A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Premiere date: July 26, 2013
- Cast: Amy Ruffle, Chai Romruen, Ivy Latimer, Lucy Fry
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Ocean Creatures
- TV rating: TV-G
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: September 29, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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