, Louisiana
CinematographyMark Vargo
Michael Goi
Sarah Cawley
EditorsRick Tuber
Scott Boyd
Dan Liu
Carole Kravitz Aykanian
Monty DeGraff
John Duffy
Jo Francis
Nina Lucia
Misha Syeed
Running time45 minutes
Production companiesBeetlecod Productions
Prospect Park (2014–15)
The Firm (2016–17)
Fox 21 (2014)
Fox 21 Television Studios (2015–17)
Original release
NetworkWGN America
ReleaseApril 20, 2014 (2014-04-20) –
January 25, 2017 (2017-01-25)

Salem is an American supernatural horror television series created by Brannon Braga and Adam Simon, loosely inspired by the real Salem witch trials in the 17th century.

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 premiered on November 2, 2016.[5] On December 13, 2016, it was announced that WGN had cancelled the show after three seasons, with the final episode airing on January 25, 2017.[6]

Plot overview[edit]

The series stars Janet Montgomery as Mary Sibley, a powerful witch who controls the Salem witch trials by exacerbating hysteria among the Puritans while executing her plan of summoning the Devil. Problems arise when her long lost love, John Alden (played by Shane West), returns to Salem, complicating Mary's plans. The show has prominent elements of Gothic romance.

Cast and characters[edit]


Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3
Janet Montgomery Mary Walcott/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 / the Devil (Samael) 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 Recurring
Sammi Hanratty Dollie Trask Recurring
Stephen Lang Increase Mather Recurring Guest
Lucy Lawless Countess Palatine Ingrid Von Marburg Recurring
Stuart Townsend Dr. Samuel Wainwright Recurring
Samuel Roukin The Sentinel / Beelzebub Recurring
Marilyn Manson[7] Thomas Dinley Recurring



The series first appeared as part of WGN America's development slate in July 2012, under the title Malice.[8] On June 4, 2013, WGN America bypassed the pilot stage and placed a series order for 13 episodes, under the new title Salem.[9] On November 8, 2013, filming of the series began in Shreveport, Louisiana, on an expansive set reflecting 17th-century Massachusetts.[10] On May 15, 2014, Salem was renewed for a 13-episode second season by WGN America.[3][11][12] On July 11, 2015, Salem was renewed for a 10-episode third season by WGN America.[4][13] It began production on January 21, 2016.[14] In December 2016, a month after the third-season premiere, it was announced that the series had been cancelled. Its series finale aired on January 25, 2017.[15]


Casting announcements began in October 2013, with Ashley Madekwe first cast in the role of Tituba.[16] Seth Gabel was the next actor cast, in the regular role of Cotton Mather.[17] Janet Montgomery and Xander Berkeley were cast in the lead role of Mary Sibley and the role of Magistrate Hale, respectively.[18] Shane West later signed onto the series regular role of John Alden.[clarification needed] Also cast was Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale.[19] Elise Eberle was later cast in the series regular role of Mercy Lewis.[20] On the June 1, 2014 episode, Stephen Lang joined the cast in the recurring role of Increase Mather.[21]

For the second season, Lucy Lawless and Stuart Townsend joined Salem in the recurring roles of Countess Marburg and Samuel Wainwright, respectively. Joe Doyle and Oliver Bell also joined the second season in regular roles of Baron Sebastian Marburg and Mary's lost son, respectively.[22] During the third season, singer Marilyn Manson joined the cast in a recurring role as barber and all-around problem solver Thomas Dinley.[23]


The majority of Salem's score was composed by Tyler Bates.[24] Bates selected "Cupid Carries a Gun", a song he co-wrote with Marilyn Manson and recorded by the band for their album The Pale Emperor, as the show's title track.[25]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113April 20, 2014 (2014-04-20)July 13, 2014 (2014-07-13)
213April 5, 2015 (2015-04-05)June 28, 2015 (2015-06-28)
310November 2, 2016 (2016-11-02)January 25, 2017 (2017-01-25)

Home media[edit]

The first season was released on DVD in the United States on October 28, 2014, by Fox Home Entertainment.[26] The second season was released on DVD on April 5, 2016, and is manufactured by Amazon's CreateSpace MOD Program.[27] As of November 2023, the third season has not been commercially released on DVD or Blu-ray in the United States. It was released on DVD in the United Kingdom and Australia,[28] and the complete series was released in a boxed set in Australia.[29]


Critical reception[edit]

Salem scored 49 out of 100 based on 16 critic reviews on Metacritic, which the site characterizes as "mixed or average reviews".[30] On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season scored 54% and an average rating of 5.5 out of 10 based on 26 critic reviews. The critical consensus reads: "While the horror scenes are well-executed, Salem lacks enough substance to sustain even a guilty-pleasure interest."[31] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times, upon reviewing the first season, said the show is "brash and well executed... perversely entertaining".[32] 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."[32] Mark Dawidziak of The 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."[33] Zack Handlin of The A.V. Club called the series "a collection of shallow stock characters and ramshackle plotting" that attempts tacky exploitation of a tragedy.[34] Brian Lowry wrote in Variety that although the series is not bad, it "plays like a rather flat supernatural soap".[35]


Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes Premiered Ended Average viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
Season 1 Sundays 10/9c 13 April 20, 2014 1.52[36] July 13, 2014 0.43[37] 1.7[38]
Season 2 13 April 5, 2015 0.51[39] June 28, 2015 0.34[40] 1.1[41]
Season 3 Wednesdays 9/8c 10 November 2, 2016 0.27[42] January 18, 2017 0.23[43] TBA

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.[38] The season two premiere rose 150% in adults 18–49 in Live+7 ratings, from 0.2 to 0.5,[44] while it rose to 1.5 million viewers in Live+3.[45] The second episode rose 300% from 0.1 to 0.4.[46]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2015 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards[47] Favorite Actress on Television Janet Montgomery Nominated
Saturn Awards[48] Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series Salem Nominated
2016 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards[49] Best TV Actress Janet Montgomery Nominated
Best TV Make-Up/Creature FX Matthew Mungle, Clinton Wayne Nominated
Best TV Series Salem Nominated
Best TV Supporting Actor Seth Gabel Nominated
Best TV Supporting Actress Lucy Lawless Nominated
2017 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards[50] Best TV SFX Matthew Mungle, Clinton Wayne Nominated
Best TV Supporting Actor Seth Gabel Nominated
Best TV Supporting Actress Tamzin Merchant 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. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  5. ^ "'Salem' Season 3 Premiere Date Revealed — Release Date". Release Date. August 11, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
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  7. ^ "'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". August 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Development Update: Thursday, July 12". The Futon Critic. July 12, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
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  10. ^ "WGN America Announces Start of Production on First Original Scripted Series, "Salem"". The Futon Critic. November 8, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  11. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (January 28, 2015). "'Salem' Season Two Premieres Sunday, April 5 at 10PM". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "SALEM Season 2 Teaser Trailer". WGN America.
  13. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 11, 2015). "Comic-Con: 'Salem' Renewed for Third Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  14. ^ West, Shane (January 21, 2016). "Shane West on Twitter: "First day of work. Season 3."". Twitter. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "'Salem' Cancelled: WGN America Show to End After Season 3". Variety. December 13, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  16. ^ 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.
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  21. ^ Team, The Deadline (April 18, 2014). "Stephen Lang Joins WGN America's 'Salem'".
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  27. ^ Lambert, David (March 25, 2016). "Salem - Catchy Cover Art Arrives for 'The Complete Season 2' on DVD". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on March 29, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  28. ^ "Salem: Season 3".
  29. ^ "Salem - The Complete Collection: Seasons 1-3".
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  36. ^ "Sunday's Cable Ratings & Broadcast Finals: "Game of Thrones" Tops Easter Demoss". The Futon Critic. April 22, 2014.
  37. ^ @SonoftheBronx (November 29, 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.
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  44. ^ "'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. Archived from the original on April 21, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  45. ^ "Impressive Gains for WGN America's 'Salem' Season Two in Live + 3 Viewing". TV By the Numbers. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  46. ^ "'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. Archived from the original on April 29, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  47. ^ Gingold, Michael (June 1, 2015). "The 2015 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Winners and Full Results!". Fangoria. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
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  49. ^ "The 2016 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Winners and Full Results!". Fangoria. May 10, 2016. Archived from the original on May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  50. ^ "Never mind Oscar, here's the 2017 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Nominees Ballot!". FANGORIA. Archived from the original on February 9, 2017. Retrieved February 14, 2017.

External links[edit]