As young girls, I’m pretty sure we all had that phase while growing up where we pretended to be mermaids any time we were near enough to water. Whether it was in the swimming pool, bathtub, or even just sitting on the edge of the shore at the beach – in our heads we had long, colored hair and shimmering mermaid tails.
After watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid for the first time, don’t tell me you never tried to brush your hair with a fork, either!
There’s no doubt that when it comes to mythological creatures, mermaids are a strong favorite.
Want the short version of this article? Then check out our video on the top 5 TV shows about mermaids:
Even despite knowing the darker side of the legends (where the mermaids are dangerous sea creatures who lure men at sea into the water and to their deaths), there’s something strangely fascinating and mysterious about them.
In this article, we’ve put together a list of the best TV shows about mermaids! In a time where we’re unable to travel to the beach or practice our mermaid swims at the local swimming pool, may these TV shows still bring out the inner mermaid in all of us!
Siren, Freeform (2018 – 2020)
This Freeform series paints mermaids in a darker light than what we’re used to.
Siren takes place in Bristol Cove, Washington, a coastal town once known for its legends surrounding mermaids and mermen.
Though the stories of these beings have fallen into myth, life in Bristol Cove changes when a mysterious woman named Ryn Fisher turns up looking for her older sister who was mistakenly captured by fishermen.
While on land, she meets a couple working as marine biologists and soon becomes entangled in a relationship with them both.
As the series unfolds, environmental catastrophes force the merpeople to come to land to overthrow humanity and stake their claim on the sea.
Tidelands, Netflix (2018)
Streaming giant Netflix’s first Australian original series Tidelands again brings the mythological legends of sirens back to life.
Sirens are known to be dangerous enough on their own but when you mix them with humans, who knows how unpredictable they could be? At least, that’s what Cal McTeer is trying to discover.
After spending ten years in juvenile detention, Cal returns to her hometown: a small fishing village called Orphelin Bay.
Her home has changed in the decade she’s been away though, and she finds it drowning in mystery and secrets. When a death occurs suddenly, she sets out to uncover the town’s conspiracies surrounding a strange community of siren-human hybrids called Tidelanders.
H2O: Just Add Water, Network Ten (2006 – 2010)
H2O: Just Add Water, better known simply as H2O, takes on a much lighter tone than its predecessor on this list, as its target audience is primarily children and younger teenagers.
The Australian series follows Rikki, Emma, and Cleo, three teenage girls who, after being rescued from a pool beneath a volcano on Mako Island, discover that their lives have changed forever.
They now share a deep secret: being exposed to water for more than 10 seconds will turn them into mermaids, and they now have special powers over the temperature and form of water!
H2O follows their journey of navigating regular life as teens as they try to hide their secrets from everyone around them.
H2O: Mermaid Adventures, Netflix (2015)
Speaking of H20, in 2015 Netflix came out with an animated series based on H2O: Just Add Water that is geared more towards kids rather than teenagers.
Titled H2O: Mermaid Adventures, the show follows Rikki, Emma, and Cleo, three normal girls who accidentally fall into a magic pool on Mako Island and get transformed into mermaids.
So, now they have to balance life as normal teenagers with their newfound identities as mermaids while trying to keep the secret of being mermaids from everybody they know.
Mako Mermaids, Network Ten/Eleven (2013 – 2016)
The title of this show may sound familiar as the name of the island where the H2O mermaids got their tails and powers, and that’s because Mako Mermaids is a spin-off!
Mako Island is home to a mermaid pod, and it is the solemn duty of three young mermaids – Sirena, Nixie, and Lyla – to guard the magical pool within.
A teenage boy named Zac pays a visit to the island and falls into the Moon Pool, causing him to become a merman with powers and the three mermaids to be cast out of their pod as a punishment for neglecting their duty.
In order to be forgiven, they must follow Zac on land and retrieve his powers against all odds.
The Legend of the Blue Sea, SBS TV (2016 – 2017)
We’re heading in non-English-language waters with these next few series. We’ll begin with the mermaid K-drama The Legend of the Blue Sea.
This South Korean series tells a mesmerizing tale of romance, fantasy, and reincarnation combining elements of time travel, myth, and melodrama.
The story revolves around a mermaid named Shim Cheong who finds herself in modern-day Seoul after being swept ashore.
She encounters a cunning genius con artist named Heo Joon-jae and their destinies become intertwined.
As their love story unfolds, past and present lives are revealed, connecting their fates across centuries.
The Idle Mermaid, tvN (2014)
Another Korean series about mermaids is The Idle Mermaid, also known as Surplus Princess.
This South Korean show brings a fresh twist to the mermaid myth.
The story follows a curious and endearing mermaid named Kim Ha-ni who ventures onto land in search of love and human life.
As she navigates the challenges of the human world, Ha-ni takes on odd jobs in her human form, encounters eccentric characters, and experiences the joys and heartaches of romance.
With its charming characters, comedic situations, and a touch of romance, this series is a great one to check out for all of you who love romcoms.
Dyesebel, ABS-CBN (2014)
Then there is Dyesebel.
Hailing from the Philippines, Mars Ravelo’s Dyesebel is just one of many adaptations of the original character named Dyesebel from the comics of the same name written by graphic novelist Mars Ravelo.
Though there is another TV series adaptation that aired in 2008 from another local network, we’re focusing on the more recent one in 2014.
Here, Dyesebel is a young and beautiful mermaid determined to trace her roots and find her identity.
When she and the world she lives in discovers that she is half-mermaid, half-human, she is cast out of the sea and begins a new life on land. However, she is soon thrown into a growing battle between sea dwellers and land dwellers and must choose a side to stand with.
Footsteps of a Mermaid, GMA Network (2014)
And we’ll finish off this section of mermaid TV series with Footsteps of a Mermaid.
Also known as Kambal Sirena or Twin Mermaid, Footsteps of a Mermaid is another Philippine series that tells the tale of twins, Alona and Perlas.
Separated at birth due to their unusual features, the twins have very different upbringings.
While Perlas has gills behind her ears and grew up on land with her mother, Alona has a mermaid’s tail and therefore had to live within the confines of the water in the underwater kingdom of Sirenadia.
But when both twins fall in love with a handsome, wealthy man named Kevin, fate brings the sisters back together and now they have to navigate love, rivalry, and their newfound bond as sisters.
BONUS MERMAID CONTENT
Charmed Season 5 episodes 1-2 “A Witch’s Tail: Part 1 and Part 2”, The WB (2002)
We all know Charmed to be the early 2000s cult classic about a trio of powerful witch sisters who protect humankind from the evil creatures we’re oblivious to.
Well, there are witches of the sea too, and in the Charmed universe, they’re called Sea Hags (think Ursula in The Little Mermaid).
One such Sea Hag has wreaked chaos into the lives of The Charmed Ones in this two-part premiere of the OG show’s fifth season.
The sisters cross paths with a beautiful mermaid who needs their help to regain her immortality from the Sea Hag, and even risk losing Phoebe when she decides to live her life as a mermaid, too!
Ocean Girl, Network Ten (1994 – 1997)
As a bonus, we’ve also included the Australian science fiction/adventure series Ocean Girl.
The main character is a young girl named Neri and though she lacks the tail that’s characteristic of mermaids, she might as well be one thanks to her swift and long-distance swimming capability, superhuman strength and lung capacity, and ability to communicate with whales.
She lives alone on an island but soon befriends two young boys who move there with their mother as the underwater research and environmental facility called ORCA is built.
MerPeople, Netflix (2023)
And we’ll finish off this list of mermaid TV shows with a recent Netflix documentary series called MerPeople.
This 4-part docu-series highlights the whimsical world of professional mermaiding aka a community of mermaid performers who love to pretend to be mermaids.
But it’s not just a hobby for many of them.
In fact, mermaiding has grown into a half a billion-dollar industry. And these real-life mermaids spend thousands on custom-made tails so that they can show them off during performances for anything from kids’ birthday parties to elaborate mermaid shows.
MerPeople beautifully showcases not just the whimsy of mermaiding but also what it actually takes to be a performing mermaid, including the physical demands of the work.
So, if you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a mermaid, who knows, this documentary might just inspire you to buy your own tail and try it out for real.