Salem: Season 1 (2014)


Season 1

Critics Consensus

While the horror scenes are well-executed, Salem lacks enough substance to sustain even a guilty-pleasure interest.



Critic Ratings: 31


Audience Score

User Ratings: 266

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Air date: Apr 20, 2014

John Alden returns from war to discover that the woman he left behind is now married to another man and that his hometown of Salem, Mass., is in the midst of a witch panic in the premiere of this supernatural drama.

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Air date: Apr 27, 2014

John investigates what's really going on in Salem as the fear over witches rises; and Mary prepares to execute a plan.

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Air date: May 4, 2014

Mary decides on a course of action after discovering who witnessed the witches' ceremony.

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Air date: May 11, 2014

Alden worries when an old nemesis arrives in Salem with secrets that could destroy him; and Mary loses her grip on Mercy.

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Air date: May 18, 2014

Mary and her coven are at odds; Alden and Cotton come across a dangerous witches' relic.

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Air date: May 25, 2014

Alden and Cotton come face-to-face with a real witch; Mary comes up with a solution to the discord within the coven.

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Air date: Jun 1, 2014

Romantic feelings between Mary and Alden intensify; Cotton deals with a unique accusation in the trials; and a powerful witch hunter makes his way towards Salem.

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Air date: Jun 8, 2014

The arrival of Cotton's father rocks the town of Salem; at the same time, Mary's power over George is compromised.

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Air date: Jun 15, 2014

Mary finds it difficult to get George back under her control; at the same time, Mercy's power is growing and she isn't afraid to use it.

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Air date: Jun 22, 2014

Increase gets closer to understanding who really runs things in Salem; at the same time, Anne finds herself in danger, and in need of Alden's help, while investigating a mystery.

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Salem: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

The world of the Salem witch trials is explored in this supernatural drama set in 17th-century Massachusetts. Season 1 opens in 1685 with Capt. John Alden (Shane West) returning from war to discover that his Puritan community has become gripped with mass hysteria and that his former lover Mary (Janet Montgomery) is now married to the wealthy village elder George Sibley (Michael Mulheren). What he doesn't know is that when he left seven years ago, Mary, pregnant with his child, turned to Tituba (Ashley Madekwe), a skilled practitioner of the magical arts, to rid her of the unborn baby. In the time that followed, Mary has become the most powerful witch in Salem and is using panic and paranoia to her advantage, while fending off threats of being deposed by Magistrate Hale (Xander Berkeley). But her lingering feelings for John put them both at risk as he enters into an alliance with Rev. Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel), who, when he isn't engaging in activities of ill repute, has been defending the people of town against witchcraft. Also starring Tamzin Merchant, Elise Eberle and Stephen Lang.

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Critic Reviews for Salem Season 1

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (17)

For the most part, it works.

Dec 28, 2018 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
Top Critic

Salem is replete with scenes that make little sense. It's mostly a jumble of decent enough special effects, less-than-decent acting, a script that also should be lashed with "10 hard ones" and lots of blood-curdling screaming.

Apr 18, 2014 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
Top Critic

West and the rest of the cast perform solidly as well, and once we know the lineup, presumably we'll dive deeper into the game.

Apr 18, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

At the end of the episode, we get an idea where the series is headed. But by then, Salem has failed to cast a spell.

Apr 17, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Consider this initial effort a whiffed ball.

Apr 22, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

What Salem is, though, is a surprisingly smart, well-executed and extremely scary new spin on a familiar trope. Enjoy it if you dare.

Apr 22, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The attractive cast (led by Once and Again's Shane West) do a fine job with the material provided, but Salem is ultimately less than bewitching.

Dec 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Salem sets the witches loose in a lurid and often ludicrous free-for-all of graphic sexuality and violent retribution.

Apr 18, 2014 | Full Review…

Salem gets off to a dark, creepy and occasionally melodramatic start.

Apr 18, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

In time and with a greater effort to be over the top, Salem could evolve into a guilty pleasure. But its first impression offers little magic.

Apr 17, 2014 | Full Review… unholy hybrid of THE CRUCIBLE and THE SCARLET LETTER, lacking the sophistication of either, but with just enough dramatic interest to hold attention.

Jun 9, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Sex, violence, and witchcraft make for tantalizing drama.

Apr 29, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Salem: Season 1

  • Mar 26, 2020
    It's bonkers, but I love it. Some delightfully gruesome scenes that make you scream and laughter at the same time.
  • Sep 17, 2019
    I thought it was pretty good. First couple episodes were slow, but it picked up dramatically
  • May 27, 2019
    Just finished the first series on Netflix. Pretty muted watched all the episodes back to back. Great horror series, gripping story line, lots of super acting looking forward to watching the next series.
  • Dec 14, 2018
    Deconstruct and analyse it all you want. I just think it's absolute shite.
  • Sep 10, 2017
    Really enjoying this show about the witches of Salem.
  • Aug 25, 2017
    We love this series! We didn't like John Alden.
  • Jul 13, 2017
    Literally the best series I've came across, constant suspense and leaving me with my mouth dropped to the floor!
  • Jul 11, 2016
    A violent interesting twist on the Salem Witch Trials.
  • Jun 25, 2016
    The show is good. I like it. Some of the scenes are weird. The acting is a little poor in some scenes but other scenes are intense. It's violent and not good for kids. But I like this show a lot. I wish the lead female witch would be a little more dynamic. She's a strong character and I think if she was more animated and more dynamic the show would be much better.
  • Apr 22, 2016
    Starts off muddled, little slow, and predictable. However after the 5th episode I became a huge fan. Bravo to the actors..

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