In the new drama series “Motherland: Fort Salem,” viewers are introduced to an alternate present-day.
The past is not what we know. The witches of Salem hundreds of years earlier, forged an alliance with the United States government. They pledged to fight on behalf of the government and defend the United States in whatever wars would come. The witches, all being women, have given their lives, talents and fortitude for the country.
The series follows three new trainees as they enter their basic training, hone their skills and fight a gang of terrorists known as the Spree, who are threatening the entire free world by instigating mass suicides.
“A lot of stuff on the show is an homage to witch history,” Eliot Laurence, creator and executive producer, told a media gathering. “For example, the marks that the witches are born with that change when you have sex, is sort of a reclaiming of the marks that were used to indict and identify witches during the burning times.”
When he thought of the story, he didn’t want it to be like “Charmed” or other shows with witches.
“I wanted to have this be fantasy through a science fictional lens," he said. "So, I wanted all of the magic to be based in kind of real stuff. So, instead of magical words you find in a spell book, it’s sounds and combinations of sounds and these very intricate frequencies that the witches are able to create. So, I just wanted to crack open what magic is. We actually don’t use the word magic in the show at all. It’s called work. Because it’s hard and it costs and yeah. So, I wanted to just crack open what magic could be like and sound like.”
According to Executive Producer Kevin Messick, “Eliot invented an ancient witch language in the same way that you saw that language in ‘Game of Thrones.’ So it speaks to older times and older rivalries and ancient threats that I think he will explore over the course of the series. And you're definitely going to get hinted at what those are by the end of the first season.”
It took about nine years to get this project off the ground. When Laurence first had the idea for the story, he was waylaid by other things and couldn’t get it off the ground back then. Then a couple years ago Messick decided to collaborate and make it a TV series and Freeform was happy to pick it up.
Taylor Hickson, who plays Raelle Collar, one of the trio, wants viewers to know how the characters relate to each other.
“And, in this day and time, it’s more crucial than ever that women uplift each other and support each other, and I think we’re incredibly humbled to have a series that conveys that message,” Hickson said.
She says the strength of the women are not each individual’s talents but the team working together. Yes, there are fights among the young women, but ultimately they must rely on each other to fight the terrorists and save the world.
“Motherland: Fort Salem” premieres Thursday on Freeform.