Mako: Island of Secrets is an Australian television programme for children and teenagers. Internationally released as Mako Mermaids, the show is a spin-off of H2O: Just Add Water and is produced by Jonathan M. Shiff in association with Network Ten and Nickelodeon.
The series follows Zac, a teenage boy who turns into a merman after accidentally falling into a magical pool of water on the fictional island of Mako.
Zac is a teenage boy who decides to camp on Mako Island, unaware that three mermaids, Sirena, Nixie, and Lyla, who are guardians of the island, are watching him. That night, when the full moon rises, the boy comes into contact with the magic water of the Moon Pool. The following morning, Zac discovers that he has the ability to control and manipulate water. Later, after accidentally falling into the water, he finds that he has also become a merman with a fish-like tail. His new-found merman abilities will cause problems for the mermaids.
After their pod banishes them for allowing Zac to become a merman, the three mermaids, curious about living on land and motivated to remove Zac's powers, venture onto the land and learn to live among humans.
In series 2, the mermaids continue to discover Mako's secrets and learn more about the merman chamber. Nixie and Lyla go in search of a new home, leaving Sirena with Ondina and Mimmi, Mako mermaids who continue the effort to remove Zac's powers and reclaim the island for their pod.
In series 3, Zac and the mermaids are joined by Weilan, a Chinese mermaid who fled to Mako for sanctuary from a magic water dragon. The mermaids must devise a way to defeat the dragon before it destroys all the pod has worked to save. Meanwhile, Sirena vacations with Aquata in Hawaii.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||26||26 July 2013||12 January 2014|
|2||26||15 February 2015||9 August 2015|
|3||16||15 May 2016||TBA|
- Lucy Fry as Lyla (series 1), seen as the leader of the three mermaids. She is hot-headed, determined, but still very smart. Despite initially only being interested in him for the sake of removing his powers, she develops an attachment to Zac.
- Ivy Latimer as Nixie (series 1), one of the three mermaids. She is an adventurous girl, who often gets into trouble and only does what she believes is right. In series 2, it is explained that she and Lyla have left to search for a new home for the mermaid pod. She makes a cameo in the last episode of series 2 at the end when the pod returns.
- Amy Ruffle as Sirena (series 1–2), one of the three mermaids. Naive and sweet, she acts as a mediator and peacemaker when Lyla and Nixie quarrel.
- Chai Romruen as Zac Blakely (series 1–3), who becomes a merman after falling into the Moon Pool during a full moon while camping on Mako Island. He grew up surfing and is sporty. In series 2, he discovers that he was born a merman and that Mimmi is his sister.
- Isabel Durant as Ondina (series 2–3), a mermaid who works to remove Zac's powers. She is headstrong and tries to do things her way.
- Allie Bertram as Mimmi (series 2–3), a mermaid who works to remove Zac's powers. She is intelligent and inquisitive, and occasionally has to bail Ondina out of trouble. She eventually finds out that Zac is her long lost brother.
- Gemma Forsyth as Evie McLaren, (series 2–3, supporting in series 1) who is Zac's girlfriend. In series one, she believes the girls are stalking her and is jealous of Zac spending time with Lyla. She eventually learns the girls are mermaids and apologises for her quick judgement. She is accidentally transformed into a mermaid in series two and back into a land girl again in series three.
- Alex Cubis as Erik (series 2), a merman who is descended from a line of mermen who have not been seen for thousands of years. He is solitary and elusive.
- Linda Ngo as Weilan (series 3), a Chinese mermaid who accidentally leads a magic water dragon to Mako. She is sassy and has a dry wit. She prefers sleeping and socialising on land as the dragon has caused her to be wary of life in the ocean.
- Dominic Deutscher as Cam Mitchell, Zac's best friend who quickly becomes aware of Zac's transformation into a merman. While Cam is initially supportive of his friend and helps to keep his secret, he becomes jealous and envious of Zac's powers. He is outraged when Zac tries to return the trident to its chamber, and works to become a merman himself. They later make up and Cam helps Zac destroy the merman chamber.
- Kerith Atkinson as Rita Santos, the school principal and a mermaid. She left her pod years ago to be with a human boy she fell in love with, but who died before they could marry. She serves as a source of knowledge and history for the girls, and teaches them how to properly use their powers.
- Rowan Hills as David, an employee at the Ocean Cafe. He and Sirena become mutual love interests. David finds out about mermaids at the end of series 2.
- Brooke Nichole Lee as Carly Morgan, an employee at the Ocean Cafe. She had feelings for David but is now with Cam. She is also Evie's best friend, and later finds out about mermaids in series 2.
Development and production
The show, announced in July 2011, consists of 26 episodes of 26 minutes each, plus an option for one 90-minute episode. Filming was to begin in April 2012, but it was postponed to the beginning of May. On 8 May 2012, Shiff Productions announced the principal cast and the start of the shoot. Filming ran through 12 October 2012. Mako was scheduled to broadcast in the second half of 2013, with a second series confirmed before the first had screened. Production of the first series totalled A$12.3 million.
The show was first announced as Mako: Island of Secrets, then as Secret of Mako Island, and finally as Mako Mermaids for its international release. It debuted domestically on Network Ten as Mako: Island of Secrets on 26 July 2013.
In partnership with Shiff Productions, Netflix is the exclusive internet television provider for the series. The first thirteen episodes were released on 26 July 2013, with the second half of the season airing on 15 September 2013. On 8 November 2013, broadcasts of the show were switched from Network Ten to the free-to-air digital channel Eleven, first airing on Friday mornings at 8:00 a.m. and later changed to Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m.
A second series was confirmed in February 2013, with production beginning in the second half of 2013 contingent on funding from Screen Australia. The first half of series two premiered on Netflix on 13 February 2015 in North and Latin America, United Kingdom, and other territories. In Australia, the second series screened on Eleven Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. from 15 February 2015. The second half of the series was released on Netflix on 29 May 2015. Netflix labelled the first half as series two, while the second half was called series three.
A third series of 16 episodes was announced in 2014, began screening on Eleven on 15 May 2016 and was released on Netflix on 27 May 2016. The series introduced Chinese mermaid Weilan (Linda Ngo), and featured the guest appearance of Cariba Heine as Rikki Chadwick in the final two episodes.
This is the last series of the show, and will be followed by a movie.
Series 3 is listed under Season 4 on Netflix, as Netflix released Series 2 as two separate seasons in 2015.
International release dates
|Country / region||Channel||Series premiere||Title in country||Source(s)|
|26 July 2013||Mako: Island of Secrets||N/A|
|United Kingdom||Netflix||26 July 2013||Mako Mermaids|
|United States||Netflix||26 July 2013||Mako Mermaids: An H2O Adventure|