Currently playing on HULU from creators Brannon Braga and Adam Simon is the haunting series that has three exciting seasons when telling the story of terror in SALEM.
It is the 17th Century, and the puritanical town of Salem is experiencing the punishment for going against the church. Leading the way to seek out more punishment is George Sibley (Michael Mulheren) who seems to enjoy his leadership role. Not afraid of what is happening is John Alden (Shane West) and makes his feelings plain stopped only by his friend Giles Corey (Kevin Tighe). Going off to war he says a final goodbye to his love Mary (Janet Montgomery) and does not know that she is left behind to face motherhood.
Helping her is Tituba (Ashley Madekwe) and into the woods they go to do what is clearly against the church. Upon hearing the news of Johns death, Mary once again must make a decision that will change her life believing John has died. Imagine the surprise when years later John returns alive, and war torn. Drowning his sorrows, John finds himself helping Reverend Lewis (Thomas Murphy) with a little problem of the young Mercy Lewis (Elise Eberle) possession, but he does not believe in it.
Magistrate John Hale (Xander Berkeley) is trying to learn how Reverend Lewis plans to weed out the witches he claims are still among the people of Salem. Isaac (Iddo Goldberg) who was branded before the war, seeks out John and tells him that the witches are real. They need to look no further than Mary herself when she is responsible for the condition her husband George is in as an act of vengeance.
Hale’s daughter Anne (Tamzin Merchant) is fascinated by Captain John Alden and his experiences with the Indians. At a dinner hosted by Mary, she and John have a chance to be alone and talk about what has happened the past few years. Sad by it all, it is Tituba that reminds Mary of what she has gained and what she has to lose and, more importantly, what is to come during the night.
Reverend Lewis is working with a young girl tries to tell him who are the witches in Salem. Since she can not speak, Lewis chains her and takes her out among the townsfolk to point a finger at all those responsible with disastrous results. As John intends to leave Salem, Isaac shows him a hideousness in the night at the same time tat Tituba performs the Grand Rite with Mary. Now more lives are in danger!
When John learns that Giles is being punished by Lewis, he becomes enraged but what he does not know is that Mary has plans for Salem. Plotting to use a sad birth as a way to declare a religious war against the midwife and townspeople as everything that is deep and disturbing could very well be the end of the faithful of Salem.
Montgomery as Mary is a woman who had been living with a broken heart until the return of John Alden. One night in the woods turns a sweet young woman into something that will bring terror and mayhem to the town of Salem. Montgomery gives her character strength and the will to do what Tituba thinks necessary to keep her power but there is also the part of her character that remembers a love that haunts her. This is a powerful series and Montgomery does her character justice.
West as Alden is a man in love but going off to war. When he returns there is nothing left of the Salem he remembers, instead there is chaos, fear and a woman who no longer resembles the young girl he left behind. West gives his character a no-nonsense attitude and a disbelief that is about to be changed in a major way. Admitting there is something happening, West’s character also knows when to call out wrong.
Berkeley as Hale follows Mary’s instructions, but it is clear he does not share in the way she wants things done. Trying to find a middle ground, he many of his family members suffer a fiery fate and is trying to keep the family he has left from. Berkeley always turns in a stellar performance. Goldberg as Isaac is the town man marked with the F and everyone stays away, everyone except Alden. Turning to him for help will not keep him safe but he is a strong character who is going to give the town a run for its coin.
Murphy as Reverend Lewis gives us the duality of character that does not mind screaming from the pulpit and pointing at sinners when he partakes of the thing he preaches against. Murphy gives his character complexity and lots of confusion as to what he truly believes. Mulheren as Sibley started something that has turn against him. Not a liked man in the beginning, what goes around comes around and it is harsh.
Merchant as Anne is a young strong-minded red-headed woman who does not know her father has a bigger role in what is happening than she could ever imagine. Questioning everything puts her at odds with Mary and puts her life in jeopardy. Madekwe as Tituba knows how to deal with the forces of darkness and leads Mary through it all. She is smart and does not take kindly to being questioned, and actually I would not think it a good idea at all!
Other cast include Azure Parsons as Gloriana Embry, Stephen Lang as Increase Mather, Morgana Shaw as Mab, Christopher Berry as The Seer and Diane Salinger as Rose Browning.
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SALEM is an absolute binge-watching series. The story deals with an era of fear and finger pointing of witchcraft with results that became legendary. Each of the characters has a role that is equally important in the telling of the story created by Braga and Simon. The world they have created is harsh and a struggle to survive and when you add the story of witchcraft well, terror abounds.
There are very few characters that can be taken at face value and very few characters that are not in service of the darkness in one way or another. The shadows are around every corner and never have a drink with anyone else find out you have been given something that could put you on the pyre.
The set design and costuming is perfection as again I am drawn to watching anything that has such an amazing unspoken character that blends in beautifully without saying a word. Instead, it shows itself to be an unstoppable visual treat from start to finish.
So, if you are looking for an very cool three season binge-worthy series, might I suggest you become a fly on the wall to view what is happening in SALEM.
In the end – everything in Salem has gone to hell!