|Thanks to a little mermaid named Ariel, the underwater lifestyle was back in vogue in the early 1990’s. The spunky redhead was the star of Disney’s 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid, adapted from the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale. Disney’s version made quite a splash with kids, and soon, mer-people of all shapes and sizes were surfacing on video and toy shelves across the dry world.
Into this sea-friendly environment came pretty young blonde mermaid Marina, star of the syndicated cartoon Saban’s Adventures of the Little Mermaid Fantasy. Even more loosely adapted from the Andersen original, Saban’s cartoon had Marina exploring her own world and the world above, thanks to a leg-sprouting “potion of change.” Undersea critters like sea otter Ridley and seahorse Winnie made fine company, but when the handsome Prince Justin accidentally fell overboard into Marina’s kingdom, the little mermaid’s eyes turned to the surface world.Marina saved Justin’s life, but the young prince mistakenly thought he had been rescued by Cecily, a jealous surface-dweller. The two girls became instant rivals, but Marina’s greatest foe was a fellow water-breather, the crusty old sorceress Hedwig. Together with her less-than-bright shark lackey Duhdlee, Hedwig stirred up plot after plot to ruin poor Marina’s life. Thankfully, the side of good had a little magic as well, thanks to Justin’s wizard tutor Anselm. The magic, music and mer-creatures were all there, but Saban’s Adventures of the Little Mermaid Fantasy only ran thirteen episodes, as Disney decided to take back the mermaid crown with its own Disney’s The Little Mermaid series in 1992.