I imagine I might never have heard of the new Freeform show Motherland: Fort Salem were it not for Autostraddle, which is reliably on top of all things remotely gay. That it is called Motherland: Fort Salem is as batshit insane as its premise, which is that teenage witches go to “war college” to train to fight terrorists, which they do (I think) through … song.
Can you believe that? It really is a show available to watch, right now.
I’m not sure why anyone would need to know more, but in the event that you do: The teenage witches are descendants of the Salem witches (hence: Fort Salem), who are either conscripted or volunteer to serve their country by going to war against a terrorist ring called “the Spree.” I am not sure yet why they ever do this willingly when their ancestors were executed for being witches — we haven’t gotten to that part. This is a show you know you’ll have lots of questions about right off the bat, and likely only more as you go. It’s like watching The Bold Type + Pretty Little Liars + Buffy + Cadet Kelly + Band of Brothers, maybe.
Okay, so anyway, some of the girls (they’re all girls) want to be in the witch army, and some — like Raelle, the alt witch, who wears half her hair in braids — do not, because war is horrible, and nationalism a disease. But all the witches have to train as units, and only advance as units, which forces the three main characters (Raelle, Abigail, and Tally) together even though Raelle’s mom died in combat in a platoon (?) led by Abigail’s mom, so Raelle kind of hates Abigail. (Drama!) Raelle is also distracted by Scylla, a fellow witch soldier-in-training whom she soon (a) tries some kind of psychedelic witch drug called “Salva” with, and (b) finger-bangs in the dorms.
At the end of the first episode, there is a reveal that made me GASP, which is all I can ask for during this interminable period of uncertainty and boredom and fear. Nothing else on TV is doing it for me; anything to do with pre-coronavirus reality or anything resembling it just depresses me. But this show about queer teen witches who hate terrorism, in which characters keep saying the word “shitbird” earnestly for some reason? Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate it.