Friday, January 16, 2009

About Face on H2O

A few months ago, Jozef wrote a blog post on his general dissatisfaction with the teenage mermaid television series H2O, which is filmed on the Queensland coast. At that time he had seen one episode out of order and didn't particularly like what it had to offer. However, to be fair, he purchased the entire first season, watched it in its entirety in one sitting, and then promptly rang me to say he had changed his mind and, that after seeing the episodes in context, he thought the series was pretty good all round for young girls and mermaid lovers like himself. Then he lent me the DVDs, which have since been sitting on my bookshelf gathering dust for around three months because I have been so busy. He has hassled me about watching them and I finally got to the initial four episodes the other evening.

My first impression on checking out the cast of girls was that there was one brunette, book-ended by two blondes. I would have preferred to see a red head or a black haired girl in the mix, but obviously had to accept the producer's decision and go with the flow. The chemistry between the three actresses was excellent, so I am presuming that that was one of the major criteria in casting.

The girls turned out to be quite engaging and exceptionally photogenic, albeit terrible actresses in the first instance. I'm sure they will improve the further into the series they and I get. My second impression was that the brunette character Cleo (played by Phoene Tonkin) looked like a slightly younger version of the exotic and gorgeous-looking Shanina, the first runner up in the Australian version of Make Me a Supermodel

In terms of story, the plotting was kept quite simple compared to evening television, but of course this is a half hour show shown in an afternoon time slot and aimed at young girls – I am not the target audience. However, the episodes dealt with "refusal of the call" issues, the discovery of water-directed superpowers, and relationships with bullies and allies. I was most intrigued by the mysterious woman who spoke to the Cleo character in the Sea World sequences, so that whetted my appetite for more. 

I thought the locations were terrific and I loved the look of the golden scaled mermaid tails with matching bras. I found this on the Wikipedia site, but caution to anyone who goes there as it contains many spoilers.
The mermaid costumes took six months to build, with the tails made from body casts and comprising individually hand-crafted scales. the finished products weighs between 12 and 15 kilograms (26 and 33 lbs). Once in costume, the girls have to be lifted into the water... 

There are three different types of tails: the tails the girls swim in, the "floppy tail" used for bath and shower shots and the "hard tails" for stunts.
Four episodes in, 48 to go to get the real story arc. At this point of time, I am looking forward to more underwater and mystery island sequences. The tails are what have really won me over!

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