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'Motherland: Fort Salem' Series Premiere Review: 'Say the Words'

Television

‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ Series Premiere Review: ‘Say the Words’

‘Motherland: Ft. Salem’ is off to a strong start.

When most people first hear a witch story, it is usually a scary one. Along with serving warning about watching out for strangers, witches are fodder for all types of tales, however. Popular witches can be found in comedy, romance, and even children’s stories. Witchcraft has a very rich history in pop culture.

Motherland: Fort Salem is a new entry to witch lore. In an alternate history, the United States government and witches at Salem came to an agreement. The U.S. ended their persecution of the women who in turned agreed to join the ranks of the U.S military. The show follows three young women who have recently enlisted.

The show will surprise many almost immediately. Since Ft. Salem is airing on Freeform – a channel known for its young adult programming – viewers may expect a melodramatic and tame story. The cold open changes that in a brutal scene that will catch many off guard. The show has a definite YA slant to it, but that does not mean older people will not enjoy it. One of the main strengths of the episode is it manages to cater to everyone.

This is partially due to its willingness to delve into tropes of other genres. For example, the three main characters will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen Top Gun, . The show may seem like another filled with love triangles and youth filled angst, but it is willing to step outside that stereotype. Ft. Salem becomes more interesting by extending itself to different audiences.

The show is also visually impressive. The first episode never goes all out with magical battles and powerful spells. There are some moments involving floating and the scene in the beginning will stand out, but Ft. Salem looks its best in its more down to earth moments. Scenes are appropriately lit and shadows are used to maximum effect.

‘Say the Words’ is a standard debut episode. The show does a great job introducing viewers to Raelle (Taylor Hickson) and Abigail Bellweather (Ashley Nicole Williams). There is a nice story arc involving the two during the episode. Abigail comes from a long line of decorated witches. Williams does an excellent job of playing the outwardly confident yet inwardly stressed Abigail. Raelle is a trope – as rebellious as she is powerful – but Hickson brings a charm to the character that makes her engaging.

Motherland: Ft. Salem brings an interesting premise to the witch genre. The show looks great and is bolstered by a strong cast. The time spent on Raelle and Abigail is at the expense of its other characters, but the series is off to a strong start.

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