WGN came loaded for bear to this year’s New York City Comic Con with a strong showing of it’s most popular series! I had a full day of roundtable interviews and I got the low down on all three breakout hit shows!
Continuing it’s bloody, sexy and fantastical re-imagining of Colonial America, The third season of “SALEM” dawns with the triumph of the witches plan to remake the New World by bringing forth the devil to earth and making Salem his capital. But the devil is a liar, and instead of a New World free from murderous Puritan hypocrisy, his own plan will bring nothing but death and slavery with the ultimate aim of leading humanity to destroy itself. And there’s only one person on earth who can beat the devil—the very witch that birthed him, his mother, Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery).
I had a terrific interview first with Shane West (Captain John Alden) and Co-Creator, Executive Producer and Writer Adam Simon. You may remember Shane from NBC’s “ER” (Dr. Ray Barnett) Prior to SALEM Shane played Micheal , the male lead in “Nikita” on the CW opposite Maggie Q. Adam Co-Created EP & writes SALEM. He’s written for Oliver Stone & James Cameron. Shane & Adam were rightfully proud of the work they did on SALEM, WGN’s flagship series that debuted in 2014. They had terrific takes on how the show captures 17th Century Massachusetts in a convincing way. Shane shared background on his characters growth and Adam shed insight behind the newest cast member Marilyn Manson on his role as the bloody barber surgeon Thomas Dinley! Next was Janet Montgomery (Mary Sibley) the beautiful, ruthless yet vulnerable Coven leader. She starred opposite Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” and the horror film “The Hills Run Red” but I remember her as E’s girlfriend Jennine on HBO’s ENTOURAGE. She was joined by co-creator & EP Brannon Braga, who most recently was EP on FOX’s COSMOS but he’s Star Trek royalty. He was the creator, writer, and EP on Star Trek The Next Generation, Voyager & Enterprise. I was fanboying like crazy!
You’ve got to see their interviews below—
I had an exclusive first look at the second season of this gripping Appalachian Mountain based drama series. The fallout behind the season finale was, unexpected to say the least! The rich, nuances of the mythology of Shay Mountain and the mysterious Clan Farrell were explored in depth by an eclectic panel of cast members and creatives, including series creator and writer Peter Mattei, who serves as executive producer alongside Peter Tolan (“Rescue Me”), and series stars David Morse (“Treme,” “Concussion”) Ryan Hurst (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Bates Motel”), Gillian Alexy (“The Americans”), Thomas M.Wright (“The Bridge,” “Top of the Lake”) Kyle Gallner (“Veronica Mars”), and Christina Jackson (“Boardwalk Empire”).
Unfortunately, I was not allowed to shoot video, but I can tell you the standoff at the end of last season continues to have dire repercussions, putting everyone at risk as they are forced to face new challenges and new enemies! This show really has its own mythological spin and builds an authentic universe.
Last but certainly not least was a look at season two of the heroic historical actioner “Underground” This strong, trailblazing series chronicles The Underground Railroad. I met with the cast and creative team including Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton), Aisha Hinds (“Harriet Tubman”), Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”) Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”) and Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”) along with creator / executive producer Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil”, “Heroes,”), and executive producers Akiva Goldsman (“The Dark Tower” “I Am Legend” “A Beautiful Mind”) Set in a desperate and dangerous time this provocative and compelling series focuses on a diverse Abolitionist group of courageous and legendary men and women.
The second season of WGN America 10 episode series premieres early 2017. The cast and creators all shared fantastic insights on why they got involved, how the characters are evolving and why this shows themes are resonating with audiences. One thing that struck me was the affection for each other, pride in the work of how the artists portray these heroes and heroines. The big shoes the actors felt they needed to fill like Aisha Hinds incredible iconic portrayal of Harriet Tubman.
Sister Amirah broke it down like this, – “This was the country’s first intergrated Civil Rights movement. Black and White coming together saying HELL NO! and that’s what we need in this country today!”
Check the videos to get more background on this important series that also features Singer and Producer John Legend as Frederick Douglass.—
This was one of the strongest showings of any network I’ve seen recently and I can’t wait for the new seasons of all three shows on WGN!
Photos courtesy of author