Netflix’s First Aussie Original 'Tidelands' Is A Siren's Call Many Will Resist
It's like a 'True Blood' for sirens where everyone is either having sex, dead or both.
Don't worry, this will be a spoiler-free dip into the first four episodes of Netflix's first Australian original series Tidelands.
It was excitedly announced that Netflix would be finally investing in an Australian original after launching here several years ago, though aside from boasting a solid cast of Aussies -- Tidelands could ultimately be set anywhere.
The series follows a woman named Cal McTeer (Charlotte Best) who -- after being arrested as a teen -- has just been released from a decade of imprisonment. Returning to her hometown of Orphelin Bay, Cal isn't welcomed with the warmest embrace and instead is forced to try to fit back into life in the small fishing village.
But this isn't your regular delinquent-out-of-water story as Cal also begins to find her once idyllic home is shrouded in mysteries that all seem to centre on the community who live on the outskirts of town, known as the Tidelanders.
So, it's not a spoiler because it was pretty much in the trailer, but there's something fishy going on (thank you), and it all has to do with the fact that Sirens seem to be living in the Bay. Sirens being the mythical creatures often confused with mermaids whose irresistible song would lure sailors to crash their ships into rocks and drown.
This series is not a Siren's call, in fact, were it not for Netflix's patented binge-watch release strategy, one that capitalises on cliffhanger endings to episodes and our generation's impeccable knack for laziness, it would be easy to see audience numbers for the second episode dwindle on linear TV.
That is -- to be clear -- not to say that it's not enjoyable.
Tidelands is a sexy, mysterious romp which harkens back to the days of True Blood, where you forgave the melodramatic dialogue and soapy tension because it was a fun, campy genre piece.
In Tidelands, everyone is having sex or dead or both.
Elsa Pataky stars as the mysterious leader of the Tidelanders, Adrielle Cuthbert. For some reason, it's important to know her genitals are very strong.
At one stage, as if to illustrate that she is up to no good, Adrielle walks across a beach, FaceTiming a mysterious gentleman without headphones. FaceTiming in public is nefarious.
The first few episodes may frustrate viewers as it plods along, adding characters by the minute but also never quite articulating the action -- to keep mysteries up in the air. Characters appear and disappear like phantoms.
The Tidelanders have enhanced abilities, but what those are and the rules are yet to be really defined. Sometimes they have super strength and cat-like reflexes, other times telepathic coercion and premonition, but almost always accompanied by slinky sexuality and constant thirst for intercourse -- oh yeah and super strong genitals.
Still, there's something almost charming about watching the show, tense as it is, and hearing someone shout "Hey Robbo!" in the background of a scene.
Best and Pataky lead an ensemble cast that also includes Aaron Jakubenko, Peter O'Brien, Dustin Clare, Hunter Page-Lochard and Mattias Inwood.
Inwood, it should be mentioned, is like if Disney's Prince Eric was brought to life, and cast in a Netflix series.
There are interesting set-ups in the series that will hopefully build to some great reveals, and even in the handful of episodes offered up for review, several early twists and revelations that will keep viewers glued to the screen.
Fans of genre TV and supernatural dramas will find the series a perfect weekend watch, one you can dip your toe in and not get too invested. But for many, the pacing and hamfisted melodrama might not lure them too far from safe waters.
Tidelands is now streaming on Netflix.