Horror fans are in for a real treat with WGN's first original scripted drama Salem.
Viewers will be transported to the 17th century where the danger of witchcraft was almost as destructive as the accusation itself. Producers are calling the show Wuthering Heights meets The Exorcist.
Series creator Brannon Braga (24, Star Trek: The Next Generation) has teamed up with Director David Von Ancken (Hell on Wheels) to recreate one of the most notorious periods in American history; the Salem Witch trials.That being said don’t expect the show to be a paint-by-numbers recreation; Braga and Von Ancken plan to take some dramatic license to keep their narrative humming along.
When main character John Alden, Shane West (Nikita) returns to Salem from the French Indian War he finds the town has changed not just by the suggestions of witchcraft but by real black magic. Throw in Janet Montgomery as Mary, Xander Berkeley (Nikita) as Magistrate Hale, Seth Gabel (Arrow, Fringe) as Cotton Mather, and Ashley Madekwe (Scandal) as Tituba and you’ve got a pretty solid cast. The production’s attention to detail demanded it recreate the Iconic town in a massive set in the rural Louisiana town of Grand Cane, where over two dozen buildings stand as the new Salem. Built in just over two months and designed by Seth Reed, the painstakingly detailed set is a marvel to see.
Certainly Salem is treading some familiar ground with TV viewers as shows like American Horror Story, Grimm, and Sleepy Hollow have captured fantasy fan’s imaginations, but WGN is betting that public appetite for these kinds of stories is still high. The producers are also betting that the historical liberties they are taking with history will yield a dramatic power that will push the show past its possessions and magic premise. So while you might consider yourself an expert in 17th century witchcraft lore, this show promises to transport you to an era that still has its share of surprises.
Salem premiered on Sunday, April 20 at 10:00 p.m. EST / 9:00 CT.