It was this past Sunday at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour where the new and upcoming series Salem received some criticisms and also offered up some fairly provocative teases about the series which is set to premier Sunday April 20th.
The series is set in 17th century Salaem, Massachusetts, but is filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana. The series Salem is slightly off in regards to being correct in the history that has been previously taught in schools where we as children were taught to believe that the witch trials spawned out of people’s paranoia, and had nothing to do with any acts pertaining to the supernatural.
A press release stated that the series “re-examines the infamous witch trials of the time”, while Seth Gabel, former Fringe star, plays a local aristocrat/witch-hunter Cotton Mather, all of which was explained at the Television Critics Association. “It questions facts and perceptions and at the same time gives you access for understanding that the truth may be metaphorical.” Co-creator Brannon Braga (Star Trek: The Next Generation) stated “Our take is that witches were real, and that they were the ones running the trials.” On top of that the series will also be featuring male witches, actual witches, and accused ones as well. Braga took the opportunity to imply the projects is “Wuthering Heights meets the Exorcist“, explaining that Janet Montgomery (former star of Human Target) whose character marries Sibley makes a deal with the devil and the only way out of the deal is for her to find true love with John Alden (played by Nikita‘s Shane West).
You might think that the character Mary is just your run-of-the-mill corset-wearing 17th century woman longing to have a proper man in her life, but you should know that the producers have taken the time to promise viewers something else entirely in regards to Mary. Co-creator Adam Simon has described the character Mary to have some traits from both Lady Macbeth and Scarlett O’Hara and has said that she and the character Tituba are “particularly strong female characters that are more complicated, more ambiguous than any you’ve seen on TV. We’ve seen a lot of Tony Sopranos and Walter Whites, men we were fascinated by and loved even though they were led to some very terrible places, but we’ve almost never gotten to follow a woman through that journey.”
That being said, the hope is that Salem will be able to present a variety of characters who will possess a larger amount of freedom than most characters seen on television recently. Gabel has said, “As the series unfolds we will see that there is evil in people who are not witches, and there is good in the people who are.”