Ever since 2006 viewers across the globe have found themselves allured with the mysterious and magical Mako Island from the hit series H2O; Just Add Water. This Austrian based series follows three teenage girls; Emma, Cleo and Rikki, whose lives are forever transformed into a fairytale thanks to newfound magical powers that allows them to transform into mermaids.
Just Add Water ran for three seasons consisting of seventy-eight episodes filled with relatable slice-of-life aspects we all at one point in our lives face (family issues, relationship drama, simply growing up, ect.) and magical adventures that mark this series in the magical girl genre. Even after the end of season three, the series remained highly popular and lead into not one by two spin-off series, Mako Mermaids and the brand-new H2O: Mermaid Adventures.
And this past week H2O: Mermaid Adventures started steaming in North America on Netflix.
Before I continue on, allow me to warn you all of possible spoilers. Not only for Mermaid Adventures, but Just Add Water as well.
Unlike Mako Mermaids- a series that follows a completely new cast- Mermaid Adventures brings views back to the roots of the original series reliving some of the classic moments that long-time views remember well. The series also marks the return of Emma, Cleo, and Rikki, the original three mermaids. But the incarnations of the trio are not exactly, well, themselves. Or at least the how they are depicted in Just Add Water.
There are many challenges present in this thirteen episode series. Perhaps the biggest issue present is the conflict between staying loyal to Just Add Water or go venturing out and trying to add a new spin to the popular H2O franchise. A common obstacle for any series receiving a new adaptation of any kind. Resulting in effecting both the narrative aspect as well as characterization.
Despite acting as a fantasy series, Just Add Water also some drama elements woven into the plot as it tackled slightly more mature subject matter ranging from betrayal to divorce. Even though the girl’s mermaid halves where ever present and a part of their lives, Just Add Water tended to play up the slice-of-life and drama leaving the fantasy generally for sub-plots.
Mermaid Adventures, on the other hand, tends to do the complete opposite with bring the adventure and magic to the heart of their episodes and allowing the everyday life aspects to typically become secondary, and then at the end bring them both together. Unlike Just Add Water, Mermaid Adventure’s tone is much lighter and perhaps a bit simplistic. And even though both incarnations are greatly impacted and set around life under the sea, Mermaid Adventures places presence on the environmental message about keeping the waters both safe and pollution free as well as taking proper care of sea life. And to do this new additions were added to the Mermaid Adventures cast, a vast array of sea life that thanks to their powers the girls can communicate with.
One of the best aspects of H2O was how different, yet at the same time similar our three main mermaids where and the bond that was shared between them and their friend Lewis. Despite all the changes fans will encounter in this new series, one thing that hasn’t changed is that bond between friends. Now more than ever the three friends are closely knit together, perhaps more so now that at the start of Mermaid Adventures the three are already pinned as friends- something that took time to develop during Just Add Water’s first season. But there are, however, changes to the girl’s personalities that are worth noting; Rikki’s tomboy-ish tendencies, and Cleo’s uncertainty, just to name a few. If you are anything like me and have followed H2O for quite a while now you might have caught yourself feeling slightly confused and calling out that a specific character wouldn’t do that. Even though it is in fact that character, it is a new take on them,
Despite all the differences between Just Add Water and Mermaid Adventures, the new series is enjoyable and proves that even after all the years that have gone by our three favorite mermaids can still captivate audiences. Both Just Add Water and Mermaid Magic are streaming on Netflix as well as Mako Mermaids. For any long-time viewers, how do you stack this new installment up against other incarnations? Be sure to share your thoughts and join the conversation!