Salem : Season 1

Season #: 1, 2, 3
Salem Image
Metascore
49

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

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 114 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

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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: 23 out of 33
  2. Negative: 5 out of 33
  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. Jul 8, 2017
    10
    i have never been so taken with a series! i had to re watch once it was all over because in the beginning i was a little turned off by thei have never been so taken with a series! i had to re watch once it was all over because in the beginning i was a little turned off by the gore that i came back to see it i could look past it months later. The only regret i have is that they aren't going to making another season. Mary Sibley is a powerful woman :) Expand
  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. Apr 21, 2014
    8
    I'll give the show an 8, solely because Janet Montgomery is incredible. Loved her in Human Target and pretty much everything else she's everI'll give the show an 8, solely because Janet Montgomery is incredible. Loved her in Human Target and pretty much everything else she's ever been in. The rest of the show had a fine layer of cheese to it (with the exception of the witchcraft, which is startlingly mature in terms of content), but I'm going to tune in for another episode - again, because of Janet Montgomery. Expand
  5. Apr 21, 2014
    7
    Let's start with "worst first". The acting, I believe is a mishmash of impressive and terrible, a few of the actors are very convincing andLet's start with "worst first". The acting, I believe is a mishmash of impressive and terrible, a few of the actors are very convincing and others, unfortunately, are so bad that the contrast between them appears to be black and white with no grey area. Ashley Madekwe (Tituba) is not the least bit convincing. In fact, I cringe whenever she is on screen. It appears that she puts 50% into her acting, as her motions seem lazy, her delivery of the lines also seem uninspired and dull. On the other hand I found Xander Berkeley (Magistrate Hale) to be highly convincing in his role. His bold, booming voice, facial expressions and body language in general make him appear very much believable. The main character does not come across as being likable, but rather moody and at times unnecessarily hostile. While having an unlikable main character can be refreshing at times, this is almost never the case when it is an unintentional occurrence.

    The set is amazing and is definitely reminiscent of the time. In fact, I believe the director said that they had to build everything themselves from scratch, this definitely paid off. The lighting is dim and dull (intentionally) which gives the show a very grim, earthy, and gritty feel fitting of both the time and the theme.

    The plot does not seem fantastic thus far, but it is just interesting enough for me to want to see the rest of the series. I would normally give a show like this a 4 (or perhaps 5) out of 10 as a result of the toss-up of acting quality, but the set, lighting, atmosphere and camera work and somewhat interesting plot appear to be the saving grace of this show.
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  6. Nov 18, 2014
    5
    Two of my ancestors were burned at the stake in Salem, so after literally stumbling upon this show randomly on Netflix, I decided to give it aTwo of my ancestors were burned at the stake in Salem, so after literally stumbling upon this show randomly on Netflix, I decided to give it a go. Of course, the show is supernatural horror - you should know going in that you aren't going to get historical accuracy. But I actually think the balance of historical accuracy and complete outlandishness works well. We immediately like John Alden because even though some of this show's witches are actually witches, he is skeptical not just that all of the condemned citizens are in fact witches- rather he doubts that witches exist period. The way, incidentally, that they frame witches as agents of the false witch hunt, works well--even if that plot point is never really matched by the subplot. Some of the historical inaccuracies can be annoying of course. The Indians don't look like they would have at that time--at least in New England, the Puritans would not be wearing some of the extravagant clothes worn here by the elites, and Salem would not be consist of German American architecture or have a social scene resembling the Manchester, England of Charles Dickens. But these are small points. A larger trouble is that the show portrays a small portion of victims of the witch hunt as actual witches. Their characters are fictional but the people on whom they are based were very real. This seems insensitive, and I almost wish they changed the names. These may be your ancestors after all. The plot lines also grow a bit tired toward the end, although the addition of a few new characters (especially Increase Mather) helps this a bit. Problems aside, I think I'll give next season a go. Expand
  7. 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.
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See all 33 User Reviews