TV Review: WGN America’s ‘Salem’

WGN America attempts to put a spell on viewers with its first scripted series Salem, which premieres on Sunday, April 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Below is a compilation of reviews from around the web compiled by B&C.

“The show has the fearlessness and shamelessness of two other series with witches, American Horror Story and Sleepy Hollow, gleefully going over the top from time to time just to make sure you’re paying attention. And though witchery is a favorite theme of shows aimed at teenagers, this series aspires to a grown-up audience.”
Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

“So while Salem isn’t bad, necessarily, it doesn’t conjure any magic, either. By that measure, assuming WGN is committed to becoming an original-series player, the channel should keep the cauldron warm.”
Brian Lowry, Variety

“There's nothing wrong with WGN America, for its first foray into original scripted programming, tapping the popularity of supernatural TV. And Salem is your standard horror fest, complete with haggish demons, pig's-head-wearing seance participants and ceiling-walking, possessed women.”
Curt Wagner, Chicago Tribune

Salem, the first original series from basic-cable rerun stalwart WGN America, is mostly just a bubbling-up of cheapo TV tricks — certainly not the heralding of a bold new direction for the network or its viewers. Set in Massachusetts in 1692, the show is less concerned with period-accurate storytelling and more intent on overworking some worn-out tropes about Puritan sexuality hang-ups.”
Hank Stuever, The Washington Post

“Like the best supernatural TV stories, Salem uses witchcraft and unexplained phenomena to frame ordinary human dilemmas of love, loyalty and family.”
David Hinckley, New York Daily News

Jessika Walsten

Jessika is an analyst for TVREV and Fabric Media. She previously served in various roles at Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV, working with the brands since 2013. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects in the media and entertainment space, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.