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While the Olympians continue to dominate the TV spotlight in Sochi, another gathering of championship talent takes a bow in the weekend's other gold-medal event: PBS's Great Performances presentation of National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage (Friday, 9/8c, check tvguide.com listings).Laurence Olivier led the National Theatre upon its founding in 1963, and he and other luminaries are seen in vintage clips from past productions, interspersed throughout a dazzling evening of live re-enactments and tantalizing excerpts from landmark plays, including Angels in America, Stuff Happens, The History Boys and War Horse. Fans of Downton Abbey will delight to see the Dowager Countess Maggie Smith in her 1964 prime, vamping in ...
WGN America is shedding its "superstation" skin and getting into the original scripted series business this spring with the period drama Salem. The hour-long series, set in 17th century Massachusetts, explores the infamous Salem witch trials. In a twist, witches are real in Salem, and there's a dark, supernatural truth behind them. Brannon Braga (24, Star Trek: The Next Generation) created, executive produced and wrote Salem, along with Adam Simon (The Haunting in Connecticut). The show stars Janet Montgomery (Made in Jersey), Shane West (Nikita), Seth Gabel (Fringe), Ashley Madekew (Revenge), Xander Berkeley (The Mentalist), Tamzin Merchant (Jane Eyre) and Elise Eberle (The Astronaut Farmer). West plays John Alden, a "tough, pragmatic, wry-humored" war veteran who returns to Salem after spending a decade on the battlefield and being held in captivity at the hands of the Indians. John finds his hometown gripped in witch-hunt frenzy, led by Cotton Mather (Gabel). John also has a history with Mary Sibley (Montgomery), but is the subject of advances by Anne Hale (Merchant), a fearless artist who becomes Mary's enemy.