The Mermaid Discovery
Interview With A Mermaid
On the Road
Curse of the Starving Class
Dead In The Water
From vampires to werewolves all the way through to Frankenstein’s monster, mythological creatures have long been a recurring feature in modern day media. Although Siren’s set up is overly familiar to other teen-orientated shows of this type, it’s ultimately the allure and dangerous demeanour of the mermaids that make this such an endearing watch and prevent the show from falling apart completely. Some of the acting is truly woeful and the cinematography leaves a lot to be desired but late on the series does inject some much needed action and high stakes drama into the story as it builds toward a climactic finish.
The pilot episode begins by introducing some of the key characters in the show on board a shipping vessel as they accidentally uncover a dangerous, mysterious creature. After military personnel commandeer the ship and snatch up the strange creature at the command of Aldon Decker (Ron Yuan), the story shifts to show a marine biologist named Ben (Alex Roe) who runs into Ryn (Eline Powell), a mysterious mermaid whose taken human form. It’s soon clear she’s out to find her sister who happens to be the mermaid the authorities have kidnapped from the boat shown at the beginning of the episode.
Caught in the middle of this is Ben’s girlfriend Madden (Fola Evans-Akingbola) whose Dad happens to be sheriff of the town and also on the hunt for Ryn too. What begins as a standard rescue mission quickly subverts expectations midway through the season as the plot jumps forward a month and takes on a different dimension, effectively breaking the story into two distinct arcs. The latter episodes are far more action orientated too with a rising feud between the humans and mermaids taking centre stage before an explosive finale.
The actual overarching story is pretty engaging for the most part and there’s a good dose of action and excitement here to keep the plot moving quickly. There are inevitably slower episodes and some of the character logic is questionable at best. It doesn’t help that Siren features some painfully bad acting that detracts from the well paced plot line. Characters regularly feel stifled and glued to the spot, devoid of any movement until it’s their turn to speak. Given this is a show geared strictly toward the young adult market perhaps some of this can be forgiven but even so, the dialogue and script are so full of heavy handed exposition and incredulously delivered lines it is difficult to be lenient on this front.
Acting and heavy handed cinematography aside, Siren does a great job differentiating itself from the plethora of other shows out there tackling werewolves and vampires with a decidedly original and unique take on mermaids. The design of these majestic creatures is impressive too; razor sharp fangs, a long tail and lightning quick speed combine to make these creatures both awe inspiring and incredibly dangerous. As a personal note it would have been nice to see a little more of the underwater scenes to show off the mermaids in their natural habitat but even in their human forms, the child-like wonder Ryn exhibits really does a good job of alienating her from everyone else, much to the show’s credit.
If you can look past some of the acting and character logic, there are some redeeming features with Siren. The world building and overarching story is generally very good and there’s some nicely worked plot twists midway through that help to solidify some of the character motivations at work here. The action packed final third of the series does help to elevate this one too but ultimately how much enjoyment you’ll likely get out of this will depend on your age and tolerance level for acting, which will certainly be a deciding factor for this mermaid drama geared toward young adults.