| Cult of Mac

It’s science vs. religion in new folk horror series The Essex Serpent [Apple TV+ recap]

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Tom Hiddleston in The Essex Serpent★★★★☆
Tom Hiddleston plays a holy man with a lot on his mind in the new Apple TV+ period drama.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Essex Serpent is Apple TV+’s first foray into folk horror and a welcome return to BBC-style costume dramas. Based on the book by Sarah Perry, and starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston, this series holds a lot of promise in its deviously clever premise.

Shepherded by writer Anna Symon (Dark Matters: Twisted But True, Deep Water) and director Clio Barnard (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant), the series’ excellent production design and game cast make The Essex Serpent appointment television. You can watch the first two episodes Friday on Apple TV+.

Trailer for Apple TV+’s Essex Serpent is a mashup of science, religion and romance

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Trailer for Apple TV+'s 'Essex Serpent' is a mashup of science, religion and romance
Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes will star in The Essex Serpent on Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple TV+

The first trailer for the upcoming historical drama The Essex Serpent dropped Tuesday. It gives a preview of a very complicated relationship between characters played by Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston. Also, there might or might not be a giant sea serpent involved.

The limited series premieres May 13 on Apple TV+.

Tom Hiddleston is latest A-lister to sign up for an Apple TV+ show

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Tom Hiddleston
Another Marvel alumni joining Apple TV+.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia CC

Tom Hiddleston has signed on to star with actor Claire Danes in The Essex Serpent for Apple TV+. The drama series is based on a book about Victorian repression, science and faith, and fear of the unknown, which sold upward of 200,000 copies.

The Essex Serpent was originally due to star Keira Knightley in the lead. However, she dropped out of the project as the result of COVID-related scheduling issues. Knightley was replaced by Danes.

Claire Danes replaces Keira Knightley in Apple TV+’s The Essex Serpent

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‘The Essex Serpent’ adapted for Apple TV+ starring Claire Danes
The Essex Serpent is coming to Apple TV+ in an adaptation starring Claire Danes.
Image: Serpent's Tail/Profile Books

Claire Danes will reportedly star in The Essex Serpent, a drama series about a 19th century widow who goes monster hunting. The show will be based on a popular novel.

Previously Keira Knightley was going to take the lead, but she bowed out of the project over COVID-related scheduling problems.

Keira Knightley drops out of Apple TV+ series The Essex Serpent

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Keira Knightley
Pirates of the Caribbean and Imitation Game star Keira Knightley was due to star in the show.
Photo: Tony Shek/Wikipedia CC

Keira Knightley has pulled out of Apple TV+ adaptation The Essex Serpent. The Pirates of the Caribbean star was set to play the lead role in an adaptation of Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel of the same name. Shooting would have started in around six weeks.

However, as a result of “family reasons,” involving coronavirus lockdown and childcare, Knightley will no longer star in the series.

Keira Knightley will star in The Essex Serpent for Apple TV+

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Keira Knightley
Pirates of the Caribbean and Imitation Game star Keira Knightley was due to star in the show.
Photo: Tony Shek/Wikipedia CC

Keira Knightley will head up a TV adaptation of Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel The Essex Serpent for Apple TV+.

The novel, which is a period piece set in 1893, tells the story of a widow, Cora Seagrave, who moves from London to a small village in Essex after her marriage to an abusive husband comes to an end. There, she becomes interested in a local legend about a creature called the Essex Serpent.