Some of the best children’s products are those that entrance adults too, and I am not ashamed to say that I fell, hook line and sinker, for The Deep, an animated adventure series about a family of underwater explorers.
The Deep began life as a graphic novel, by Melbourne writer Tom Taylor and Brisbane artist James Brouwer, and published by Perth comics publisher, Gestalt. It concerns the Nektons, a family of aquanauts who explore the oceans in their amazing submarine, the Arronax. As they journey, they encounter mythical beasts and creatures, usually (but not always) finding a scientific explanation. They also have some very cool gadgets, including the ‘knights,’ elaborate ‘extra-vehicular activity suits’ which enable them to do some serious discovery work.
At the heart of the story is the Nektons’ possible connection to a lost ancient civilisation, called Lemuria (similar to Atlantis). And in its adaptation for TV by an international collaboration between Australia and Canada, this story runs delightfully through episodes. It’s got it all, in fact: a good-hearted set of heroes, including the boy wonder, Antaeus (named for the son of Gaia and Poseidon) and his best friend Jeffrey, a tropical fish with a mysterious past; his sarcastic older sister Fontaine and her possible love-interest, the piratical Finn; and a pair of scientist parents, Will and Kaiko.
The name Nekton comes from a scientific term for the ‘aggregate of actively swimming aquatic organisms in a body of water.’ It turns out the Nekton family, who are all magnificent swimmers, are also descendants of the Lemurians. Together with some mysterious guardians, named after Greek and Roman sea gods (Tethys, Glaucus, Proteus), they search for the lost continent. As they do, the find mysterious underwater temples, disappearing islands, ancient shipwrecks, and a curious labyrinth in which lurks a pair of seahorse-like Minotaurs.
As January slips away, this is our final Saturnalian surprise. So where better to conclude than my own favourite discovery from the first year of researching Our Mythical Childhood. The Deep was a surprise to me because of its elegant interweaving of mythical and scientific matters, in a wholesome show for children that is engrossing for adult viewers too. It’s also absolutely gorgeous to look at.
The Deep Trailer
If you like underwater scenery, beautifully realised, with myth, monsters, and more, then take the time to watch The Deep. There are 2 series already airing, with a third in the works, and I hope there’ll be many more . . .