Salem : Season 1

Season #: 1, 2
Salem Image
Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 96 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In 1692 Massachusetts, John Alden (Shane West) returns from war to find his friend Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel) leading the Salem witch trials and his former lover Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery), married to the elderly and wealthy George Sibley.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Suspense, Science Fiction
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 16
  2. Negative: 5 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Apr 17, 2014
    80
    When Salem isn’t being deliberately outrageous, it’s cultivating a dynamic that could be fruitful as things move along.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Apr 18, 2014
    70
    There's plenty of room in the graveyard for Salem, although it's way too early to tell if it can effectively build on the scary and sensual elements introduced in Sunday's premiere.
  3. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Apr 18, 2014
    63
    Salem as a whole reflects the difference in the work of West and Montgomery. Yet its wildly uneven premiere has enough going for it to make me watch at least another episode.
  4. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Apr 17, 2014
    42
    Salem is replete with scenes that make little sense. It’s mostly a jumble of decent enough special effects, less-than-decent acting, a script that also should be lashed with “10 hard ones” and lots of blood-curdling screaming.
  5. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Apr 17, 2014
    40
    The Salem pilot is rather plodding except when occasionally punctuated by these more gonzo scenes.
  6. Reviewed by: Zack Handlen
    Apr 18, 2014
    33
    Salem uses real life to prop up its shallow theatrics, and the result is too distractingly tacky to be enjoyed as pure foolishness.
  7. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Apr 17, 2014
    25
    It’s like watching the cast of “One Tree Hill” put on a production of “The Crucible.”

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
  1. Jan 19, 2015
    10
    This is an excellent show all around. Top notch acting from most of the cast especially shane west, janet montgomery seth gabel and iddoThis is an excellent show all around. Top notch acting from most of the cast especially shane west, janet montgomery seth gabel and iddo goldberg. The time period, mood and cinematography are compelling and refreshing. The writers have created some very believable conflicted characters that you really feel for. Cotton Mather and Anne Hale both have a ton of depth and Mary Sibley's conflicts are heart wrenching. Finally a strong female character that isn't a stock male character with a gender change. I love John Aldon, another strong realistic and empathetic character. I would think if you like Game of Thrones you would like this show, they arent the same genre but as far as strong dramatic writing and great characters this show has them in spades. Expand
  2. Jun 30, 2014
    10
    I have just caught up to episode 11 of this show and I absolutely love
    it. The setting is fantastic as well as the actors. I for one am a
    I have just caught up to episode 11 of this show and I absolutely love
    it. The setting is fantastic as well as the actors. I for one am a huge
    fan of Stephen Lang as "Increase Mather" and I also love Shane West who
    plays "John Alden". I feel the pacing is very well done if you can get
    to episode seven when Stephen Lang arrives I feel you will be hooked if
    not before then. I love the horror scenes they are done just right in
    my opinion and I would recommend this show to anyone who loves this
    time period or a moody/creepy show with Amazing actors. Only two more
    episodes left in season one and I can't wait.I will revise it when I watch the last two episodes.
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  3. Apr 26, 2014
    10
    Fantastic series and great concept. Love it. loved the first episode, surely the rest of the season is gonna be awesome.
    with elementary,
    Fantastic series and great concept. Love it. loved the first episode, surely the rest of the season is gonna be awesome.
    with elementary, sapce dandy, big bang theory and da vincis demons soon ending their seasons this is gonna be an awesome expierence during the summer
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  4. May 20, 2014
    8
    A BIT SLOW OUT OF THE GATE - BUT BY EPISODES 4 AND 5, "SALEM" IS A KEEPER. Lush scenery; lovely period costumes; good-looking actors andA BIT SLOW OUT OF THE GATE - BUT BY EPISODES 4 AND 5, "SALEM" IS A KEEPER. Lush scenery; lovely period costumes; good-looking actors and actresses; an improbable new twist on the 17th century Salem witch trials; extremely graphic creepiness. That said, the first few episodes left me struggling to understand the characters' motives. Why so evil? However, the show improves exponentially after the first 3 episodes. Character development expands. Logic behind individual motives begins to emerge. The younger cast of women becomes very interesting. Some characters are revealed as more confused and misguided than evil. Yes, the John Alden character is a bit modern - but his fearless bravado under these bizarre circumstances makes for good television. In terms of authentic creepiness, "Salem" seems willing to take the type of interesting risks that made "American Horror Story" popular. Not a show for sticklers about the well-documented history of Salem and its "witches." Good entertainment value, though. Expand
  5. Oct 9, 2014
    7
    Salem is a show filled with untapped potential....

    Having some truly great characters played by good actors/actresses, this show has all
    Salem is a show filled with untapped potential....

    Having some truly great characters played by good actors/actresses, this show has all the elements necessary for making something truly great. However, it's not there at the moment. In fact, as it currently stands the show is pretty decent. Some episodes are truly great, but they are not often enough. Yet, I was compelled with completed the season out of pure interest.
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  6. Sep 18, 2014
    5
    Salem is a highly original TV show and the acting is good. Unfortunately the script is very weak and the characters simply aren't sympathetic.Salem is a highly original TV show and the acting is good. Unfortunately the script is very weak and the characters simply aren't sympathetic. I think if better writers had been put on the project this could have been really great entertainment, but over and over again gratuitous gore is substituted for plot, and the final product reaches very little of its potential. Expand
  7. Jun 16, 2014
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The trailer for Salem showed a lot of potential to be a supernatural, historic, sci-fi, mystery, horror and intrigue show. But this show disappointed me more than I would like to admit. After learning who the witches are in the first episode, and seeing them do witchcraft, I am sure nobody in the town of Salem is smart enough to catch them. I mean seriously (spoiler: Mary marries the most rich and powerful man in the Town, and right after she gets married to him, he becomes unable to speak; all his power with the Town residents are transferred to her.) It doesn't take a rocket scientist to suspect that something is up.

    In addition, John Alden's dad made a "Ned Stark" move by being executed before he could put dirt on Mary's hands. This could have been a bigger move if saved for later. Since the show just started, the audience doesn't care if someone dies, especially someone with only about 5 minutes of screen time.

    The villains in the show have no motive except to kill everybody, in which case they can end the show in about 5 episodes because of their demonstrated powers. There is no politics of power in this game. I don't get why Mary doesn't just gag everyone with a toad and kill them one by one. They would be too stupid to think it's her anyways. Even if I had no reason to suspect that Mary, I would make people believe she's the witch because she's a major **** to everyone in the show. She is constantly moody and I don't think anyone would mind if she died.

    Sometimes, a historical fiction needs to stray away from its historical roots and focus more on the fiction and vice versa. This show doesn't do it for me. The villains are too overpowered and the townspeople all hunt witches like Ned Stark plays the Game of Thrones (poorly). If this is your first horror/intrigue/mystery show, you might be able to stand it, but if you've watched anything good in the past, you know there's a lot better things to watch in the same genre.
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See all 30 User Reviews