Salem First Look: Seth Gabel Declares War Against Witches in WGN America's New Drama

“You. Will. Burn.”

So promises the voice of Seth Gabel (Fringe, Arrow) in the following teaser trailer for WGN America’s first scripted drama series, the 17th century-set Salem.

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Gabel’s Cotton Mather, a local aristocrat who oversees the witch hunts, is filled with fury as the wicked are punished. “If she uses her beauty to tempt the good people of Salem to commit sins of the flesh, she be a witch,” he declares.

Neither heard or seen in the promo — the footage is not from the pilot — but also starring in the series are Shane West (Nikita) as a war veteran who returns to find his native Salem consumed by the hunt frenzy, Janet Montgomery (Made in Jersey) as sorceress Mary Sibley and Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) as Mary’s alluring and ageless right-hand woman.

Salem, from Star Trek vet Brannon Braga, is scheduled to debut in Spring 2014.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. L says:

    Why don’t I get WGN network on cablevision????? This sounds so good! Anybody know if they have a website that will play this show????

    • Tori says:

      I have the same problem, I also have cablevision. I am hoping it will either be available on Hulu or maybe on WGN’s own website for viewing. it would be a nice new year gift if cablevision/optimum were to add WGN to it’s line-up but then I remember how long I had to wait for BBC America to be added their channels.

    • mary says:

      Ugh, it figures! I hope it will be on Hulu.

    • Ray says:

      FiOS has WGN America in it’s mid-priced “Prime” lineup, but only the SD channel. For some reason the HD version is only available in the Ultimate package.

    • Stormy says:

      Channel 307 on Direct TV if that helps anyone.

  2. Kyle C. says:

    Wow! This looks great!

  3. ggny says:

    Wow of all networks it looks like WGN create a really good show

  4. kat says:

    but no witches were burned in salem- they were hung or pressed to death. other than this, looks good!

    • Chris says:

      Thank You!! This drives me crazy and all the TV shows and movies make this mistake. No witches were burned in England or “the Colonies” under English law. They were hanged. Only in Scotland and other parts of Europe did they burn witches. It’s something that takes about a minute of research to find out.

      • Annie says:

        YES. Finally. God, it’s such a basic thing and so easy to fact-check. How can Hollywood keep making this mistake?

        • Pill queen says:

          Probably cause burning witches at the stake is more interesting than hanging?

          Anyways, I hope seth survives this show, his role sounds like a true villain and he might bite it.

          • CBWBDK1 says:

            I hope he dies in the first episode! Seth gabel is a terrible villain! Have you watched Arrow? His portrayal of Vertigo is just awful!!!

        • Sasha says:

          I’m assuming that its because its more dramatic and/or the fact that they’re betting on the majority of the population not knowing that bit of info.

        • Francine says:

          I dont think its a mistake though- its just done this way because its more dramatic.

    • Drew Melbourne says:

      Also, they weren’t really witches. They were just ordinary young women murdered by angry mobs.

    • Twokeets says:

      This is truly my pet peeve. I don’t know why they persist in talking about burning witches in America. Witches were burned in Europe, yes, but hung here, as you say. And pressed.

  5. Darken Rahl says:

    WGN should bring back Legend of the Seeker!

  6. Ed says:

    The trailer left me lukewarm. It doesn’t feel like anything new, so why should I tune in?

    Also, I hate to be a grammar police, but “Neither heard or seen in the promo” should be “Neither heard NOR seen in the promo…” It’s just a bit of a pet peeve when people who get paid to write mess up very simple things.

    • Pill queen says:

      Well it would help if the teaser had footage from the PILOT ITSELF. Is that the “nothing new” you were referring to?

  7. kevin says:

    I guess this will help soothe my sadness when AHS:coven’s over

  8. Joey says:

    The teaser for the show looks great. Excited to see Seth Gabel on the show.

  9. Twokeets says:

    Sounds like they are going to get Salem all wrong again–the burning of witches which didn’t happen in the U.S., and also this idea that you have to show actual sorceresses, when the people killed at Salem were not witches but innocent people of all types–male, female, young, old, poor and pretty well off. Granted–Cotton Mather sounds like a real drama queen and a douche, but I’m afraid they are going to just ignore the facts of the true story which is already so fascinating, it doesn’t require invention on the part of ignorant Hollywood types.

  10. enri says:

    This looks good. I’m excited for Seth Gabel. I enjoyed watching him on Fringe & Arrow.

  11. Drew says:

    Why are people getting so upset about the historical accuracy of this show? How many countless shows are set in the present day and still aren’t realistic? Yet people don’t complain about them, whenever unrealistic technology pops up or “hacker” characters speak complete gibberish.

    It’s entertainment. If you’re looking for reality, go for a walk.

  12. Twokeets says:

    If you care about Salem, you’d like them to get the basics right anyway–the not burning, mainly. That way they could keep it in the spirit of reality. Otherwise, in my opinion, it seems kind of stupid. I mean, why bother to call it Salem if it doesn’t represent what happened there, even generally? Just my opinion!

    • Francine says:

      Ser I care about Salem- I visit every year- but I see no problem with what they’re doing. I’m sure the producers and writers of the show know burning didnt actually happen, but it does make it more dramatic to watch. It’s a scripted fictional show like any other, and thery’re calling it Salem just for the simple fact that the show is set in the town of Salem. It’s not meant to be historically accurate. If it WAS, then I would be upset by this too. But its purely meant to be fiction. But you’re certainly entitled to your opinion and I’m not judging!

      • Twokeets says:

        It’s a wonderful place, isn’t it? You can totally feel the history on every corner. Not to harp too much on history! But it is a peeve of mine, about the burning.

  13. sloth65 says:

    Having been born and brought up in Salem, I find it sad that, other than a PBS series done in the 80’s, the trials have never been presented correctly in film. Not making this historically accurate kind of dilutes the importance of the event in my mind. It’s like doing a drama about the Lincoln assassination but having him stabbed instead of shot because it’s more interesting.