The Essex Serpent, a period drama starring Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes, premiered on Apple TV+ today at 3:00 a.m. ET. The show is based on gothic author Sarah Perry’s novel of the same name. Cora Seaborne, a widow, relocates from London to a little village in Essex to investigate the mystery surrounding a mythological creature. Clio Barnard and Anna Symon, both BAFTA award nominees, are the series’ directors.
The show focuses on two main characters. Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes), a recently widowed natural history scholar with a fascination with sea serpents, is one of them. She spends her free time looking up information on them in old books, maps, and newspaper clippings. When stories circulate that a serpent is terrorising a little fishing village in Essex, she boards a train from London with her young son (Caspar Griffiths) and friend/housekeeper (Hayley Squires) to investigate.
When she comes, she discovers a village that is gradually going insane with dread, rather than a serpent. A missing youngster has everyone on edge, with many accusing the fabled creature of attacking the most immoral of the group. As long as horrible things happen to almost everyone, the beast is always blamed. Will Ransome (Tom Hiddleston), a local pastor and one of the few individuals who believes the serpent is not a negative omen from God, is one of the first persons Cora encounters in town.
The Essex Serpent is a gripping drama that builds with each episode and moves as slowly as a slithering serpent that doesn’t plan any fast moves and instead attacks when you least expect it. It takes a bit for the programme to grow on you, but once you get past the first two episodes, you’re in for a lengthy ride. The story’s central question may be whether there is an actual serpent or whether it is just belief, but what makes the show so compelling is the mayhem that develops around it.
With a powerful approach, The Essex Serpent masterfully conveys a fight between the ideals of faith, myth, and science. As you absorb these ideas through characters who successfully present their points, the six-part drama will leave you with some valid concerns. There’s also a fantastic mix of Victorian horror elements that works wonderfully. The Essex Serpent excels in almost every area. The final product is an atmospheric, Gothic romance that doesn’t shy away from involving in its overall sense of dread while looking toward the possibility of an optimistic ending, thanks to performances by Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes that are infused with a delicious note of inward yearning that slowly manifests itself on the outside to the fog-blanketed marshes of the Essex village in which the bulk of the story is set.