WGN America is branching out into the world of scripted television and taking viewers back to 17th century Massachusetts in the new drama, Salem. In this re-imagined version of the Salem Witch Trials, a dark period in American history has now become a seductive opportunity for the network to make its mark in the supernatural genre.
Salem, starring Nikita’s Shane West, explores a bold new world where witches run the show. According to creator Brannon Braga, who’s also serving as an executive producer on the project, the premise is based on the idea that not only were witches real, but they were working in cahoots with their persecutors during the trials for reasons that will become clear later on.
Although there’s been a slight backlash from TV critics concerning the possible re-writing of history, executive producer Adam Simon defends the show, stating that there was a widespread belief during that time period that witches did indeed exist. As for the argument that Salem marginalizes a grave social injustice and exploits it, Simon instead argues that the show is simply offering viewers an alternate version of events, a retelling that is still very much rooted in history.
Whether Salem is presenting viewers with the facts or not, we have to admit that the show indeed looks promising. If the latest trailer, which you can check out below, is any indication, West is on top of his game in this new role. The actor will play John Alden, a war veteran who was held captive by the Indians and only recently returned to “civilization.”
Along with West, Salem stars Janet Montgomery as the influential Mary Sibley, Seth Gabel as Cotton Mather, head of the witch hunters, and Tamzin Merchant (The Tudors) as artist Anne Hale.
Salem premieres Sunday, April 20. Are you intrigued enough to check it out?