What is The Deep?

No, I'm not talking about that character from The Boys, or the 2015 horror novel, I'm talking about a cartoon that started airing in 2015 and was based off of a six-issue comic written by Tom Taylor. It chronicles the adventures of the Nekton family on a high-tech sub on their adventures exploring the sea.

The family consists of William Nekton, a 6'4" olympian medallist swimmer who retired from the sport to take after his parents in the field of marine archeology, his wife Kaiko, a former gymnast who is now both pilot and mechanic for their state-of-the-art submarine, and their two children Fontaine and Antaeus. As we follow the adventures of the family we see them take on pirates, enviromental disasters, technological mishaps, and massive mystical creatures known as the monumentials. In the final episode of season 1, we find out that the reason the Nekton family have been obsessed with the ocean for generations is because they're descended from Lemurian royalty, or Atlantis as it was known in the comics.

Why I watched it

I was Fontaine's age at the time, and I wanted to be like her - she was cool, she was competent, and she lived a life surrounded by deep sea adventure. Another reason I imprinted so heavily on it was because until I hit highschool I wanted to be either a vet, a marine archaeologist, or a marine biologist. So obviously a show about a teen marine archaeologist slash biologist was right up my alley, never mind that Fontaine had less screen time than her brother.

By the time season 2 rolled around, I had a room of my own that wasn't attached to the house, so I wasn't spending as much time in the living room as I was when I shared a room with my sister, so I didn't catch as much of it as I did season 1. I do remember watching bits and pieces of the episode Treacherous Waters in that loungeroom, but I obviously didn't catch all of it because I had no idea who Alpheus was until I caught the marathon of season 3, funnily enough on the episode he left the show on. By that point I had a third younger brother, and I had finished school the year before so I was his main babysitter. That meant plenty of time to catch up on kids shows, and the perfect excuse to be watching them.

Being eighteen at that point I didn't relate to Fontaine so much, but I was intrigued by Alpheus.
He was evil, eighteen, and most importantly he was purple. He also thought picking fights with a twelve year old was a good idea. He was introduced in the first episode of season 2 (which I didn't watch as it was airing) and his storyline had fascinating worldbuilding implications. He was also Lemurian royalty, from a different bloodline to the Nekton family. As we later found out, it was his ancestor who lead to the fall of Lemuria by having not one, not two, but three separate monumentials set on the city. Only one of them made it the whole way, but only one needed to.

The Comic

There were a few changes between the comic and the show, namely that instead of looking for Lemuria, Will was looking for Atlantis. Another difference is the newscaster that Kaiko gets into a fight with in the comic doesn't exist in the show, cutting out one of my favourite Kaiko moments.

The plesiosaur from 'Here Be Dragons' is big enough to bite a blue whale in half in the comics, too. And while the choice of a cgi animated cartoon allows for some impressive effects, it also has negatives. The designs for the characters change with the new medium - the wetsuits might be less complicated in the comics, but there's more variety in their outfits.



The monumentials (in-universe translates to mega big) are massive versions of sea creatures that outsize even the 500m long Aronnax. Most of them have been asleep since before Lemuria fell, but they have been waking up and unwittingly causing issues in their environments.

A blue-tinted picture of a nautilus, with horizontal interlace lines running across it
The Aronnax

The state-of-the-art vessel that the Nektons travel in. It's 500 meters long (499.872m to be exact, according to the wiki), with a max speed of 50 knots and a crush depth of 2000 feet. For reference, the largest submarine ever built in real life was Russia's Typhoon-class, at 175 meters, a top speed of 27 knots, and rated to go 1,300 feet below the surface. It also had a crew of 160 people, which makes the Aronnax's five bedrooms (as mentioned on the official site) seem like a miscalculation.

A picture of the Aronnax in perspective, with the nose of the sub closer to the viewer than the tail. The sub is shaped like the body of a blue whale, minus the fins. It is white with orange accents.
The Dark Orca

This ship and its crew were introduced in episode 2, and have been relatively important characters throughout. The ship itself is 170 meters long, with a crush depth of 1000 feet and a top speed of 21.7 knots, when it isn't in need of repairs (which is almost never). The core crew consists of Captain Hammerhead, his teenage son Smiling Finn, his preteen daughter Mad Madeline, and his first mate Dannyboy, but unlike the Nektons aboard the Aronnax, he has an extended crew.

A picture of the Dark Orca side on. It's assembled out of weathered metal plating, with the connection lines clearly visible. There is a stylised Jolly Roger painted on its belly.

Finn, despite or perhaps because his father is the captain, doesn't actually want to be a pirate, but his inability to leave his situation causes conflict in his friendship with Fontaine. He's 16 and essentially trapped in the family business due to lack of options, and literally trapped in that he's aboard a submarine at sea with no way to get off until he steals Fontaine's communicator.


Alpheus is by far my favourite character from this series despite his minimal screen time. Whether or not he actually wanted the Nektons dead seemed to change every time he was on screen, and I loved that about him. You could call it inconsistent writing, but I think it worked for him. We know almost nothing of his backstory, except that until fairly recently he was the one the guardians expected to find Lemuria, and that he doesn't have parents. Can you imagine being seventeen or eighteen and being told that the destiny you were raised for isn't yours to have anymore? To then be abandoned by the people who raised you for said destiny?

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