I heard about this series through a colleague, we both were talking about the series we watch and how amazing they are and she repeatedly squealed about this series,“Salem”. Strange name, I kept thinking to myself and then I asked her for the story-line, she explained and it caught my attention. So apparently, the series is based on the historical real “Salem Witch Trials” of Massachusetts in the 17th century. It’s a real story of a series of prosecutions and hearing of suspected witches. With a 17th century setting; the series is detailed with corsets, carriages, deliberate and articulate English that almost sound like spoken art. The “decency” in dressing and mannerism, yet the accompanied “impropriety” of some actions, I can tell you, is fascinating to say the least. I will get into the witch part in a minute.
The pilot episode was a deterrent for me; it starts with a very graphic display of witchcraft, sounds, visuals and the works while Mary’s (Janet Montgomery) baby is sacrificed to the devil. For me, the theatrics was excessive, at first. I wasn’t scared or anything, I just wasn’t into chants and beasts and flashing lights, so I stopped it. Okay, maybe I was a little scared. Made a mental note not to watch it again but I kept asking for updates from my colleague on the new turns and twists in the story and I got interested all over again. I decided to try watching it again and this time I skipped the pilot episode and went straight to the second episode.
The story is about Mary Sibley, wife of George Sibley, a witch – one can argue not by choice. She lives a double life as a witch and a powerful person of Salem as she champions the prosecution of witches. She also was once pregnant for John Olden who went away to war without knowing she carried his baby, and then he came back from war and the fun part began.
It was amazing, the speed at which the story picks and continues to gain momentum, it’s almost like you can’t keep up. It is quite enthralling; some characters will blow your mind. Merci Lewis, the rebel child, Stephen Lang as Increase Mather, the psycho Witch Hunter. Some characters like Merci Lewis acted by Elise Eberle start out inconspicuous at first but somehow take the spotlight of the entire story. I find myself thinking of Mrs. Sibly and her maid, Tituba and her spit drooling husband George Sibly with the live frog in his throat, while I’m going through my daily routine affairs. I love not just the scripting, but the set and bizarreness of the story, I mean at some point Mrs. Sibly was feeding a frog with a nipple on her thigh! What’s more bizarre!
Although it seems a bit low budget, I find the metaphysical bits fascinating to say the least. It is a strange series because I find myself rooting for the witch, who by the way kills innocent people. What is most peculiar for me with this show is how you can see how misconceptions can easily arise, and how people usually have a “sheeple” mentality. The arbitrary accusation of witchcraft in Salem and the molding of truth to make a glorious lie and don’t forget paranoia. It’s also funny how the people of Salem were so easily manipulated and how trust can turn out to be a terrible thing. It also shows how some choices can seem as though life literally is playing say uncle with you, but that doesn’t absolve you of the consequences when you do.
Overall, I love it, it is very entertaining and I’m trying not to step on the minefield of spoilers for anyone reading this. I’d suggest it to anyone if 1. You’re into really graphic stuff that can be scary and 2. If you don’t mind the idea of rooting for a witch. Although only one season is available and there is the fear of it being cancelled (my heart has been broken in this respect a few times before, “remember flash-forward?” yeah, that.), I’m looking forward to season two which has actually been approved for renewal, so no broken hearts anytime soon. I have my fears for the show as season one literally ended in a climax, and it is usually a descent after. I’m looking forward to the twists, I hope they are as entertaining as the first season and I’m looking forward to Mrs. Sibly paying for her actions. I’m also particularly looking forward to John Olden (Shane West), and I suspect something with him. I’m looking forward most especially to one particular girl who was confident she hated witches till she found out she was one, the brutal way.
Salem airs on WGN
*submitted by Maria in Lagos, Nigeria