WGN’S new TV series Salem, which makes its premiere on April 20th, is shaping up to be a unique adaptation of the story of the Salem Witch Trials. The show, which will be WGN’s first original TV series, is intended to be a “what if” historical scenario.
What if the stories were true? What if the people of Salem really did have witches in their midst? What if these witches were powerful and dangerous?
The creative team of the show is calling the result of their work a mixture of history and horror—a type of historical fiction that combines supernatural elements with real history to present something unique; not quite the truth but a plausible, if otherworldly, what-if scenario.
The cast of the show includes a mix of veteran actors, including some with past historical roles, as well as some newer and fresher factors. The primary cast of the show is as follows:
Janet Montgomery will be playing Mary Sibley, a character based on a real-life, well respected woman in Salem who was accused of practicing folk magic but was never arrested or convicted, and who disappeared from the historical record.
In the show, Sibley is going to be one of the “real witches” that the people of Salem must contend with.
Montgomery has appeared in previous shows and films, including a reoccurring role in Entourage, a guest role in Spies of Warsaw, and a lead role in Human Target.
Shane West will be playing John Alden, a character based on a real life man who was traveling in Salem while returning home from war but was ultimately accused of witchcraft himself. In the show, Alden will also be a former lover of Mary Sibley. West is best known for his role as Dr. Ray Barnett in E.R. as well as his roles in A walk to Remember, Nikita, and Once and Again.
Seth Gabel will be playing Cotton Mather, a well-known minister and author whose published works on witchcraft are often considered the foundation of the trials. Mather did not have a physical role in the trials—though some witnesses say Mather attended several of the town’s executions.
In the show, Mather will be the hypocritical “leader” of the witch hunts in Salem.
Gabel is best known for his roles in Fringe, Arrow and Dirty Sexy Money. To check out WGN, all you need is a cable television package.