Mako Mermaids: An H2O Adventure



H2O spin-off reels in more fun for kids, teens.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Parts of the story touch on mythology surrounding merpeople, but overall the show intends to entertain.

Positive messages

Kids see teens step out of their comfort zones and embrace change, mostly with very positive results. In some cases, the experience challenges the impressions they had of how certain people lived and acted, and they gain new respect for others as a result. Mysterious happenings and the uncertain motivations of some characters cause short-lived tension.

Positive role models

Teens' personalities run the gamut from hot-headed and judgmental to sweet and peace-making. Some are selfish in their goals, but they change their tune after learning to see things from others' point of view. A prominent adult character keeps secrets to protect her identity, and the teens use this to blackmail her into helping them fix their problem with Zac.

Violence & scariness

Some tense moments when characters briefly are thought to be in danger, but nothing too serious.

Sexy stuff

Some teens pair off into couples, but physical affection is limited to hugging and an occasional kiss. When mermaids transition into humans, they're naked, but only bare shoulders, back and legs are shown. When Zac's in merman form, he's bare-chested. 

Not applicable

The show is a spin-off of H2O, and while the entire cast and basic plot are new for this series, fans may want to check out the original for more underwater fun.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mako Mermaids is a spin-off of Nickelodeon's H2O: Just Add Water, but the cast is entirely new to this series. The show is geared toward teens, but it's likely to draw in younger fans as well if they're granted access to Netflix. For the most part, the content is conducive to this wide span of ages, save for some tense moments when characters are in danger or fear their magical powers might be discovered. The show does a good job of obscuring the mermaids' bareness when they become human, but Zac is always bare-chested in his marine form. Despite their picture-perfect looks, the girls prove that they're more than pretty faces, and positive themes about friendship, respect, and looking past appearances are worthwhile for the show's young viewers.

What's the story?

In MAKO MERMAIDS, three young mermaids take to land for the first time to undo the effects of magical powers accidentally bestowed on a teen boy. A late-summer camping trip to the remote island of Mako takes an unexpected turn when Zac (Chai Romruen) falls into a mystical pool during a full moon and becomes a merman. The accident has dire consequences for the entire mermaid pod, which then shuns Sirena (Amy Ruffle), Nixie (Ivy Latimer), and Lyla (Lucy Fry), who decide to take Zac's powers back to set things right. But to do so, they have to find him, and that means taking on human forms and joining the land-dwellers.

Is it any good?


Hoping to reel in some of H2O's success with viewers, Mako Mermaids retains many touches of the original, most evidently the emphasis on three beautiful teen mermaids who aren't exactly best friends in the beginning but whose relationship evolves over time. New to the mix is a male character, and a merman at that, which gives the show a distinct flair and a little more macho charisma. It's possible that this change could entice the boy demographic somewhat, but more likely it will just ramp up the appeal to the girls who are already watching.

Mako Mermaids marks a change in the tone of Netflix's original series, which previously had churned out only shows meant for an older audience. Of course, introducing kids to online TV raises its own concerns, so if this is your kids' first experience with this, that is a factor to consider. As for this show, though, its generally benign content welcomes a range of ages, and the mermaids' awkward fish-out-of-water storyline provides many laughable moments. There are also touches of mythology and subtle thinking points about tolerance and individuality that can be gleaned from the story if kids are so inclined.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this show's unique take on teen girls. In what ways does the fact that the teens are outsiders give you a different perspective on typical teen behavior? Do these characters negate any stereotypes? Do they perpetuate any? What about Zac's character?

  • Kids: Why are stories about magic so magical for viewers? Is it fun to imagine the world differently from how it is? 

  • Parents can talk to their kids about online safety. What sites are you allowed to visit online? Why does your family have rules about this issue? Are there any benefits to watching TV online as opposed to the traditional way? 

TV details

Cast:Amy Ruffle, Chai Romruen, Ivy Latimer, Lucy Fry
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship, Great girl role models, Ocean creatures
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:Streaming

This review of Mako Mermaids: An H2O Adventure was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bypwatcher August 21, 2013

Three girls obsessed with making a boy "normal" because otherwise he's a threat

I have watched the 13 episodes that have been released so far. I feel this series has a lot of negative messages in it so I won't be sharing it with my kids. Some of the messages... a) Family won't stick with you if you do something wrong or if you aren't "normal". b) It's ok to gang up on someone because he/she is different or has something you want. c) It's ok to judge someone on the actions of his/her ancestors. d) Adults are not good role models. and e) Skewed version of friendship. --paragraph-- In the first episode, the girls mess up in their guard duties and their entire family/community abandons them. In the following 12 episodes, we follow various schemes the girls have for stripping Zac of his newfound abilities and tail. Any positive qualities the girls possess are being directed toward achieving that goal. Zac has not shown himself to be any sort of a threat. The mermaids have just decided that a human transforming into a merman is a bad thing. And around episode 8, they decide that him acquiring a certain object is a bad thing based on what some mermen did with it in the distant past. This may be building to something, and the second half of the season may turn things around, but to this point (5+ hours in), most of what I see are teens behaving badly. --paragraph-- Below are some specific examples and SPOILERS. --paragraph-- Let's start with family. Lyla, Sirena, and Nixie mess up in their duty to guard the moon pool and what is the response? Their families abandon them completely. The whole pod just up and leaves without listening to their explanation. Aquata (Sirena's sister) has a tearful good-bye, but still willingly abandons her sister. Aren't families supposed to stick together? These are underage girls that are being left to fend for themselves for a simple error in judgement. Zac is eager to show his powers to his best friend, but keeps the secret from his parents, with whom he otherwise appears to have a good relationship. --paragraph-- Rita (older mermaid living as a human) is the adult we have seen the most. She initially tells the girls to go back to the sea because there's so much they don't understand. Eventually she caves and lets the girls stay if they agree to listen to her, but she pretty much leaves them to their own devices except when they need to be bailed out. For example, she tells them they have to buy clothes instead of stealing them, but doesn't show them how to get money. They steal gold coins from her to buy clothes and then when the sales person threatens to call the cops, Rita bails them out with a "won't you ever learn" grimace, but still doesn't teach them how to earn money or require them to pay her back. In another episode, Rita catches someone stealing exam answers. Instead of confronting him, she gives out the wrong exam to the students (everyone fails) and then lets everyone take a corrected exam a few days later. No real consequences for doing the wrong thing and stealing the test in the first place. Not a lot of positive adult role models in this show. --paragraph-- I see a lot of negative friendship themes. Nixie and Serina appear to be friends, but Lyla is the outsider. Overall, she comes off as being bossy, mean, and self-centered. Most of the softening you see in her character in the first 13 episodes is because she's falling for Zac, not because she is becoming friends with Nixie and Sirena. If the pod came back today, I think Lyla would go back to avoiding Nixie and Sirena. These girls are like the stereotypical mean girl clique; they are together to plot against another person, not to enjoy each other's company. They bail each other out of trouble to protect their own hides, not out of love for each other. They are not interested in making any friends among the humans, with the exception of the romantic attraction between David and Sirena. One of the plans the girls hatch is to become "friends" with Zac and convince him to get rid of his powers. The argument given against that plan is not that it's wrong or mean, but that it won't work because Lyla isn't likable. It backfires on them not because they didn't get him to trust them, but because they made an impetuous grab for the trident. The message being it would have worked out fine if they had been more subtle or patient. These are supposed to be our heroines? --paragraph-- The friendship between Zac and Cam (nominally, his best friend) also seems very one sided. Cam seems willing to do a lot for Zac to help him cover his secret, but Zac treats him pretty poorly and without any gratitude. For example, at one point, Cam is trying to talk to Zac about how hard a time Cam is having running interference with Evie, Zac's girlfriend, over a pool party (which would likely expose Zac's secret). Zac ends the discussion by snapping, "Just find a way to stop what she's planning" rather than helping Cam come up with a plan. Another time, Zac tells one of the girls something like, "Cam knows what I want him to know."
Educator and Parent Written byHelenia August 7, 2013

Very nicely done, casting, colours, music effects are very well done, can't wait for season 2 :)

Watched the H2o Just Add Water, this is a spin-off but they made an excellent job! not only the casting was good but also, the story surrounds real mermaids unlike the other series that they where humans turned into mermaids. Lots of colours, great music, laughter, fun and adventure! good for all ages! I definatelly suggest this to anyone.
Teen, 16 years old Written byrebma97 August 8, 2013

Okag Sequel To H2O

"Make Mermaids" is a decent sequel to "H2O". While it's not the best show out there, it's entertaining enough. Personally I prefer "H2O", but only slightly (I never loved that series). Parents should know that the mermaids, like in "H2O", wear bras and have their stomaches out, and the merman (Zac) is shirtless. Also, the mermaids are naked when they turn into humans. There are also relationships, which involve a little kissing. But overall it's fine for kids.
What other families should know
Too much sex


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