Salem, a new show to air April 20, is being executive produced by Star Trek‘s Brannon Braga.
Braga spoke about the show, which is “a unique blend of The Exorcist with a little David Lynch thrown in.”
In Salem, it’s the 17th century, and the witch trials are happening, with a twist; witches are real and are in favor of the trials for their own purposes.
Writer Adam Simon came up with the idea for the show and Fox 21 had Braga team up with the writer to develop the show. “I was really taken with the concepts,” he said. “I’ve been doing science fiction for so long, and though I had dipped my toe in the thriller with 24, I really wanted to do horror. It’s always been a fantasy of mine to do something horror-related, and this was it. It was a brand of horror that was right up my alley. It’s pretty twisted stuff.”
In Salem, “the center of the storm is this character named Mary Sibley,” explained Braga. “Mary Sibley is a woman who was in love with a forward-thinking man who hated Puritans and hated religious repression and saw America as a place that should encourage free thinking and independence. Unfortunately, they are ripped apart by the Puritanical powers that be and he is sent off to war. He comes back seven years later when the show begins, and his name is John Alden — who was, again, a real soldier and one of the first American heroes — and he comes back for Mary only to find that she has married the head Puritan in town and that she’s a Puritan. I won’t get into too much, but let’s just say that that’s the tip of the iceberg with this woman. Mary Sibley is both our hero and our villain. She’s part Scarlett O’Hara and part Lady Macbeth.
“I think the thing to know is that Salem is a unique animal. If you like being scared and you like horror, it’s a great show. But it’s also a really heartfelt show, not a tongue-in-cheek show. We want the characters to seem real, and at the heart of the show is really an epic romance. To quote myself, it’s like Wuthering Heights meets The Exorcist.
“Salem is about our darkest impulses and what happens when they consume us alive.”