Remember The Little Mermaid? It’s a sweet movie about a mermaid falling in love with a human. Cute, right? Well, Tidelands is the grittier distant (and I mean distant) cousin of The Little Mermaid. Instead of mermaids, Netflix decided to dish out a series about the children of sirens — mythical women who live under the sea and lure men to their death by entrancing them with their singing — in Australia.
Tidelands takes place in a small fishing town in Queensland, Australia, populated by the fishing folk and the reclusive Tidelander community.
Cal McTeer (Charlotte Best) returns to her home town after she is released from a 10-year prison stint. Once home she reunites with her brother, Augie (Aaron Jakubenko), who runs the local gang, and her mother would prefer Cal to rot away in jail. After two men attempt to drown her, Cal discovers that her entire life has been a lie. More bodies begin to drop as Cal tries to understand the truth about herself and what the Tidelander queen, Adrielle (Elsa Pataky), is plotting.
The first episode jumps around considerably and leaves the viewer with a bit of whiplash as they try to understand what exactly is happening. After the first episode, the series finds its legs and tells a compelling, if strange narrative about the sirens.
Charlotte Best provides a compelling performance as Cal, a young woman trying to find her place in the world while facing off against an unexpected rival. Elsa Pataky delivers a realistic portrayal of a woman whose morals have been twisted around in her relentless quest to find her mother.
Tidelands has one season available on Netflix. The series is rated TV-MA for nudity and violence. Viewers who have enjoyed Tidelands may also enjoy Hulu’s The Runaways, a series about a group of friends who stumble across their parents’ secret which only leads to stranger mysteries.