05 March 2014

Season Set Review: "H2O: Just Add Water": Season One

Rated: TV-PG (US)
Starring: Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin, Cariba Heine, and Angus McLaren
Released: 2006 (TV premieres)
Synopsis: Emma (Claire Holt, Blue Like Jazz), Cleo (Phoebe Tonkin), and Rikki (Cariba Heine) are just three seemingly regular teenage girls who have a big secret...they're mermaids! Each with a special power of their own, they grow fins and a tail any time they touch water.  Together with their science geek friend Lewis (Angus McLaren), they go to great lengths to make sure no one finds out about their secret identity! Unfortunately, marine biologist Dr. Denman (Lara Cox) is hot on their trail, and, after she teams up with rich bad boy Zane (Burgess Abernethy), they'll stop at nothing to find those "sea monsters".  Will the three girls be able to keep anyone from finding out, or will their "mermaidness" be exposed to the entire planet?
As seen on TeenNick.

Artistic Merit

Plots: 5/5
Some shows take their premise as far as it will go after only a few episodes; this is not one of those shows.  I've been watching at least an episode or two a week since just after Christmas, and it kept me interested the whole time.  There was a moment here and there that was slightly dry, but the season as a whole held my interest like few shows do.

Production Values: 5/5
I can't think of a single complaint in this department.  The acting is great, especially from the three young female leads; the special effects are very convincing; the sets are quite authentic and believable; the soundtrack serves the show very well, especially the opening theme of "No Ordinary Girl"; all in all; wonderfully done.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
Cleo, Emma, and Rikki look out for not only one another, but also their friends and their enemies.  Even bad boy Zane sacrifices of himself to help the girls out; he and his father repair their strained relationship, as well.  Lewis is regularly looking out for his mermaid companions, and refuses to succumb to the seductive wiles of the comely Dr. Denman.

Sex: 4/5
For the most part, kissing is as bad as it gets.  It is implied that Dr. Denman tries to seduce Lewis--who is several years his junior--but he doesn't give in.

Nudity: 3/5
The good news is that the half-fish heroines in this series are more modestly dressed and less seductive than most other TV and movie mermaids (Ariel, Aquamarine, etc.) The bad news is that many young women--including the three main characters--are still seen right many times in low-cut/off-the-shoulder tops, midriff-baring outfits, and, not quite as often, bikinis.  Shirtless guys are also seen from time to time.  Still, when the girls are mermaids and interact with guys, they almost always behave in a flirty, G-rated way.  Also of note: The bar where the kids hang out at times has an artist's rendition of a topless woman, with only a beaded necklace covering her upper region.  However, that is only seen in a select few episodes, and usually at a distance.

Language: 4.5/5
Other than mild name-calling, the only piece of bad language in this entire season is a single use of the h-word in just one episode.  Where else can you find a series with language that clean?

Violence: 4/5
With a series like this, you'd probably expect a lot of "fantasy violence," but you don't get that here.  Instead, the violent content is limited to about three slight fisticuffs and a comedic pratfall here and there.

Drugs: 4.5/5
The girls use a chemical to prevent them from turning into mermaids, and suffer an allergic reaction to it.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 4/5
Zane gets shipwrecked and nearly drowns.  (Spoiler: Emma saves him.)  An accident leads to a young woman getting stuck in a freezer.  (Spoiler: The girls, with Lewis' help, use their mermaid powers to save her.)

Other: 4/5
As expected with a "secret identity" series like this, the girls don't always tell the truth; they and others lie to cover up their abilities.

Final Score: 4.75/5
I first found out about H2O: Just Add Water from the TV listings on my Zap2It iPad app.  When I watched it, I was intrigued...but, like usual for me, I wanted to know the girls' story from the beginning.  Hulu had some episodes I could stream for free, and I watched and enjoyed them...but, I soon lost interest.  After getting some iTunes gift cards for Christmas, I purchased the first season, and was immediately blown away by how great it was.  Fans of Disney Channel's and/or Nickelodeon's live-action series should definitely check this out; you will be surprised.  Also, pay no attention to the "TV-PG" rating; it should be "TV-G", more so than shows that regularly use euphemisms (iCarly) or contain right much sexual dialogue at times (VICTORiOUS), yet still are rated "clean".  Find it, watch it, and enjoy.

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