Motherland: Fort Salem is not your run of the mill young adult witch story. It’s part Suspiria, part The Craft, and part Top Gun. The Freeform network is no stranger to dark themes. In 2010, it aired Pretty Little Liars, a show that dealt with death, sexuality, and taboo behavior that went on to run for seven seasons and has continued a steady theme in programming since. Motherland: Fort Salem has hit the ground running, delving into darker themes in a new fantastic world.
The series takes place in an alternate America where witches are the United States Armed Forces. In this alternate history, witches escaped persecution by striking an accord with the government that mandated they fight for the country. This America shows the citizens thanking witches for their service as young witches feel a patriotic desire to serve their country. Magic is commonplace and accepted in this society and the country’s greatest threat comes from a terrorist group that only witches have the power to fight. This version of America resembles the real life one, but magic and sorcery are part of the societal norm.
Motherland shows how women from different cultures and socio-economic classes come to the decision to join the witch army. The series focuses on three characters: Tally (Jessica Sutton), is a hometown girl who joins out of a sense of duty and obligation to a higher cause. Abigail was born to join and is a natural leader. She sees the service as elite and leadership as her calling. Raelle (Taylor Hickson) is a rebellious sort who joins more as an act of truth seeking. She does not feel a sense of patriotism nor does she care about rising in the ranks.
The series does not shy away from difficult themes and makes strides in inclusivity. It features some pretty excellent visual effects while experimenting with sound to amplify the witches’ powers.
Created by Eliot Laurence, Motherland: Fort Salem is slated for ten one hour length episodes and will premiere March 18th at 9p.m. EDT/PDT on Freeform.