Tom Hiddleston in 'The Essex Serpent.'

Tom Hiddleston in 'The Essex Serpent,' premiering globally May 13, 2022 on Apple TV+.

Following his time spent poking around the multiverse as the titular troublemaker in Disney+ series ‘Loki’, Tom Hiddleston is heading back in time for Apple TV+’s new period mystery drama ‘The Essex Serpent’.

Adapted from Sarah Perry's 2016 Best British Book Award-winning novel, ‘The Essex Serpent’ is set in Victorian history. The story follows as Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) and her companion Martha (Hayley Squires) journey to the fictional village of Aldwinter in pursuit of Cora’s dream to become a paleontologist following the sudden death of her abusive husband.

While local tales of a massive primordial serpent capable of causing earthquakes are cause for alarm for most in the village and have led to a kind of collective paranoia, they’re precisely what draw Cora deeper into the fabric of Aldwinter’s community.

Cora’s passion and curiosity about the so-called “blackwater beast” is part of what makes her so fascinating to figures like Reverend Will Ransome (Hiddleston) and Dr. Luke Garrett (Frank Dillane). But the longer Cora spends in Aldwinter, the more it seems like her presence — along with the rumored beast’s — is having some sort of impact on the village that certainly seems otherworldly…

The clash between faith and science, and the simmering passions that underpin it all, certainly promises compelling TV, and the presence of Hiddleston and Danes leading a great cast (which also includes Squires, Clémence Poésy, Michael Jibson and Dixie Egerickx) gives us hope, too.

Anna Symon, who previously worked on series such as ‘Deep Water’ ‘Dark Matters’ and ‘Mrs. Wilson’ is the writer here, while Clio Barnard, director of movies including ‘Ali & Ava’, ‘Dark River’ and ‘The Selfish Giant’, provides the stirring visuals of windswept English coastal towns.

Apple TV+ has been putting out some solid programming in the last couple of years, rising to rival the likes of Netflix and HBO in terms of attracting big names and casting them in visually stylish and complex shows. Recent examples include ‘Severance’, ‘Slow Horses’, ‘Foundation’ and, on the movie front, the Oscar-winning ‘CODA’.

And while Hiddleston has been on the small screen recently as Loki, it’s refreshing to see him back in period drama territory with the sort of material where he got his start performing. Danes, meanwhile, has more been known for the likes of ‘Homeland’ of late, so her role of Cora is an interesting one. Trivia fans should note that Danes replaced Keira Knightley, who was originally cast in the role, but dropped out over concerns about finding childcare while shooting during Covid.

‘The Essex Serpent’ is due to kick off on Apple TV+ on Friday, May 13 with two episodes, followed by one episode a week on until the finale on June 10th.

Claire Danes in 'The Essex Serpent.'

Claire Danes in 'The Essex Serpent,' premiering globally May 13, 2022 on Apple TV+.