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TL; DR: 

There’s something in the water in Apple TV+’s upcoming limited series The Essex Serpent, a period drama about the search for a mythical sea creature that may be terrorizing an English village. A just-released trailer offers the first look at Claire Danes as the amateur paleontologist who hopes to discover the truth about the beast and Tom Hiddleston as Will Ransome, the local pastor who doubts the existence of the sea serpent. 

‘The Essex Serpent’ cast includes Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes 

In the moody and atmospheric 2-minute teaser, tensions rise in a Victorian village when a teenage girl disappears. The local residents soon become convinced a sea serpent is threatening their community. Homeland alum Danes plays Cora Seabourne, a widow who arrives to investigate the reports of the beast. She clashes with Hiddleston, a man of God who dismisses the serpent as “an invention, a symptom of the times we live in.” 

Claire Danes in profile, with Tom Hiddleston in the background, in 'The Essex Serpent'
Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston in ‘The Essex Serpent’ | AppleTV+

Cora and Will eventually “form a surprising bond of science and skepticism,” per Apple’s description of the series (as well as a romantic one, based on the trailer). “But when tragedy strikes, locals accuse her of attracting the creature.” 

Clémence Poésy plays Will’s wife Stella. Frank Dillane and Hayley Squires also star in the series. 

‘The Essex Serpent’ releases May 13

The Essex Serpent will stream exclusively on Apple TV+. The first two episodes premiere Friday, May 13. New episodes will premiere weekly on Fridays through June 10. There will be six episodes in total.

BAFTA Award nominee Clio Barnard directed all six episodes, which were written by BAFTA Award nominee Anna Symon. 

‘The Essex Serpent’ is based on the book of the same name by Sarah Perry

Clemence Poesy sitting on a couch in 'The Essex Serpent'
Clémence Poésy in ‘The Essex Serpent’ | Apple TV+

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The Essex Serpent is based on the best-selling 2016 gothic novel by Sarah Perry. She has said the team behind the show has done an excellent job of adapting her work for the screen

“I’m so sorry to be achingly sincere but: it’s been the privilege and blessing of a lifetime to see my imagination given fresh life by Clio Bernard, @anna.symon.5, Claire Danes, Tom Hiddleston, @c_poesy_ and the rest of the extraordinary cast with @see_saw_films and @appletv,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’ve been amazed from the beginning by the generosity and kindness of everyone involved to each other and to me, and I truly *truly* think they’ve created a series of extraordinary beauty and strangeness and truth about love and friendship and faith and change.”

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