By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mermaid tale is violent, suspenseful, and thrilling drama.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
A fresh take on mermaid folklore. Ryn's duality represents the greatest character struggle as her non-discriminate predatory instincts confuse her experiences in the human world with kindhearted Ben. The concept of stereotypes is a recurring theme as Ryn learns humans aren't all alike and those who know her secret try to reconcile what they've heard of mermaids with what they know of her.
Positive Role Models
Ben's desire to help extends from his work with animals to his infatuation with Ryn. Maddie is less trusting of the newcomer, but for good reason. Many characters harbor secrets, some for nefarious reasons.
Violence & Scariness
Dark, suspenseful story with numerous scares and ties to the supernatural. Mermaids cast as predatory creatures, able to take on a shark and win, and willing to kill in the human world out of self-preservation. An attempted rape scene (what's shown stops at kissing) ends in a man dying. A shark carcass is shown ripped apart, and other injuries look real. A mermaid subject endures painful experiments, sample collection, crying out in pain. Mermaid transformation process can be scary.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A dating couple is shown making out in bed. Men appear bare-chested, and Ryn is shown naked but with breasts and groin obscured. In their aquatic form, mermaids are naked women from the waist up, but their breasts are covered by their seafaring skin. Ben is overcome by the song of the siren and finds himself infatuated with her because of it.
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Rarely "ass," "damn," "d--k" (name-calling), and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults are shown drinking beer. References to drug use, including weed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Siren is a suspenseful thriller about the mermaid and human worlds colliding. There's a fair amount of violence in it, mostly at the hands of the main character, Ryn, who comes ashore in desperate search of her companion. Expect to see bloodied carcasses of sea creatures and at least one dead human body. Strong language is sporadic but includes name-calling like "bitch" and "d--k," as well as "ass" and "damn." On the upside, the series shows both humans and Ryn learning to challenge stereotypes.
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What's the Story?
SIREN opens as the coastal town of Bristol Cove, Washington, hosts its annual Mermaid Days celebration, recalling the berg's legendary past with the mythical creatures. Suddenly history becomes all too real as a mysterious newcomer named Ryn (Eline Powell) proves the legends true and stirs up trouble in the normally sleepy little town. As marine biologist Ben (Alex Roe) tries to piece together Ryn's story, old secrets surrounding his family's legacy and the town's are revealed, and a battle for the ocean begins.
Is It Any Good?
Suspenseful and foreboding, this series is a thrilling jaunt into a far less sanitized version of mermaid lore than what's usually presented. The scares are real, the secrets tantalizing, and the impending doom palpable as the story unfolds. Add a sidebar government conspiracy and some men-in-black types determined to keep the truth from the average population, and you get tension and anticipation in just about every scene.
Siren's course is uncharted and full of surprises, which is great for mature audiences but not so much for tweens and impressionable younger kids. There's the possibility of violence at every turn, and sinister and mysterious figures lurk all around. At the same time, there's also the instinct of loyalty that drives Ryn's movements, linking her experience with the general human one and making her a sympathetic character, despite her predatory nature.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the role of loyalty in Siren. Where does Ryn's loyalty lie? Ben's? Maddie's? How do you find that loyalty changes when pressure (money, fear, friends, etc.) is applied to it? What loyalties refuse to change for you?
Do stories like this one change the way you think about legends? To what degree are most stories -- even the fictional ones -- rooted in fact? Do you think we'll ever know all the answers to questions like whether mermaids exist? Is there fun in not knowing?
Which characters do you see displaying role model behavior? Are you drawn to those characters or to the less upstanding ones? Are ulterior motives always a bad thing?
- Premiere date: March 29, 2018
- Cast: Alex Roe, Eline Powell, Rena Owen
- Network: Freeform
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Ocean Creatures
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: October 13, 2022
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