Just-Released! Behind the Scenes Preview of SALEM

Just-Released! Behind the Scenes Preview of SALEM February 28, 2014


I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I might actually be looking forward to this…

Just released: special behind-the-scenes footage and sneak preview of WGN’s Salem which premieres later this spring…

Yes, the story set-up seems a bit silly: young sexy versions of Tituba, Cotton Mather, and other historical figures from the Witch Trials, setting us up for the suspicious, hysterical madness that takes place near the end of the Seventeenth Century. But the production values do look pretty spectacular, and the cast looks more than decent.

It’ll be fun to have another trashy witch series to look forward to every week, won’t it? And just so we’re clear, I love trashy stuff…

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  • Tea Thyme O Joy

    It’s unfortunate though, that we can’t have anything about pagan life on television that’s worth watching. Nothing about Witches of East End, Coven, Charmed, and most likely this one too, has anything to do with the actual lifestyle. I’m tired of being made out to be trashy by society. It’s just another way to commercialize and make fun of an uncommon system.

    • PegAloi

      I’m not sure what the real barrier to that is (portrayal of “real” witches on TV): that real witches are too boring or that we’re too scary. Maybe the reason the pendulum always swings toward the lowest common denominator (i.e. witches as hexing hags, or seductive sirens, etc) is that audiences often want excess: extremes of drama and characterization. Plus the lore of witchcraft is one that is deeply implanted in many peoples’ minds, in ways they may not even be aware of. Those images of that lore are full of magic and danger.

  • Peg, this preview makes it look even trashier than the first one! I’ll definitely watch it, but as I mentioned on my blog I’ll probably feel guilty about it. I’m drawn to the supernatural aspects and the New England setting, but I’m leery about the whole “there really were witches in Salem” thing. I’m going to assume that most Americans know the people executed in Salem were innocent victims of a complex political situation, but I’m afraid there will be a small minority who come away from this show thinking: “Good thing we killed those evil witches in Salem. Now who’s next?”

    • PegAloi

      You make a good point, Peter (and I hope you will blog on this when the time comes, from your historian’s perspective!)–that some (perhaps most) of the viewing audience may be unaware of the real motivations behind the Salem accusations and executions. Devil worship and lust and greed are so much more entertaining than land appropriation and sexism…I also think there may be some unfortunate truth to your idea that the Salem Witch Trials were somehow “justified” in the minds of of some fanatics and that they think we need some kind of modern day purging of the unrighteous from society…

  • JasonMankey

    Salem as a backdrop bothers me. What happened there was a tragedy, and I don’t like seeing it “legitimized” so to speak. I know that you don’t mind these “distortions of history” as much as I do, I just wish Hollywood had enough creativity to stop constantly abusing Salem and what happened there.

    • PegAloi

      I agree it was a tragedy; perhaps one of the darkest moments in this nation’s history. It’s not that I don’t mind “distortions of history”–I very much mind distortion of truth in any form. In this case, it is a re-imagining (as drama often pursues) of a history that is suffused with many complex layers: occult beliefs, religious fanaticism, oppression of women, oppression of the the socioeconomically-disadvantaged…For whatever reason, it seems that many people find it more desirable to characterize what happened as being colored (or caused) by evil or supernatural doings. The truth is just too mundane, no matter how ugly. And I think the pagan community has some part in the glamorizing and romanticizing of the Matter of Salem. I find whenever I read through the comments section of any post having to do with it in a pagan forum, a shockingly large percentage of the commenters mention their own relation (by blood or marriage, I guess, sometimes it is not clear) to the accused or other participants. People want to have been part of it; to have been there in a past life, to have been connected via their own ancestry. There is a love of persecution within our community and for many modern witches, that has its roots, however unwittingly, in Salem.