H2O: Just Add Water

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
H2O: Just Add Water TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Aussie mermaids send positive messages to tweens.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 101 reviews

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We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

More entertainment than education, but there are positive messages about friendship, loyalty, and helping others.

Positive Messages

The girls often use their abilities to help others. The series sends subtle messages about self-acceptance and appreciating what makes each person unique. Characters deal with standard teenage woes like coping with bullies and trying to fit in with the popular crowd.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The teens in this series are exceptionally well-behaved, with nary a hint of drinking, drugs, or sex. There are a lot of mild interpersonal conflicts between the teens on the show, i.e. stories dealing with gossip. But the trio of mermaids at the story's center always decide to stay true to their girlfriends eventually. Parents are mostly "at work" or busy elsewhere rather than paying attention to what their teens are up to; only rarely do they appear to offer guidance.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Some mild flirting among teens.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that despite a far-fetched plot and some cheesy acting in H20: Just Add Water, there's a fair amount to like about this Australian fantasy drama series for tweens. The characters struggle with realistic issues like peer pressure, popularity woes, and self-esteem -- and, in the end, usually conclude that they're happy to be their own unique selves. The series also underscores the strong bonds of friendship, though it seems to do so at the cost of strong parental roles, since the girls keep their life-altering secret from their folks. There's very little iffy content to worry about -- no language, violence, or drinking, and only a bit of flirting.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byvjenkins1970 June 5, 2014

H20: Just Add Water's "Moon Spell Espisode (S1:E7)"

My 9 year old daughter watches, er, used to watch this show. That was before I walked into the family tv room and found her watching two teenage characters mak... Continue reading
Parent of a 8-year-old Written bylinda_s December 3, 2016

Our family's favorite

It is a rare show that can entertain an 8-year-old girl, an11-year-old boy and their mom. We watched all three seasons over the course of about 6 months and it... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 18, 2015

H20: Just Add Water Is Cheesy

This show is fine in terms of being appropriate. But the plot is disappointing, there are a lot of repeated episode ideas, and the fact that early on there is a... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 10, 2011

H2O and Mermaids RULE!!!


What's the story?

In H2O, three teens' lives are changed forever after their boat strays to a mystical island off the Australian coast and magical forces transform them into mermaids with unique powers to control water. Back on land as normal teenagers, Emma (Claire Holt), Rikki (Cariba Heine), and Cleo (Phoebe Tonkin) wrestle with mixed emotions about their newfound abilities but slowly discover that their uniqueness definitely has some hidden benefits -- even if it can't save them from the bullies and social snobs of the world. The complete series is available on DVD along with at least five hours of bonus material.

Is it any good?

H2O's cast isn't likely to earn many acting awards (there's a fair amount of hokiness in most of the performances), and the premise is so far-fetched that it's sure to have teens rolling their eyes, but this fantasy drama is a fun escape for tweens. Girls especially will relate to the characters' struggles with learning to accept their own individuality (though their fishy circumstances are a bit extreme...) and overcoming social pressures. They may also be inspired by the trio's strong bonds of friendship and the selfless way the girls use their powers to help others.

Meanwhile, parents can smile over the fact that they don't have to endure overzealous Aussie acting to monitor what their kids are seeing, since there's virtually nothing worrisome here for the tween set. In fact, there are even subtle positive messages about self-esteem and respect for differences sprinkled throughout the plot. The only sticking point lies in the girls' refusal to trust their parents with their secret -- and the adults' apparent oblivion to their kids' life-altering changes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media portrays teens, particularly girls. Do the girls on this show have both positive and negative traits? What are they? Do you think they're realistic characters? How do the teen girls in this series compare to the ones you know? In what ways are certain personality traits exaggerated for effect?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love tween stuff

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