In 1995 there was a revival of the 1960s television series Flipper, following the adventures of a dolphin named Flipper and his human friends. In the show, mermaids sort-of made appearances in three episodes, "Submersible", "The Girl Who Came to Dinner" and "Mermaid Island".
One of the characters in the show is Maya, who is played by Jessica Alba. She's a free-spirited and adventurous girl with a passion for the sea. In season one she befriends Mike Blondell, played by Payton Haas, who is the son of a naval officer and science researcher.
In "Submersible", Maya and Payton are swimming in the ocean when Maya catches a glimpse of what she thinks is a mermaid. Payton scoffs at the notion, but Maya is a firm believer in mermaids. Later, Maya and Payton "borrow" a submarine that Payton's mother bought in an auction, using it to dive underwater in search for the mermaid. The trip goes awry when the submarine gets stuck, but the pair do catch a brief glimpse of the mermaid, though we the audience never see her face clearly. It's also implied that the mermaid joins Flipper in helping untangle the submarine to set it free.
The later episode, "The Girl Who Came to Dinner", is quite different in tone. Maya has been keeping secrets from Payton and the other adults on the show, namely that she is an orphan and a runaway, and has all this time been living by herself in a boathouse. In this episode, Maya keeps having dreams (sleeping and waking) about mermaids, who in her mind symbolises the freedom that she craves. When Maya's secret comes out and a social worker arrives on the scene, Maya runs away. Hoping that she can become a mermaid herself, she dives into the sea and almost drowns, only to be saved in more ways than one when Payton rescues her and his mother vows to adopt her.
In season 2, the cast has changed a bit and Maya is an intern at the institute with her new friend Dean Gregson (played by Scott Michaelson, who was the merman Barnaby in Sabrina, Down Under). In the episode "Mermaid Island", Maya and Greg are diving when Greg sees what appears to be a mermaid. Greg is skeptical, but Maya is still a fan of all things mer. At Maya's insistence, they go back out to sea and meet Melisand (played by Rachel Blakely), who is the girl Greg saw, but she now has a definite pair of human legs. Melisand explains that she really is a mermaid (which no one but Maya believes), and that she only has legs at the moment because of the full moon.
Melisand has taken a shine to Greg, but things are complicated because it's suspected that Melisand is actually J.J. de Longville, long-lost heiress of the de Longville estate, who went missing when she was a child. This could be a breakthrough because Palm Island, owned by the de Longville estate, is about to be bought over by a developer who wants to convert it into a hotel resort, and Melisand just might be their only chance in stopping that from happening.