Forget everything you learned in The Little Mermaid: the happy ending the mermaids in Siren are looking for has nothing to do with marrying a prince and becoming human.
Instead Eric Wald, who created Siren with Dean White (The 100, The Shield), cites Jaws and Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as inspirations for the hit series, which reinstates mermaids as the kind of predators who were once famous for luring sailors to their death with their siren songs.
Siren follows Ryn (Game of Thrones’ Eline Powell), a mermaid who arrives in the seaside town of Bristol Cove looking for her sister but who is soon wreaking havoc and making friends. As The New York Times wrote, “She’s nothing like Ariel.” Or as Refinery 29 put it, “On Siren, The Little Mermaid grows up and fights back.”
Marine biologists Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) must work together to find out who and what drove this primal hunter of the deep sea to land – and if there are more like her.
Siren has a 94 per cent critics rating and an 84 per cent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus is that, “Siren turns traditional lore on its tail with a unique, well-paced show that presents dangerous, violent mythical creatures in a surprisingly empathetic and exciting light.”
Freeform has already ordered a second season of this fish-out-of-water story, which Paste described as “gruesome and great;” TV Guide called “one of the more surprisingly fun shows of the season, with the potential to be great;” and Forbes labeled “The Vampire Diaries for mermaids.”
Zimbabwean-South African actress Sibongile Mlambo plays Donna, one of the mermaids, and was singled out as a “scene-stealer” by Shadow & Act. Based in LA since 2015, the Black Sails and Teen Wolf star is having a great year, with roles in the Netflix series Lost in Space and the Palme d’Or nominated indie thriller, Under The Silver Lake.
Freeform (formerly ABC Family) is also on a roll at the moment. In addition to Siren’s success as the number one new drama with young adults in the States, another first on Showmax, Cloak & Dagger, had the best-ever digital debut of any project in Freeform history, grown-ish ranked as a the number one cable comedy with young adults in the States, and Freeform placed first in digital viewing and as the most social cable network.
This success has been driven not just by the way the network has embraced strong, complex women on-screen, from Ryn in Siren to Tandy in Cloak & Dagger, but also by the diversity behind the scenes: half of Freeform’s episodic directors are female, diverse, or LGBTQ; 60 per cent of series writers are female or diverse; and every original series on the network has a female producer.
Dive into the 10 episodes of Siren’s here, first and only on Showmax in Africa.
Watch the trailer here.