Salem Information

Salem is an American historical fantasy drama television series created by Adam Simon and Brannon Braga airing on WGN America beginning April 20, 2014. It is the first original-scripted series by WGN America. The series, which stars Janet Montgomery and Shane West, is inspired by the real Salem witch trials in the 17th century. On May 5, 2014, Salem was renewed for a thirteen episode second season.

Series overview

Salem is a fictional story of the infamous Salem witch trials, which were not the last, 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 the "real witches" who were a part of day-to-day life, but were not who or what they seemed to be. John (Shane West) and Mary (Janet Montgomery) find themselves in the middle of an epic romance, even as Puritan witch hunts engulf the town 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.

Cast and characters

Main cast

  • Janet Montgomery as Mary Sibley, 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, a well-educated town's 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.

Recurring cast

  • Stephen Lang as Increase Mather, 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.
  • Michael Mulheren as George Sibley, the ailing, wealthy head of the Selectmen of Salem, spelled by Tituba and his wife Mary. He marked Isaac Walton as a fornicator.
  • Azure Parsons as Gloriana, a prostitute and Cotton's lover, banished from Salem by his father Increase Mather.

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. The series was created by Adam Simon and Brannon Braga, who also serve as executive producers alongside Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry. On November 8, 2013, filming of the series began in Shreveport, Louisiana, on an expansive set reflecting 17th century Massachusetts.


Casting announcements began in October 2013, with Ashley Madekwe first cast in the role of Tituba, Mary Sibley's alluring and mysterious right-hand woman. Seth Gabel was the next actor cast, in the series regular role of Cotton Mather, a local aristocrat who oversees the witch hunts in Salem. Janet Montgomery and Xander Berkeley were then cast in the series, with Montgomery cast in the lead role of Mary Sibley, the most powerful witch in Salem and the wife of the wealthy Selectman George Sibley. Berkley joined in the role of Magistrate Hale, one of Salem's Selectman. Shane West later signed onto the series regular role of John Alden, a hardened veteran of war and captivity who is consumed into the Witch Hunt of Salem. Also cast was Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale, a talented artist who finds an attraction to John upon his arrival in Salem. Elise Eberle was the last actor cast in the series regular role of Mercy Lewis, Reverend Lewis' powerful thought-to-be-possessed daughter. On the June 1, 2014 episode, Stephen Lang joined the cast in the recurring role of Increase Mather, the father of Cotton Mather and even more fanatical witch-hunter.


Season 1 (2014)

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U.S. viewers
ProdCode = 1WAT01 Viewers = 1.52 ShortSummary = Mary is a young, unwed girl pregnant with John Alden's baby in Salem, a Puritanical town. Believing her lover John has died in the war, she is now faced with the Puritans' stocks and forehead branding, or giving her and John's child to the devil. Having chosen the latter, she marries the town's richest and most influential selectman George Sibley, claiming his wealth and power for herself by enslaving him. Reverend Cotton Mather is trying to stop witches from taking over America by killing them. John returns home to witness a witch-hunt, wherein Mary plans to use the trials to get Puritans to kill each other, allowing her to rule Salem. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT02 Viewers = 0.77 ShortSummary = John investigates what is really going on in Salem as the witch panic rises. Mary remembers the night she killed her and John's child. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT03 Viewers = 0.44 ShortSummary = Mary discovers that John and Isaac interrupted the witches' ceremony. After Isaac is imprisoned, she presses Magistrate Hale to stop doing things behind her back. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT04 Viewers = 0.32 ShortSummary = Mercy Lewis frees herself of Mary's control by removing the familiar creature from within. John again steps in the way of witches' plans. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT05 Viewers = 0.50 ShortSummary = Rose tries to get rid of John by learning his past secret from the war with the help of Mary's servant Tituba, who plans to claim Mary's power for herself. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT06 Viewers = ShortSummary = The main witch, Rose, gets her throat slit by Mary's new apprentice Mercy Lewis; getting Mary on top of the hierarchy. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT07 Viewers = 0.54 ShortSummary = John discovers the world of dreams. Mary rediscovers her passion for John. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT08 Viewers = 0.57 ShortSummary = Reverend Increase Mather restores the witch hunt. George Sibley removes the familiar creature from within and is taken under Increase's care, putting Mary's life at risk. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT09 Viewers = 0.49 ShortSummary = Mercy helps George Sibley remain quiet. She also implicates Tituba of being a witch, causing Increase to arrest her and helping Mary from the same implication. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT10 Viewers = ShortSummary = Tituba gives Mercy's and Mary's names to Increase to save herself from his torture, after which Increase orders an arrest of John Alden for witchcraft. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT11 Viewers = ShortSummary = Mary tries to kill Increase, while he tries to figure out Mary's weaknesses. Magistrate Hale reveals to his daughter Anne that she too is a witch. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT12 Viewers = ShortSummary = Increase prosecutes John while Cotton defends him. Mercy's girls testify against John under Increase's blackmail, but he still hangs them. Increase then reveals that John is a traitor and a murderer as he killed the New England militia men after their unprovoked slaughter of the non-rival Mohawk Tribe who rescued John from injuries after his battle against the Indians. Mary enters John's cell the night before he is to be hanged, and with a kiss she transports him through spacetime to the forest in the morning. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

ProdCode = 1WAT13 Viewers = ShortSummary = Cotton Mather kills Increase, thus starting death on a mass scale under Mercy's leadership. Mary reunites with her and John's child, who she thought died that night in the forest. LineColor = 85BB65 }}

Season 2 (2015)

On May 15, 2014, Salem was renewed for a thirteen episode second season.

Critical reception

Salem scored 50 out of 100 based on 16 critic reviews on Metacritic. More popular with fans than critics, Salem averaged 6.8 out of 10 on Metacritic and 7.2 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Data Base. On Rotten Tomatoes, it scored 54% with an average rating of 5.5 out of 10 based on 26 critic reviews.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Salem_%28TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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