I was JUST asking about a trailer for The Essex Serpent, and lo, it has appeared. Apple dropped the first—only?—look at the historical drama starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston yesterday and it looks…fine. It’s very soggy and British and everyone is Victorian and repressed. Hiddleston plays a vicar married to Clemence Poesy (I feel like Lea Seydoux showed up and stole her thunder a few years ago), and Danes is a Modern Woman who Believes In Science and is trying to prove the fabled “Essex serpent” is real, and not a local myth. It also looks like the fishing village is in the grips of a witch hysteria, and everyone is married and being tempted by someone else, and I am a little bit thrown by how much Claire Danes and Clemence Poesy look alike.
I’m not bowled over, but I’m not going to lie, the extreme delay on getting any impression of this series into the world made me suspicious. And then, worse, the embargo for reviews for this series drops the same day the series premieres on Apple TV+. If I’ve learned anything in my years of professional film criticism it’s that no one gives a sh-t what anyone else thinks, they just want to have their own opinions validated, and also that embargoes dropping close to the release date is a bad sign. An embargo dropping on the SAME DAY as the premiere is a BAD sign. So maybe we should all recalibrate right now and set our expectations for The Essex Serpent at “enjoy hot vicar Hiddles and Claire Danes’ legendary crying face” and leave it at that.