Writer Richard Warlow's eight-part Netflix/BBC miniseries on 1970s serial killer Charles Sobhraj "ends up being an infuriating blueprint for how bad storytelling choices, bad accents and an opaque central performance can thwart even the most inherently gripping of yarns," says Daniel Fienberg. Fienberg adds that The Serpent, starring Tahar Rahim as Sobhraj and Jenna Coleman, is already compelling, and "you could have played this game of cat-and-mouse out over four hours in deliriously entertaining fashion, complete with trippy costumes, a killer soundtrack and an eclectic cast, with no embellishment required. The Serpent is a structural nightmare, pinballing from country to country and forward and backward in time. It isn't incomprehensible. No, Warlow and director Tom Shankland insist on noting every shift in time and location with imagery and clattering sound effects from a retro travel destination board. The back-and-forth structure throws any sort of character development for Sobhraj and his crew out the window (ditto any sense of how their crimes evolved) and drains Herman's burgeoning investigative skills of any suspenseful progression. I don't doubt that distinguishing between locations in Southeast Asian countries would be somewhat difficult if they weren't properly introduced initially, but doing it every single time and with the same sound effect had me flinching before the end of the first hour. And that was before we got introduced to scenes in Paris with both the onscreen 'PARIS' chyron and then establishing shots of both the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe."