Get Ready for a Mermaid-Filled Summer!

The mermaids have arrived! It's been a slow and painful wait, but the first trailer has finally dropped for the highly anticipated Mermaid Magic animated series. Rainbow SpA's foray into the underwater world is set to premiere on Netflix August 22nd. The show gives off strong H2O: Just Add Water vibes with the three heroines transforming into humans on dry land and mermaids in the water. H2O's attempt at its own animated series left much to be desired, allowing this show to kick it up a notch for mermaid fans everywhere to enjoy more exciting animated mermaid adventures. The teaser was launched alongside additional previews of another upcoming mermaid show, Disney Junior's Ariel, an original take on the classic character. Ariel has a series of ten recently released shorts called Mermaid Tales that give us a taste of what's to come. If you're more of a bookish type (and who can blame you?), there's also a great new mermaid story out on Wattpad!

The first official teaser for Mermaid Magic features series protagonist Merlinda narrating her quest to collect magical pearls and save her underwater kingdom of Mertropia. Her friends Sasha and Nerissa take a back seat to the princess's leadership skills, but they will hopefully have a larger role when the series premieres on August 22nd. A surprisingly large portion of this teaser takes place on land with the girls dressing and acting like normal humans, implying that they might already be familiar with the human world, giving the show less of a "fish out of water" vibe and more of a Magical Girl feel. The mermaids can be seen fighting evil in magical armor near the end of the teaser, implying that they might have Winx Club-style transformations as the Italian animation studio continues work on their latest Winx Club reboot. We also get a glimpse at Merlinda's supportive and attractive human love interest who looks like he will play a large role in her adventures as well as some powerful villains who draw inspiration from witches and pirate lore.

As for the Disney Junior Ariel series, these compiled "Mermaid Tales" shorts tell us all we need to know about the changes that have been made to the lore of Ariel's premier series. This version of Atlantica is vibrant, fun, and endearing for children, but the characters and environments look so different that it would make more sense to create an entirely new show. They could have even kept the references to the original by making Ariel a mentor figure for the younger mermaids and calling it something like "Ariel and Friends" with a similar dynamic to previous Disney Junior shows like "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" and "Alice's Wonderland Bakery." The only two characters who retain the original appearance and personality in these shorts are Flounder and Sebastian. The series features lots of fun gimmicks for kids like Ariel's shifting tale colors that change based on her mood and cute original songs. It just doesn't feel like the same Atlantica we've seen in the past. If they had given this kingdom a new name, it would have been perfectly believable that it takes place in the same world. After all, the ocean is a big place.

In this version of the show, Ariel is no longer an outcast who doesn't fit in with other merfolk. She fits in so well with her society that it seems unlikely that she would ever wish to leave Atlantica to turn human. Triton is no longer a powerful sea king with a fearsome temper and is instead an easygoing dad as seen in the "Palace Puzzle" short where he has a cavalier response to a human teddy bear. The "Magic Breakfast" short reveals Ursula's role as a beloved and non-threatening aunt who delights Ariel with her magic. "A Fashion Emergency" shows that Ariel's two new sisters, Alanna and Ayanna, share similar personalities as the six sisters from the original cartoon except that they have a much closer relationship with Ariel. There is a cute reference to Ariel's pink dress from the 1989 film in the "Dress Up Mess Up Short" that could have still worked as a reference if these had been original characters living in the same universe. Ariel's new friends Lucia and Fernie are wonderful additions to the show. Fernie is a nerd who likes to take notes on everything, and Lucia is a sorceress-in-training who has a pouch of magic powder that causes lots of magical mishaps.

If you don't want to wait for Mermaid Magic or Ariel to have some undersea fun, you're in luck! My friend Kae-Leah Williamson just completed her mermaid-themed retelling of "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp" called The Sea Princess and the Storyteller that's completely free to read on Wattpad. This story is set in the same world as her other mermaid adventures and features a plus-sized mermaid princess heroine, an urchin merman with a heart of gold, a wish-granting pearl, the ring from the original story, twin villains, and an illicit trip to the surface in place of a magic carpet ride. It is such a fun and magical retelling of the fairy tale that I enjoyed every word of it! If you love mermaids and fairy tale retellings, this story is for you.

Which mermaid show are you most excited for? Are you ready to dive into the transformative world of Mermaid Magic on Netflix on August 22nd or swim along with Ariel's new adventures on June 27th? Let me know in the comments! Share your thoughts on the trailers, your favorite mermaid characters, and what you hope to see in these upcoming shows. If you're a fan of mermaid-themed fairy tale retellings, check out The Sea Princess and the Storyteller on Wattpad and share your thoughts on that too! Let's dive into the conversation and make some waves!


Sugar said…
I'm glad that there is a love interest in Mermaid Magic, the truth is that it is essential for me to get 100% involved in a story.
Lisa Dawn said…
He reminds me a lot of Prince Sky from Winx Club, which makes sense because it's the same studio!
1. I've noticed how some more recent Disney Junior shows that are animated by Icon Creative Studios tend to have some similar looking characters. Alice from Alice's Wonderland Bakery looks similar to Goldie from Goldie And Bear due to also being a plucky, blond haired girl wearing blue. Kai from Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures looks similar to Jayden from Firebuds. Heck, his second voice actor is JeCobi Swain, the voice of Jayden from that series. This also carries over to Ariel, where the designs of Alanna and Ayanna look like young versions of Elena and Marisa from the Elena Of Avalor special "Song Of The Sirenas".

2. I find it interesting how this is the second Disney Junior show starring a black girl to have just a one word title, the first being Eureka. Heck, both were released in late June of their respective years.

3. Ayanna being voiced by Dana Heath brings to mind two other roles she's best known for, those being Bree from Fancy Nancy (a black girl who's also an older sister) and Kira from Princess Power (who's also a princess).

4. I would assume Ariel the character having a generally better life and not being seen as an outcast might be due to how it's more common for preschool shows to emphasize more positive by usually establishing a friend group for the main character right off the bat and strongly emphasizing positive values.

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