As there’ll be witches in my next novel, I thought I’d better get to know as much as I could about witches. So, I watched the first season of Salem on Netflix, a supernatural horror series. I learned a lot!
The cast of Salem is very well chosen. Janet Montgomery plays Mary Sibley, the main character/witch whose features are beautiful and her soul ugly (or is it?), and Janet plays a good witch. Mary’s one true love, Captain John Alden, is played by Shane West. He has the rugged look of a man who’s been out there. There’s no nonsense to him, every word counts. Then there’s Tituba, the servant (slave?) of Mary, played by the beautiful Ashley Madekwe. I love, love Seth Gabel’s portrayal of the reverend Cotton Mather (where did they get those names from?). He is so believable and has such sorrowful eyes. If ever they decide to film my series Suckers, I’d be happy for him to play Charlie! (I know, he’s no dwarf, but still).
I also have to mention the other actors in the series who do a wonderful job of entertaining. There’s Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale (there’s more of her role to come, I’m sure!), Elise Every as Mercy Lewis, Iddo Goldberg as Isaac Walton, Xander Berkely as Magistrate Hale (his white long hair always reminds me of Lucius Malfoy), Michael Mulheren as George Sibley, Azure Parsons as Gloriana Embry, and Stephen Lang (remember him as Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar, the one talking about the indigenous having your eyes as jujubes?) as the scary Increase Mather.
The series starts off in the past. The past compared to when the bulk of the series is playing, of course. Mary and John are still young, and when John is sent to go fight in the war, Mary promises to wait for him until he returns next year. Fast forward seven years. John finally makes it back to Salem, only to find Mary has married the one man who sent him away. George Sibley has mysteriously lost his faculties, though, and Mary, now the most wealthy woman around, is running the town in his stead, refusing to give up her position to be with her former lover.
Unaware to most, witches are running Salem. Their goal: to take over and live in peace. But who is friend and who is foe? And is it all mind control or is there real magic going on here? You’ll have to watch the series to find out!
What I liked about Salem
I won’t lie. I like watching old costumes and pretty people and special effects make-up. Sometimes, I think I was born in the wrong time, but then again, maybe not! Back to the series. I liked the darkness of it. How the goodies are the bad guys, the bad guys are the good guys, and that everything is actually very grey overall.
I liked watching Cotton Mather’s frustration. I liked the power struggle going on between the witches and their attempts to keep it all under cover. I liked the way they suggested the lesbian relationship.
I also like the music they used in the series. The intro tune of Marilyn Manson’s Cupid Carries a Gun is very eerie.
What I didn’t like about Salem
Sometimes the acting wasn’t all that spectacular. Sometimes the scenes didn’t make sense. Sometimes the special effects were a bit fake. Yet this didn’t stop me from watching to find out what was coming next.
This is not a series for the faint at heart. It is gruesome, weird, shocking at some points. Yet there is hardly any nudity in it, for a change! I loved seeing something different, and I can’t wait to find out what they come up with in the second series.