Orphans of L’Attente
Not One of You
Don’t Trust Humans
The Queen’s Knife
What do you get when you mix nudity, melodramatic acting, epic music and a binge-worthy story? Netflix’s latest Australian drama Tidelands. While the idea of adding mermaids to a murder mystery seems original, recent teen drama Siren already tackled this subject with a lot more finesse than seen here. Siren was not without its flaws but the world-building and lore was far better established than Netflix’s latest offering which pales in comparison.
The story begins in a small coastal town which is left reeling following a fisherman killed at sea. While the town begin pointing fingers at one another, ex-con Cal returns home after a decade of prison time. Once there, she immediately becomes entangled in the mystery which involves a strange shard of rock and the whispers of sirens in the sea. All of this builds toward a climactic finale that leaves the door wide open for a second season while delivering a suitably epic finale for our group of beautiful characters.
Unfortunately it’ll be quite the tumultuous ride if you make it that far. With an abundance of gratuitous nudity, over-acting and incredibly dramatic music, Tidelands is a very acquired taste. If you like soap operas and overly dramatic characters you’ll certainly find some interest here but Tidelands fails to really establish itself beyond the cheesy tropes and questionable scripting it sets itself up with.
With an extremely good looking cast, Tidelands feels like an intentionally distracting show, throwing nudity into the mix to hide the questionable scripting and acting prowess on offer. Two minutes is the time it takes before we’re graced with a naked female body. This is then followed by a group shower scene with more females (who are also naked) followed by a topless guy on the beach. Tidelands isn’t even discreet about the level of nudity on offer here and the way Tidelands throws these scenes in with little context is really quite strange.
There’s some unintentionally hilarious lines here too that really should be dramatic and full of emotion but they come across as scripted and painfully on the nose. This isn’t helped by flashbacks that scream exposition, complete with echoed voices and accompanied by a fade in/out and a character coming out of a trance. It’s such an archaic way of showing the history for characters and it really shows the sloppiness of the writing.
If you’re looking for a more serious depiction of mermaids and passable world-building, you’re better off checking out Siren. While that show was far from perfect, in comparison to Tidelands it’s far more effective at weaving mermaids into a cohesive story. When it comes down to it, Tidelands is simply an overly dramatic, forgettable show, one that fails to really nail its characters, world or plot above anything other than binge-worthy mediocrity.
Verdict - 4/10