Our new reality means we’re all getting a little more quality time with our televisions than we might be used to. If you’re looking for a new show to add to your playlist, give “Motherland: Fort Salem,” which debuts tonight on Disney’s Freeform channel a try.
Set in an alternate, present-day America where witches avoided witch trials 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the young U.S. government to fight for their country, “Motherland: Fort Salem” follows three young women from basic training in combat magic into terrifying and thrilling early deployment.
In this world, the traditional roles of gender and power are flipped, with women on the front lines fighting looming terrorist threats that are strikingly familiar to our world, but with supernatural tactics and weapons.
Here’s the main trailer for the show:
I watched the first three episodes of Motherland: Fort Salem and found that while I’m not really the target audience for this series, I enjoyed it.
The early part of ten-episode first season follows three young witches through bootcamp where they learn to be fighting witches. There’s also a fair amount of teenage brooding, angst and drama.
The flipped power structure of the alternate America provides a lot of interesting displays of feminine power, but also never strays too far from material that its primarily teen and early 20s audience will feel familiar with.
Some of the plot machinations are a bit predictable, but there were a lot of surprises too. I am a fan of alternate-reality TV shows. If that’s your jam too, you’ll find a lot to like in this series.
What I liked are that the core cast of characters are diverse with complex backgrounds and reasons for what they do. That provides a lot of opportunities for plot twists.
I also liked how they decided to depict the Witches powers. There are some very intense special effects for a TV show.
Enjoy this sneak peek where the cadets are welcomed to the academy:
The show stars:
- Taylor Hickson (“Deadly Class”) who portrays Raelle, a reluctant recruit with major authority issues whose mother recently died in the line of duty
- Jessica Sutton (“The Kissing Booth”) is Tally, a kind, strong-willed and curious witch who enlisted despite her mother’s passionate disapproval.
- Ashley Nicole Williams plays Abigail, an unquestionably alpha, smart, driven and courageous witch who hails from the upper echelons of military witch society and is excited to be joining the ranks of the witches’ army.
- Amalia Holm (“Playground”) rounds out the young witch recruits playing Scylla, a playful yet dark and mischievous recruit who is not what she appears to be.
- Demetria McKinney (“The Saints and Sinners”) plays Anacostia, a tough but wryly humorous drill sergeant whose chief concern is keeping the young recruits alive through basic training.
- Lyne Renee (“Deep State”) recurs as General Sarah Alder, the highest-ranking officer in the Armed Forces and the only leader the witches have ever known.
Saying ‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ has a lot of potential may be damning the series with faint praise. But I like the ambitious nature of the series and am willing to cut it some slack.