Apple TV+’s new six-part limited series, The Essex Serpent, based on Sarah Perry’s bestselling and award-winning 2016 novel of the same name,1 is a bit more nuanced than the standard prestige television fare, being less a series of intersecting parallel plots and more about combustible characters with nebulous motivations who collide at key points. Emmy Award-winning Homeland (2011–2020) alumna Claire Danes leads the cast as the fiercely headstrong emotional train wreck that is Cora Seaborne, supported primarily by Tom Hiddleston as the earnest but blundering local pastor, Will Ransome. The heavily metaphorical plot about a potential sea serpent haunting the waters of Essex, England in 1890 is far less significant to the actual narrative, which is more interested in the connection formed between these two emotionally compromised people.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Cole Burgett about his online-exclusive, “The Essex Serpent: By Tongue of Brute“. **Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for The Essex Serpent.**
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