I need to be clear about one thing: Apple TV+‘s new interval drama The Essex Serpent isn’t an excellent present. It’s tedious, overwrought, and worst of all, boring. Claire Danes is woefully miscast as a rich British widow having fun with her freedom from her abusive husband by looking a sea snake. The script is slower transferring than a South American sloth. The subplot involving Frank Dillane‘s scholar physician inventing open coronary heart surgical procedure is weirdly extra fascinating than no matter is occurring the titular serpent. To place it merely,The Essex Serpent is an enormous misfire.
That stated, Tom Hiddleston is extremely good-looking in it. The Essex Serpent won’t know the right way to inform a gripping story, but it surely does know the right way to make Tom Hiddleston shine in peak nerdy sizzling type.
Primarily based on the Sarah Perry novel of the identical title, The Essex Serpent follows Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes), a wealthy London girl with an obsession with pure historical past. When her older, abusive husband dies, she is lastly free to pursue her scientific pursuits. This places her within the path of smitten native physician Luke Garrett (Frank Dillane), however extra importantly on the hunt for the mysterious “Essex Serpent.” Superstitious locals are blaming the disappearance of a younger maiden on the mythic creature, however native pastor Will Ransome (Tom Hiddleston) rejects these theories. Mockingly, the person of god calls for proof that the magical creature exists outdoors the hysteric imaginations of his parishioners. When Cora arrives, he’s each intrigued by her smarts and fervour, but additionally cautious of her perception that the Essex Serpent is a dinosaur who has one way or the other managed to outlive millennia within the estuaries.
That’s the fundamental plot of The Essex Serpent, however what’s extra vital are the present’s aesthetics. Costume designer Jane Petrie offers Cora daring colours and much more eye-popping silhouettes to put on. Everybody is roofed in essentially the most elaborate, lovely knitwear. And Tom Hiddleston’s pastor seems to be much less like a person of the material and extra like a sizzling scholar farming throughout a niche yr. His navy sweaters, multicolored scarfs, and easy-fitting tweed blazers may very well be bought in boutiques in the present day. Will Ransome isn’t a interval drama heartthrob, however a modern-day crush dropped into this nineteenth century fable.
Hiddleston appears to totally perceive the vibe of his function. He’s there to be an ideal foil to Cora. Will challenges her theories in regards to the serpent, welcomes her into the city, and likewise takes on her assist when wrestling a farm animal out of mud. Extra importantly, Will Ransome is a person who leads with purpose and empathy. He not solely desires a scientific clarification for what’s occurring in his parish, however he additionally makes use of his religion as a compass directing him to deal with everybody with kindness. Once more, he’s a nerdy sizzling dude in a contemporary vein dropped into this era panorama.
If you happen to’re fascinated by trying out The Essex Serpent, be ready for beautiful visuals, over-the-top metaphors, and a simmering form of sexual rigidity percolating beneath the floor of each scene. It wasn’t my private cup of tea, however I can’t deny that Tom Hiddleston learn the script and understood his project. He as soon as once more cuts a dashing determine in a British interval drama. Whether or not that’s sufficient to hook you is the thriller that you simply, not Cora, has to resolve.