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TV Series Review

Australia is well known for its dangerous critters. Its crocodiles are big enough to swallow you whole. The box jellyfish that swim around its edges are deadlier and more painful than a Pauly Shore comedy. The island continent is home to 21 of the world's 25 deadliest, most poisonous snakes. And even the humble platypus—the funny-looking animal that some consider nature's raspberry to Darwin—can inject the unwary Aussie with an incredibly painful venom that makes being burned alive feel like tickle torture.

And then, of course, there are the sirens.

What? You've not heard of them? Little wonder. They don't like to make a lot of waves, as it were.


First, it's unfair to call them "sirens," exactly. They're not undiluted creatures straight out of Greek mythology. The beings in Netflix's new show Tidelands (originally an Australian-based web series) are actually half-human, half-siren folks that you can't really tell apart from you and me. Not on dry land, at any rate.

Once you get them underwater, though, they have a curious ability to stay alive. They have other powers, too—super-strength and super-seduction and, for some, the ability to see into the future—because breathing underwater just isn't enough for them.

Second, they like to keep to themselves. These "Tidelanders," as the local mortals call them, live in a gated commune and are often mistaken for being nothing more than especially attractive hippies.

Calypso McTeer, or Cal for short, is a Tidelander, though she only just discovered it after someone tied her up and chucked her off a boat. And while being superhuman is nice and all, she's barely had time to reflect on her newfound identity. There's her father's unsolved murder to solve, her family's illicit drug trade to consider. She's got to figure out whether the town's other Tidelanders are actively trying to kill her or, perhaps, just engaging in some curious initiation rituals. It's all very confusing for her, especially since she just got out of prison after a 10-year-stint for killing a police officer.

And if that wasn't enough to fill her Google calendar, there's all the sex she's got to have.

She's hardly alone. Australia is full of dangerous things, including and perhaps especially the Tidelanders. But perhaps the greatest threat to the Tidelanders themselves is venereal diseases.

Sewer Water

Think I'm exaggerating? Don't take my word for it: Samantha Nelson, writing for the very un-Plugged In-like website The Verge, says Tidelands has so much sex and nudity in it that she thinks it'd make a fine drinking game. "If you take a sip whenever anyone removes an article of clothing or has sex," she writes, "you'll be drinking early and often—and you'll probably enjoy the show more than if you're watching sober."

We do indeed see lots of skin, including some anatomical parts that we typically only see in R-rated movies. We see lots of sex, including a scene in one episode that turns disturbingly violent.

If the sexual content wasn't enough to push this Netflix show into the equivalent of R-rated territory, the language certainly would be. And if everyone on Tidelands turned suddenly chaste and dumb, we'd still have to deal with the violence, blood and human organs we see.

And let's delve a little deeper on that word dumb, shall we? While some content-riddled shows rake in scores of Emmy nominations or, at least, have something interesting to say, Tidelands is so vacuous that even discerning box jellyfish would scorn it and slowly float away.

Yes, Australia has spawned way more than its fair share of terrible, painful things. But this show just might be one of the worst.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

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Pro-social Content

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Plot Summary

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Other Belief Systems

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Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Dec. 13, 2018: "Home"



Readability Age Range



Charlotte Best as Cal McTeer; Marco Pigossi as Dylan; Aaron Jakubenko as Augie McTeer; Mattias Inwood as Corey Welch; Dalip Sondhi as Lamar Cloutier; Caroline Brazier as Rosa; Elsa Pataky as Adrielle Cuthbert; Jet Tranter as Leandra; Alex Dimitriades as Paul Murdoch; Richard Davies as Colton Raxter; Peter O'Brien as Bill Sentelle






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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