H2O: Just Add Water TV Poster Image

H2O: Just Add Water



Aussie mermaids send positive messages to tweens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Some mild flirting among teens.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:March 14, 2008
Cast:Cariba Heine, Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Great girl role models
Character strengths:Communication, Integrity
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Adult Written byDizzy Blonde April 11, 2009


This is by far the best Teen Nick show! I watch H2O ALL THE TIME. People should be watching this show because its fun. Who doesn't love mermaids?
Parent Written bymommy2five September 15, 2011

too grown up for pre teens

Typical booty shorts and "grown up" clothing for the teen girls. Flirting between boys and girls.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Educator and Parent of a 11 and 12 year old Written byBibliomaniac Mom April 9, 2008

Very Tweeny

My daughters, 11 and 12 are very into this show right now. They love it. It has some fun story lines-typical problems mermaids would have trying to hide their identities. However, the characters do not typically share their problems with their parents, and most adults appear to be disconnected, unintelligent, and ignorant. Also, the way the main characters treat their siblings can be very demeaning and disrespectful, which does not exactly help foster peace in a household. Given, not all siblings get along all the time in the real world, but, hey, it would be nice for children to see positive role models, right? Lastly, most of the characters are dating, and so if you don't feel your kids are ready to be exposed to that yet, you might want to put off their watching this show until they're a little older. Keep talking to your kids about the messages they get from the role model families they see on television. :-)