Harry Sabulis | 13 December 2018

Sexy, gloomy, mysterious and – most of all – dangerous, Netflix's Tidelands is far from your ordinary mermaid tale – but after watching this show you might be more inclined to use the word Siren instead.

The show follows ex-convict Cal McTeer (played by the talented Charlotte Best), who after 10 years behind bars makes an unwelcomed return home to the small fishing village of Orphelin Bay. When the body of a local fisherman washes up on the shore, Cal must delve deep into the town’s (and her family’s) darkest secrets – including the town’s mysterious inhabitants; a dangerous race of half-siren, half-humans called the Tidelanders.

Tidelands marks Australia’s first Netflix original show, produced by Brisbane-based production company Hoodlum (co-founded by Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield), which alone makes it a significant show. But that doesn’t stop it from proving itself as a compelling, character-driven drama with some terrific performances and a high production value that brings a new vibrancy to some familiar locations.

Alongside the talented Charlotte Best (Puberty Blues, Home and Away), the show boasts Spanish actress and model Elsa Pataky (Snakes on a Plane, Fast & Furious 5-7) as Adrielle, the beautiful and dangerous leader of the Tidelanders – who has her own mysterious agenda unbeknownst to even the rest of her kind. But it’s not just the Tidelanders that Cal has to worry about, as Orphelin Bay is not the safe harbour that she once thought it was, and her own family may be just as big of a threat.

The show also boasts an impressive Aussie cast, with Aaron Jakubenko (Neighbours, The Shannara Chronicles) alongside Best as Cal’s brother Augie, with support from the likes of Peter O'Brien (The Return, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Madeleine Madden (Picnic at Hanging Rock (2018), Mystery Road (2018)), Mattias Inwood (The Shannara Chronicles, Will) and Dustin Clare (Wolf Creek (2016), Pacific Rim: Uprising). The show also has some more international help from Brazilian actor Marco Pigossi (Edge of Desire, 492) and British actor Dalip Sondhi (Half Girlfriend, Secret City) rounding out the stellar cast.

The show was created by writers Stephen M. Irwin (Secrets and Lies (Aus), Australia Day) and Leigh McGrath(Home and Away, Out of the Blue), who also work together on Hoodlum’s popular show Harrow on ABC. With all episodes of Tidelands written by Irwin (with story by himself and McGrath), the show is in the hands of experienced writers, who craft a story that is equal measures mystery, suspense and compelling drama.

While Netflix has a high standard for producing shows with high-production values, Tidelands stands tall with many other heavy-hitters on the streaming platform, as the cinematography and creative use of sound, camera and lighting bring a necessary edge to the show. What’s even better is knowing that this high level of production was achieved by Australian crews, many from Queensland, putting their all into making this show one to look forward to.

And perhaps one of the greatest heroes of Tidelands is its locations. While most audience members will get lost in Cal’s struggles –  adjusting to her new life back home and discovering the secrets of the Tidelanders – you’ll struggle not to be drawn in by the stunning landscapes that serve as the perfect backdrop for the show. Queensland locals might even see a few familiar spots if you look closely enough.

Not only a great leaping-off point for Australian-made Netflix content, but a fantastic story in its own right, the first two episodes of Tidelands are proof enough of the triumph that Hoodlum and their team have on their hands. All episodes of Tidelands drop on Netflix this Friday, making it the perfect holiday binge. One thing’s for sure, I’ll be bingeing the rest this Friday. 

About the author

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ABOUT THE WRITER: Harry Sabulis is a film, music, theatre and media crazed writer with a passion for all things artsy. A certified nerd and aspiring screenwriter, Harry loves storytelling in all of its forms. You can read some of his film reviews on his blog, Kill The Critic.

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