"Siren". Picture: Supplied

Season 1 of "Siren" was as critically acclaimed as it was popular, as it "turns traditional lore on its tail with a unique, well-paced show that presents dangerous, violent mythical creatures in a surprisingly empathetic and exciting light.”

Season 2 begins with the threat of discovery increasing as more mermaids land at Bristol Cove’s shores. We asked the cast why audiences should add "Siren" to their watchlist:

1. There are mermaids - like you’ve never seen before

“The series is about what happens when a real mermaid comes to land,” says Rena Owen (Once Were WarriorsStar Wars II and III), who plays Helen Hawkins, the town eccentric who seems to know more about the mermaids than she lets on.  

“Unlike other mermaid stories and films, yes, our mermaids are very beautiful and enticing and intoxicating but they’re also top-level predators. They will bite your head off if you mess with them. These are mermaids like nobody has ever seen before; that’s what makes this show so exciting. It’s totally original. It humanises mermaids to a certain degree but they’re unpredictable and they’re dangerous.”

2. There’s a mermaid-marine-biologist love triangle

Forbes described Siren as "The Vampire Diaries for mermaids." Like that show, a love triangle is at the heart of the plot: this time between Ryn (Game of Thrones’ Eline Powell) and marine-biologist couple Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola). “I’m not very adventurous so I’ve never been in a love triangle,” says Evans-Akingbola. “But each to their own. Ryn is such a force of nature that most people would want to love Ryn, I think.”

Season 2 starts with Ben trying to cope with the after-effects of Ryn’s siren song. "It raises the question: without the siren song, would he just be crazily intrigued and in love with her anyway?" asks Roe. “She’s incredibly lovable and interesting and sexy and smart and all of these different things, and I think that’s undeniable whether she is a fish or not…"

3. Its themes are more timely than ever

In Season 2, Ryn, Ben and Maddie are pushed back together after an oil company blasts the bottom of the ocean with sonic cannons to try to find oil. Whales wash up on the shore and more mermaids start infiltrating the town - perhaps for refuge, perhaps for revenge. "It’s quite fitting because I just read in the news that that’s what’s going on now," says Roe (referring to sonic cannons, not mermaid sightings).

And it’s not just the environmental conservation messages that hit home. "In our show, we are talking about how outsiders aren’t necessarily outsiders," says Powell. "This idea of: if you just open up your heart and mind, and try to understand, you might find there are many more similarities between you or much more of a connection than if you instantly see something as an enemy or a threat and push it away. 

"Our show is dealing with how much we can gain by dropping that kind of view altogether and learning about each other. Our show does that both ways - both Ryn seeing humans but especially humans seeing mermaids - and the different ways to deal with it and the results of the different approaches. I think nowadays that’s very interesting because we are so much about ‘us vs them’ when we really shouldn’t be: it’s all just us."

4. There’s even more action this season

"Season two has a lot more mermaids and a lot more action," says Powell. “Even us, reading the scripts, we’ve been, 'Oh my God' every episode."

"There’s just so much going on," echoes Owen. "With the boats, underwater, and on land..."

"A gang of at least five mermaids are going to pop up," says Roe. "Are they going to be peaceful? Are they looking for refuge? What are they going to be like? They’re strong; they’re vicious; they’re smart. You’ve seen what they’re capable of from Ryn, so it’s going to get real "Planet of the Apes…"

Binge-watch "Siren" season 1 and watch new episodes of season 2 every week on Showmax.