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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Parts of the story touch on mythology surrounding merpeople, but overall the show intends to entertain.
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.