5 Reasons To Watch Freeform’s Siren

Ian Verdun (Xander), Fola Evans-Akingbola (Maddie), Alex Roe (Ben), Eline Powell (Ryn), Sibongile Mlambo (Donna) and Rena Owen (Helen) [Freeform/Vu Ong]

After three episodes of the new Freeform drama, Siren, what we are dealing with is an interesting vehicle for combining fantasy with reality that doesn’t involve aliens or superheroes saving and/or intent on destroying the planet. Instead, the premise here is simple (yes, that was sarcasm): mermaids are real and they are not here for anyone’s nonsense.

Creators/executive producers Eric Wald, Dean White and showrunner/executive producer Emily Whitesell have taken to bringing a damned unique drama to life and with cast stars Alex Roe (as Ben), Eline Powell (as Ryn), Fola Evans-Akingbola (as Maddie), Rena Owen (as Helen), Ian Verdun (as Xander), and Sibongile Mlambo (as Donna), Freeform is keeping it weird and we’re into that. We even caught up with some of the cast at WonderCon:

So if you have yet to delve into this aquatic adventure, allow me to give you five reasons why you should be watching Siren.

1) 20th Century Mermaids

Dispense with the adorably magical, mystical, love-lorn trope of old because Ariel from The Little Mermaid is nowhere to be found and no one is singing “Under The Sea” or “Kiss The Girl” here. Thank God for small favors.

What a breath of fresh – albeit slightly salty – air because, instead, these creatures are simply mammals with some of the very same basic inclinations towards survival as the rest of us. Instead of sugary sweet smiles and clamshell covered breasts, they have razor sharp teeth, fins just as deadly and no compunction towards violence or killing: on some level that last bit seems instinctual and fits right in with our modern time. Their existence – while mysterious – is a mere biological thing like that of a dolphin or an otter. Or a human. Imagine that.

Fola Evans-Akingbola (Maddie), Alex Roe (Ben), Rena Owen (Helen) [Freeform/Eike Schroter]

2) Body Language 

That Eline Powell looked to the Icelandic first lady of song, Bjork (for whom she is a reasonable ringer), for inspiration in nuanced weirdness is charming on so many levels but also extraordinarily efficient. Powell’s physical presentation of a literal fish out of water varies between awkward and graceful, aggressive and skittish, plus childlike and wise and, in the first three episodes, watching Ryn’s shift through the unfamiliar bouncing off of Ben, Maddie and the other Bristol Cove residents in word and body language is entertaining as hell.

3) The “D” Word

While the series’ setting may be an innocuous little coastal hamlet called Bristol Cove where there’s a freshly caught lobster on every table, the diverse nature of the front and center casting gives the show an easy metropolitan feel where the occasional blips of classist discomfort surface. When is the last time that you saw a black mermaid? Exactly and hello, Sibongile Mlambo (portraying the captive Donna) but it doesn’t end there: there are mermen, too! Yeah, not kidding. So even though we’re dealing with a mythological killing machine, kudos for such a story not being anchored it in a monochromatic reality.

Sibongile Mlambo (Donna) [Freeform]

4) It’s the environment, stupid

You will be confronted with man’s penchant for exercising dominion over all things and being an asshole about it because whatever the resource or discovery, please let us try to find a way to own it, control it and use it to our advantage regardless of the consequences. Whether overfishing or how the obscene amount of trash in our waters affects its ecosystem, Siren broaches these issues plus throws in some Men In Black/shadow government-type action to boot.

5) Finally…

With Siren, Freeform carries on with its MO of operating a little outside of the typical television box and that is something that tv fans should welcome on the entertainment landscape. CGI mermaid metamorphosis, beautiful seaside and natural scenery, family secrets, and science combined in one package is something worth supporting. So dig…or better yet, dive into Siren.

Siren airs Thursdays at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central on Freeform.