The Essex Serpent is a recent TV mini-series on Apple Tv that follows newly widowed Cora, who, having been released from an abusive marriage, relocates from Victorian London to the small village of Aldwinter in Essex, intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent has returned to the area. The story explores the scenario of religious superstition and a more rational understanding examination of the superstition, both views colliding and contradicting each other over unusual, mysterious, and unexplained events. The series which is now in its fourth episode intriguing is a well-paced account, that has a strong and flowing script that is delivered wonderfully by the leading actors and supporting cast, which includes the multi-talented Tom Hiddelston and the excellent Claire Danes. The series has to it an attraction and a beguiling, persona which is mainly down to the performances of the cast and the arresting cinematography courtesy of David Raedeker, with the cameras being positioned and deployed at odd angles and at low levels especially when the filming is over the damp, desolate, and forbidding marshes.
Its a storyline that does throw up some surprises which makes me wonder if the conclusion will be a rational explanation as Cora (Danes) is suggesting, or if it will be a mystical route that brings the tale to an end? We will have to wait and find out. The music too plays a major factor in creating a mysterious, romantic, and unsettling atmosphere. The score is the work of two composers, Dustin O’Halloran and Herdis Stefansdottir, who have collaborated to create a score that is more than just supportive of the storyline but becomes an integral part of it. As yet there is no soundtrack release but with a series such as this and also with a score of this quality then it is only a matter of time before the music is released. The music is realized by an array of instrumentation, I would not label it as being grandiose in any way but it is certainly an affecting work, the music hinting at what the serpent is or could be whilst also having to it a personal and more intimate style and sound when applied to the central characters in the series, but the themes are not strictly attached to the characters but more to the emotions or feelings that they are experiencing either at the time or in their past. The music and sounds also work well with the various landscapes and settings within the series, colouring and adding depth to the proceedings. The composers creating two differing musical worlds for the rural settings of Essex and the busier locale of London.
Essex having to it a more solid and down to earth style and London being given a slightly softer and delicate persona, but still sounding somewhat rural. The instrumentation is interesting with the score utilizing cello and violin in most cues, the composers also introducing interesting sounds and adding textures and layers to the score which are fashioned via found instrumentation. It maybe a score that is not yet available, but I am hoping that it will be issued very soon. Worth watching and listening to.