H2O: Just Add Water

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H2O: Just Add Water
H2O Just Add Water.png
Also known asH2O
Created byJonathan M. Shiff
Directed by
Theme music composerShelley Rosenberg
Opening theme"No Ordinary Girl"
Ending theme"No Ordinary Girl"
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of series3
No. of episodes78 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Jonathan M. Shiff
  • Kay Ben M'Rad (series 1)
  • Julia Adams (series 2–3)
  • Jonathan M. Shiff
  • Joanna Werner
  • Bruce Phillips (series 1)
  • Zenon Sawko (series 2–3)
  • Geoff Lamb
  • Strutts Psyridis
  • Philip Watts
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time23–25 minutes
Production companyJonathan M. Shiff Productions
DistributorZDF Enterprises (worldwide)[1]
Original networkNetwork Ten
Audio formatSurround sound
Original release7 July 2006 (2006-07-07) –
16 April 2010 (2010-04-16)
Related shows

H2O: Just Add Water, also known as H2O, is an Australian fantasy teen drama created by Jonathan M. Shiff. It first screened on Australia's Network Ten and runs in syndication on channels in over 120 countries and has a worldwide audience of more than 250 million.[2][3] It was filmed on location at Sea World and other locations on the Gold Coast. The show revolves around three teenage girls facing everyday teen problems with an added twist: they are mermaids with powers over water.

Only two series with a total of 52 episodes were originally planned, but due to popular demand, a third series was filmed. Series one premiered in July 2006, followed by series two in September 2007. Series three first aired in the United Kingdom in October 2009, with the Australian premiere occurring in May 2010.


Rikki Chadwick, Emma Gilbert, and Cleo Sertori are three teenage Australian girls who find themselves stranded on the mysterious Mako Island, where they end up in a pool under a dormant volcano just as a full moon passes above them, bathing the pool in light. The girls are rescued and brought back to shore, only to discover something strange. Ten seconds after coming into contact with water, the girls transform into mermaids. After further experimentation, the girls also discover they have supernatural powers over water. The trio enlist the help of Cleo's friend Lewis McCartney to help them keep their secret and find out more about it.

Everyday situations, such as bathing and dealing with rainy weather, become tricky as the girls struggle with their newfound abilities, which come with many advantages and disadvantages, while also trying to keep them a secret from everyone else, including their families. They soon adapt to their new abilities and lifestyles.

Series two introduces Charlotte Watsford, a rival to Cleo, for dating Lewis shortly after Cleo had broken up with him. She gains mermaid powers and becomes the main antagonist of series two. She has all three of the mermaids' powers. In the end, Charlotte loses both her powers and Lewis.

Series three sees the departure of Emma, who has left to travel the world with her parents. A new character, Bella Hartley, is introduced and it is discovered that she has been a mermaid since the age of nine. Rikki and Cleo become friends with Bella, but are soon beset by a mysterious tentacle of water with a connection to Mako Island. A new boy, Will Benjamin, also arrives and becomes friends with the trio when he discovers that they are mermaids. The girls learn that Earth is in the path of a comet that could destroy the planet. They try to think of a plan to stop the catastrophe.



  • Cariba Heine as Rikki, the new girl in town at the start of the show, who tends to be aloof and rebellious. Her power is the ability to control heat in water, ranging from warming to boiling, which eventually grows to allow her to control fire and lightning. Heine appears in all series of the show, and makes a special guest appearance in the spin-off series Mako: Island of Secrets.
  • Claire Holt as Emma (series 1–2), who has a confident and responsible, if somewhat controlling, personality. She has the ability to freeze water, and later develops the ability to control clouds, ice and snow. Holt appears in series one and two, but left the show at the end of series two to film Messengers 2: The Scarecrow, with the character's departure explained as travelling the world with her family.
  • Phoebe Tonkin as Cleo, who at first is shy and a little awkward and does not like water, but eventually becomes outgoing and personable. She is able to control and mould the form of water, as well as increase or decrease the amount of water present. She is later able to control the wind. Tonkin appears in all series of the show.
  • Angus McLaren as Lewis, Cleo's childhood friend and later boyfriend who is academically gifted and thinks of himself as a scientist. He helps the girls keep their secret and works to understand how and why the girls transformed into mermaids. After appearing in both series one and two, McLaren left the show during the third series to begin filming Packed to the Rafters,[4] but guest starred in the final episode of the show.
  • Indiana Evans as Bella (series 3), the new girl in series three. She is a singer and performs at Rikki's cafe. Bella became a mermaid in the sea caves of Ireland when she was nine, and has the power to change water into gelatine and a crystalline substance. During the series, she and Will develop feelings for each other, and eventually become a couple.
  • Luke Mitchell as Will (series 3), a skilled swimmer and free-diver who is introduced in series three. While exploring Mako Island, he finds the moon pool and is attacked by the water, causing him to search for the cause of the strange event. He is Bella's love interest and becomes closer to the girls once he discovers they are mermaids.


  • Burgess Abernethy as Zane, who is the arrogant local rich boy. In series one, he becomes obsessed with discovering the identity of the mermaids after catching a glimpse of one. He later develops an on-again, off-again relationship with Rikki. At the end of series one, when he finds out she, Emma and Cleo are mermaids, he stops his obsessive behaviour to protect Rikki. In series three, he transforms the Juice Net cafe and goes into a business partnership with Rikki, naming the cafe after her.
  • Cleo Massey as Kim, Cleo's younger sister.
  • Alan David Lee as Don Sertori, Cleo and Kim's father.
  • Deborah Coulls as Bev (series 1), Cleo and Kim's mother and Don's wife and then later ex-wife. They divorced prior to the events of series 2.
  • Trent Sullivan as Elliot (series 1–2), Emma's younger brother.
  • Jamie Timony as Nate, one of Zane's friends.
  • Brittany Byrnes as Charlotte (series 2), the new girl who becomes the main antagonist of series two. She enjoys the arts and sciences, but can be controlling and manipulative. She comes into conflict with the girls, especially Cleo, when she begins to date Lewis subsequent to his break-up with Cleo. Upon transforming into a mermaid, she obtains all of the girls' collective powers - clarified as being due to the fact that she was exposed to the transformation conditions on her own rather than the original three being present at the same time. She permanently loses her abilities after a confrontation with the trio. She does not return in series three.
  • Craig Horner as Ash (series 2), a keen equestrian and riding coach who appears during series two. He forms a relationship with Emma, but does not learn of her being a mermaid until the season finale, when Emma reveals her identity. Horner does not appear in series three due to filming Legend of the Seeker.
  • Penni Gray as Sam Sertori (née Roberts) (series 3), Don's second wife and Cleo and Kim's stepmother who works for the National Park association. In "Valentine's Day", she inspects one of Don's boats, but is drawn into an argument between Kim and Cleo when she is knocked overboard of that boat. Eventually, she and Don start getting romantically closer, which Cleo approves but Kim does not. They get married in "To Have & To Hold Back".
  • Taryn Marler as Sophie (series 3), an ambitious and driven character who becomes the main antagonist of series three. She is Will's older sister and takes an immediate dislike to Bella because Sophie sees her as a threat to Will's success as a free diver. She becomes a manager in Rikki's cafe and does as much as possible to cause grief for the mermaids, including destroying Zane and Rikki's relationship. She also tries to get her brother Will to go against Bella by saying she is a distraction.


Series Episodes Originally aired
Series premiere Series finale
1 26 7 July 2006 (2006-07-07) 29 December 2006 (2006-12-29)
2 26 28 September 2007 (2007-09-28) 21 March 2008 (2008-03-21)
3 26 26 October 2009 (2009-10-26) (UK) 16 April 2010 (2010-04-16) (UK)

Development and production[edit]

There are three different types of mermaid tails used on the show: custom-fitted tails that the girls swim in, a "floppy tail" used for stationary shots, and a "hard tail" for stunts. The custom costumes took six months to build, with the tails and tops made from body casts and comprising individually hand-crafted scales. The finished product weighs between 12 and 15 kilograms (26 and 33 lb). Inside the tail are leg straps where the girls are strapped up and then zipped up. Once in costume, the girls have to be lifted into the water. Attempts were made to minimise the on-screen visibility of the zips on the tails, such as adding extra scales and crafting a ridge of material around the length of the zip. The tail fin itself was designed with a foot pedal to assist the actresses with swimming. This, along with the fin, adds some 60 centimetres (2 ft) to the length of the costume.


Home media[edit]

All series have been released on DVD in Region 4 PAL format. Series one comprises six individual DVD sets released between September 2007 and November 2008, and a complete series set released in June 2009. Series two comprises three individual sets released between February and September 2009, and a complete series set released in November 2009. Series three comprises two individual sets released in July and September 2012, with a complete series released in December 2012.

A three-disc set, H2O: Season 1, Volume 1, containing the first 13 episodes of series 1 for Region 1 NTSC format was released on 16 June 2009 by Nickelodeon as a manufacture-on-demand (MOD) DVD-R release via Amazon.com through their CreateSpace service. No follow-up DVD volume releases were made from this initial set, which was later discontinued.[5][6] A complete series DVD boxed set was released in Region 1 NTSC format on 6 November 2012 from New Video,[7] and all three series were made available for purchase individually beginning on 5 March 2013.[8]

Title Release date Episodes
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series One: Volume 1
12 September 2007 1."Metamorphosis", 2."Pool Party", 3."Catch of the Day", 4."Party Girls"
  • Special features: series one trailer, profiles of main characters
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series One: Volume 2
12 September 2007 5."Something Fishy", 6."Young Love", 7."Moon Spell", 8."The Denman Affair"
  • Special features: photo gallery of series one
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series One: Volume 3
5 March 2008 9."Dangerous Waters", 10."Sink or Swim", 11."The Camera Never Lies", 12."The Siren Effect"
  • Special features: character profiles of Emma, Cleo, Rikki, Lewis and Zane
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series One: Volume 4
7 May 2008 13."Shipwrecked", 14."Surprise!", 15."The Big Chill", 16."Lovesick"
  • Special features: H2O quiz game
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series One: Volume 5
9 July 2008 17."Under the Weather", 18."Bad Moon Rising", 19."Hurricane Angela", 20."Hook, Line and Sinker", 21."Red Herring"
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series One: Volume 6
5 November 2008 22."Fish Out of Water", 23."In Too Deep", 24."Love Potion #9", 25."Dr Danger", 26."A Twist in the Tail"
H2O: Just Add Water:
Complete Series One
2 June 2009 All episodes of series one
  • Special features: H2O quiz game, character profiles of Emma, Cleo, Rikki, Lewis and Zane, photo gallery of series one, series one trailer, profiles of main characters
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series 2: Volume 1
27 January 2009 1."Stormy Weather", 2."Control", 3."The One That Got Away", 4."Fire and Ice", 5."Hocus Pocus", 6."Pressure Cooker", 7."In Hot Water", 8."Wrong Side of the Tracks"
  • Special features: series one telemovie, series two trailer
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series 2: Volume 2
2 June 2009 9."Riding For a Fall", 10."Missed the Boat", 11."In Over Our Heads", 12."Fish Fever", 13."Moonwalker", 14."Get Off My Tail", 15."Irresistible", 16."Double Trouble", 17."Moonstruck"
  • Special features: photo gallery of series two
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series 2: Volume 3
2 September 2009 18."The Heat is On", 19."The Gracie Code (Part 1)", 20."The Gracie Code (Part 2)", 21."And Then There Were Four", 22."Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble", 23."Reckless", 24."Three's Company", 25."Sea Change", 26."Unfathomable"
  • Special features: behind the scenes special
H2O: Just Add Water:
Complete Series Two
4 November 2009 All episodes of series two
  • Special features: series one telemovie, series two trailer, photo gallery of series two, behind-the-scenes special
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series 3: Volume 1
27 June 2012 1."The Awakening", 2."Jungle Hunt", 3."Keep Your Enemies Close", 4."Valentine's Day", 5."Big Ideas", 6."Secrets & Lies", 7."Happy Families", 8."Kidnapped", 9."The Sorcerer's Apprentice", 10."Revealed", 11."Just a Girl At Heart", 12."Crime & Punishment", 13."To Have & To Hold Back", 14."Mermaid Magic"
H2O: Just Add Water:
Series 3: Volume 2
5 September 2012 15."Power Play", 16."The Dark Side", 17."A Magnetic Attraction", 18."Into The Light", 19."Breakaway", 20."Queen For A Day", 21."The Jewel Thief", 22."Mako Masters", 23."Beach Party", 24."Too Close For Comfort", 25."A Date With Destiny", 26."Graduation"
  • Special features: behind the scenes special
H2O: Just Add Water:
Complete Series Three
3 December 2012 All episodes of series three
  • Special features: behind the scenes special
H2O: Just Add Water:
Complete Series
3 December 2012 All three series in one box
  • Special features: bonus features known from previous releases


An official soundtrack for series two of the show, titled H2O: Just Add Water and recorded by singer Kate Alexa, was first released on 10 September 2007 in Australia on Liberation Records and has since been made available worldwide. Its lead track, "No Ordinary Girl", is the theme song for the show. "No Ordinary Girl" is performed by Ellie Henderson in series one, by Kate Alexa in series two and by Indiana Evans in series three.

A second soundtrack, featuring music from series three, was first released on iTunes on 17 February 2011[9] and later worldwide in March 2011. It is also titled H2O: Just Add Water and was recorded by actress Indiana Evans.[10]


Several children's books have been released by Nickelodeon UK:[11]

  1. No Ordinary Girl – 2 February 2009
  2. Living with Secrets – 2 February 2009
  3. Fishy Business – 5 May 2009
  4. A Sleepover Tail – 6 July 2009
  5. Sequins for Sea Queens – 7 January 2010
  6. First Crush – 29 April 2010
  7. Moonspell – 5 August 2010
  8. Testing Times – 6 January 2011
  9. Hot Stuff – 9 June 2011
  10. In Too Deep – 4 August 2011
  11. Mermaid Emotions – 27 October 2011
  12. Siren Status – 2 February 2012

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2007 Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards Best TV Show[2] H2O: Just Add Water Nominated
Logie Awards Most Outstanding Children's Program[12] H2O: Just Add Water Nominated
2008 AFI Awards Best Visual Effects[13] H2O: Just Add Water Won
Best Children's Television Drama[14] H2O: Just Add Water Nominated
Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama[14] Phoebe Tonkin Nominated
Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama[14] Brittany Byrnes Nominated
Logie Awards Most Outstanding Children's Program[15] H2O: Just Add Water Nominated
Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards Best TV Drama Show[16] H2O: Just Add Water Won
2009 Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards Best Drama Show[17] H2O: Just Add Water Nominated
Logie Awards Most Outstanding Children's Program[18] H2O: Just Add Water Won
2011 AACTA Awards Best Children's Television Series[19] H2O: Just Add Water Nominated


In July 2011, the production of a 26-episode spin-off was announced.[20] The new series, Mako: Island of Secrets, follows the adventures of 15-year-old Zac and mermaids Sirena, Nixie, and Lyla.[21] In the final series of the show, Cariba Heine makes a guest appearance as Rikki.

In May 2015, an animated spin-off targeted to children premiered on Netflix, titled H2O: Mermaid Adventures.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ZDF Enterprises launches 'H2O – Just Add Water' at MIPCOM 2006 with a splash! | ZDF Enterprises".
  2. ^ a b "'H2O – Just Add Water' nominated for Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award Series" (Press release). LifePR. 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  3. ^ Tucker-Evans, Anooska; Sourris, Marie-Christine (3 May 2009). "Rebecca Gibney feels like a million dollars for Logies bid". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  4. ^ Redmond, Renee (21 January 2009). "Actor quits Coast TV show". Gold Coast. Archived from the original on 16 October 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  5. ^ Lambert, David (8 June 2009). "H2O: Just Add Water - Box Art, Slightly Changed Release Date for Season 1, Volume 1". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  6. ^ "H2O Season 1 Volume 1". Amazon.com. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  7. ^ "H2O: Just Add Water The Complete Series (2006)". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012.
  8. ^ Lambert, David (5 December 2012). "H2O: Just Add Water - Individual Season Sets are Scheduled for All 3 Seasons". TV Shows on DVD. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  9. ^ "H2O Just Add Water – The Music". iTunes. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  10. ^ "H2O: Just Add Water". WaterfrontRecords.com. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  11. ^ "H2O: Just Add Water Books". SimonandSchuster.co.uk. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  12. ^ "2007 TV Week Logie Awards: Most Outstanding Children's Program". Yahoo7.com.au. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007.
  13. ^ "2008 Awards Winners". Australian Film Institute. 2008. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "L'Oréal Paris 2008 AFI Awards Nominees". Australian Film Institute. 2008. Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Logie win a boost for Albany". Albany Weekender. 5 August 2008. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  16. ^ "KCA 2008: Winners". Nickelodeon.com.au. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  17. ^ Knox, David (20 September 2009). "2009 Kid's Choice Awards: Nominees". TV Tonight. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
  18. ^ "51st Annual TV WEEK Logie Awards winners". TV Week. May 2009. Archived from the original on 4 June 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  19. ^ "Inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards" (PDF). Australian Film Institute. 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  20. ^ "New telemovies, mini-series at Nine, ABC". 24 July 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  21. ^ "TV Series Index". Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  22. ^ "H2O: Mermaid Adventures". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  23. ^ Anders, Ella (1 June 2015). "H2O: Mermaid Adventures". BSCKids. Retrieved 4 June 2015.

External links[edit]