Created by Eliot Laurence, the first episode of Motherland: Fort Salem “Say the Words” goes about world building in great detail. We learn instantly (and through the opening titles) that the show is set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution over 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the burgeoning government to fight for their country. Since that time the witches have become an important defence branch for the USA.
The series follows three young women, wild one Raelle Collar (played by Taylor Hickson), privileged Military brat Anacostia Quartermain (played by Demetria McKinney) and level headed girl-next-door Tally Craven (played by Jessica Sutton) who are called in a military Hogwarts type way to basic training in combat magic. The trio do not get on and a lot of friction exists between them. Surely they wont be able to co-exist as the series develops?
What makes the show interesting is that traditional roles of gender and power are flipped, with the more dominant women on the front lines fighting looming terrorist threats that are familiar to our world, but with supernatural tactics and weapons.
Motherland: Fort Salem sets its shop up earlier with a shocking terrorist attack opening not seen before on television but soon falls into the military training clichés that we have seen time and time again from Full Metal Jacket, to Top Gun to Space: Above and Beyond.
Verdict: 6/10. The episode builds a very interesting world that the audience definitely wants to see more of. The show’s success though lay in the hands of its characters who whilst are portrayed brilliantly are a little paint by the numbers at this time. I’m happy to try the next few episodes though.