Season #: 1, 2, 3
Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 16
  2. Negative: 5 out of 16

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. People Weekly
    Reviewed by: Patrick Gomez
    Apr 18, 2014
    38
    The supernatural drama lacks in dramatic tension and suffers without the self-aware humor that made the similarly themed American Horror Story: Coven work so well. [28 Apr 2014]
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Apr 18, 2014
    30
    Welcome to Early American Horror Story, which could give you whiplash from all the clashing acting styles, from Seth Gabel's foaming-at-the-mouth over-emoting as zealot Cotton Mather to Shane West's monotonously mumbling and too-modern hero John Alden.
  4. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Apr 18, 2014
    25
    The melodrama is thicker and more implausible than the tarlike gunk oozing out of that tree at the beginning of Sunday's premiere, but there are adequate performances to balance the painfully over-the-top dialogue, at least.
  5. 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.”
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 114 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 85 out of 114
  2. Negative: 16 out of 114
  1. Jun 16, 2014
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link 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.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 20, 2014
    8
    I thought the first episode was 'really good'. 8/10 for me. The writing is not what makes this series work(and that's a good thing, becauseI thought the first episode was 'really good'. 8/10 for me. The writing is not what makes this series work(and that's a good thing, because a lot of the writing is subpar and worse). Setting, subject matter and genre bring this TV show to a unique, interesting level ~ for me personally. If you like the legends of Salem, witches, horror, suspense, and American satanic history(mixed with some supernatural fiction), you'll most likely LOVE this series. Full Review »
  3. Nov 22, 2014
    0
    I am appalled in the extreme!

    The promotional blurb says "This drama series set in 17th-century Salem, Massachusetts, explores what really
    I am appalled in the extreme!

    The promotional blurb says "This drama series set in 17th-century Salem, Massachusetts, explores what really fueled the town's infamous witch trials, uncovering some dark truths". Not only is this misleading, it is an outright LIE! I was hoping for a historical-based drama. What I got was some dark fairy tale based on belief systems 400 years out of date.

    Did the writers and producers get their 'truths' from the Malleus Maleficarum or did they just collectively decide to throw history, truth and reason to the winds? Even Salem itself admits that what 'fueled the ... witch trials' was politics and greed. There is actual factual and physical evidence now available that proves beyond any doubt that the girls that started it all were, in fact, 'playing a joke' on the town because they were bored. Further documents confirm that Magistrate John Hathorne and Reverend Cotton Mather conspired with these girls to grab land and wealth since convicted witches forfeited all their property to 'the crown' who auctions it off to locals at bargain rates.

    Worse than the outright misrepresentation of the story-line, this show not only perpetuates, but actually embellishes upon the negative image of witches and witchcraft as devil-worshipers that was held in the 18th century. If you tried today to depict Native Americans as blood-thirsty savages, Black Americans as ignorant vicious voodoun practitioners, or Muslims as intrinsically violent woman-haters, the critics and sensors would be all over this show, shutting it down. But the writers and producers think nothing about a show that degrades and humiliates REAL witches - yes, they do exist - who are peace-loving, earth-protecting, animal-loving individuals who live by the law of "Harm None".

    Wicca, along with all other Pagan denominations is a Federally-recognized religion discussed in the Military Chaplains Handbook as a religion which "Worships the sacred as immanent in Nature, often personified as Mother Earth and Father Sky. It is very important to be aware that Wiccans do not in any way worship or believe in "Satan," "the Devil," or any similar entities. They point out that "Satan" is a symbol of rebellion against and inversion of the Christian and Jewish traditions. Wiccans do not revile the Bible. They simply regard it as one among many of the world's mythic systems, less applicable than some to their core values, but still deserving just as much respect as any of the others."

    It's about time people stopped degrading and misrepresenting both Salem and Witches for the sheer purpose of sensationalizing a money machine. I has taken 400 years for the hatred and violence caused by the witch hunts to begin to wane. Now this show purports to show us the 'truth' about Witchcraft as a Satantic, violent, blood-thirsty, power-hungry cult!

    I, for one, will NOT be watching this show and I am very sorry to see such talented actors, whom I have long respected, allowing themselves to become a part of this bigoted hate-fest that is targeting a very valuable section of the population and labeling them, yet again, as Evil.
    Full Review »