As a millennial or whatever who grew up on WB delights like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell, Dawson’s Creek, and One Tree Hill (Ravens for life!), I have an appreciation for what Freeform (previously ABC Family) is doing for the teen-TV-show genre. Some of it’s been subpar (The Secret Life of the American Teenager lasted far too many seasons; I don’t understand what the hell Young & Hungry even is) and some of it’s been trashy good (Pretty Little Liars, mainly) and a lot of it has been diverse, inclusive, and reflective of the world in which we actually live (Switched at Birth, The Fosters, and the currently exceptional Grown-ish).
They dipped into the supernatural with Shadowhunters, which was a TV show spinoff of the failed City of Bones movie franchise. They’ve done sci-fi with Beyond, about a kid who wakes up from a coma with strange abilities. They dabbled in that familiar female-magazine-journalists-living-in-the-big-city thing with The Bold Type. And upcoming programming includes a 2019 Pretty Little Liars spinoff and a June 2018 Marvel show of their own, Cloak & Dagger, which makes sense since they are owned by ABC, which is in turn owned by Disney, which puts out the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Corporate synergy, it’s a hell of a thing.
So with all that in mind … what the hell is going on with Siren, a new show Freeform is launching on March 29? Watch the trailer. Meet me on the other side.
Am I understanding correctly that this mermaid is like … a feminist killing machine bent on protecting the ocean at all costs? Let’s isolate some of the quotes from this trailer. “We need to be careful.” “She is extremely violent.” And oh yeah, she does this:
A dude touches her face, she doesn’t like it, and she smashes him through his car’s windshield! FROM THE INSIDE!
Is it weird to be excited about this? About the idea of a mythical female creature unleashing chaos to protect her environment? Possibly, especially because the rest of the dialogue in the trailer isn’t particularly good: “This is real”; “She changed—in the water” (my favorite!); and “It’s just a story.” But still! I am here for this! I am here for a show that legitimately explores the very dangerous side of the mermaid myth, not just the sexy topless women side. If I couldn’t get that damn Sofia Coppola adaptation of The Little Mermaid, then I’ll take whatever I can get. Even if that means kind of janky-looking CGI of a pair of legs becoming a tail.
So welcome to the club, Siren. Join your fellow mermaids in Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean and Hook, all of whom are, obviously, under the sea. With Ariel!
I’ll be watching the absurdity of Siren come March 29 and hoping for the best. Will you join me?