- "That's one of the great curiosities of history, isn't it? How events can be seemingly unrelated to one another and yet be somehow linked, parts of a greater scheme. A series of events, all flowing on streams into a river, converging towards one single and inevitable moment... somewhere in the future."— The Old Man.
Mirror, Mirror is a 1995 Australian/NZ co-production about the goings-on in both 1919 and 1995, after they find out that they can access each other's timelines through an antique mirror.
The 1995 side involves Australian Jo Tiegan (Petra Yared note ), whose mother has just been appointed principal of a New Zealand school and has dragged the entire family with her. On a trip to the local shop, Jo finds herself inexplicably drawn to an antiques store run by a strange old man who knows her name, and insists that not only does she take an old mirror he owns, but also that he personally places it.
Jo soon discovers why this was necessary: the mirror functions as a portal to the year 1919, when the place was owned by the Iredale family, whose neighbour Sir Ivor Creevey-Thorne is housing a young Russian named Nicholas.
Meanwhile, in 1995, a dig at the school leads to the discovery of a canister of toxic chemicals in a well, which is then accidentally sprayed on two students. With both students' lives hanging in the balance, Jo and her newfound friend Louisa race against time to prevent this from ever having happened.
This series contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Zig-zagged. The Old Man is the only one who has any clear idea of what the hell is going on and even he makes a critical oversight. Only Louisa, Jo and her brother Royce can actually use the mirror properly, and most of the adults have their own reasons for not helping them.
- Nicholas' guardian is the Big Bad, and the Iredale tutor is an Evil Teacher who joins forces with him.
- Louisa's father tries to be helpful, and manages to find the warehouse where the smugglers are storing their goods. Unfortunately, he is attacked by Sir Ivor's thugs and scared into silence.
- Jo's father discovers what the mirror can do halfway through the show, but forbids her to use it due to the dangers involved. (Not that she listens.)
- The girls respective mothers only learn the truth towards the end of the show, by which time they can mostly just stand by and watch, though Louisa's mother does help Jo get back to her own time (along with Jo's father.)
- Big-Bad Ensemble: Sir Ivor, and arguably the Old Man.
- Broken Masquerade: Happens gradually, as more and more people learn about the Mirror. Though in the end, the only people in 1995 who know about it are Jo, Tama and Nicholas.
- Cassandra Truth: The protagonists have a hard time convincing the adults of anything, whether it be the existence of Time Travel or the villains Evil Plan.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The mirror only works for those who truly believe in it. Kids have a much easier time using it than adults.
- Color-Coded Characters: Jo and Louisa spend most of the show wearing similar-looking dresses in yellow and red, respectively.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: The saying this trope was named after is said word for word by Sir Ivor after he has Jo captured. Subverted in that she still comes out on top in the end.
- Dated History: When the show was made, it was considered somewhat plausible - if rather far-fetched - that Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov had escaped his execution, fled the country and lived abroad under an assumed name, because they Never Found the Body. Since then however, his remains have been found, squarely putting the show into Alternate History territory.
- Did Anastasia Survive?: Averted. The execution of the Romanovs is mentioned, but there's no indication that Anastasia survived. Her brother, on the other hand...
- Extremely Short Timespan: The entire, 20 episode series takes place during a single week (or, if you want to be technical, two weeks seperated by the better part of a century) with a prologue set some time beforehand.
- Feuding Families: The Tiegans and the Coigleys, of which every member seems to loath their counterpart in the other family (except for Royce, who doesn't have one.) Catherine and Leonie clearly hate each other, with the latter trying to get rid of the former. This rivalry is mirrored by that of their daughters, Jo and Jade. Also, Catherine's husband Andrew has a (possibly one-sided) dislike of Leonie's husband Dennis.
- Foreshadowing: Several clues are given to Nicholas' true identity before The Reveal. He's quite sickly, as he's suffering from hemophilia. This is why he does everything to not let his anger get the better of him as the Old Man. He also has a photo of a family who historically savvy viewers will recognise as the Romanovs.
- If the Old Man's theory that Jo is a reincarnation of Louisa is correct, then it's very appropriate that they meet each other through a mirror.
- Gambit Roulette: The old man uses an Omniscient Morality License to carry out one of these. It turns out that he's Nicholas but that doesn't matter because it all comes apart at the last minute.
- The Girl In The Mirror Talks Back: With the twist that the "reflection" is a completely different person. The Old Man speculates that they might share a soul, but this is never confirmed.
- Giving Radio to the Romans: More like "lending walkie talkies and remote controlled toy cars to the post-Edwardians."
- Happily Married: Jo's parents. While they do have the occasional argument, it's still clear that they are a loving, supportive couple.
- Hollywood Costuming: Several viewers have pointed out the the clothes worn in 1919 consistantly look far more victorian than what would be expected for the post-World War One era. Rule Of Costume Porn, perhaps?
- Literary Allusion Title: To Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, of course.
- Magic Mirror: The Mirror iself, naturally.
- Newspaper Dating: A variation. Jo shows Louisa a calendar to prove that she has travelled into the future.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Jo's interference in 1919 leads directly to the canister ending up in the well, which was exactly what she was trying to prevent in the first place. She has a My God, What Have I Done? moment when she realises this.
- Novelization: Has one written by Hilary Bell, one of the show's writers. It's mostly faithful to the plot of the series, but has some minor differences (such as the descriptions of the Old Man's hair and the color of the horse Nicholas rides at one point.)
- Parents as People: Jo's parents are portrayed like three-dimensional characters who have their own problems and are doing their best to deal with a situation they don't quite understand. Lampshaded by Jo's father Andrew, when he says that she "doesn't believe in parental infallibility."
- Phrase Catcher: Many characters in 1919 point out that Jo has "hair like a boy." Justified in that, as Louisa points out, it was pretty much only boys who had haircuts like that at the time.
- Portal to the Past: The mirror.
- Portal Slam: The mirror must be placed in exactly the same place at both ends in order to function properly (at one point, it has to be taken on a train). Also: Nicholas can't go through unaided because both he and his ring exist at both ends, and the mirror itself vanishes (along with the store) once history is irrevocably altered.
- Pottery Barn Poor: Sir Ivor refers to the living conditions in New Zealand as uncivilised and savage, even though he and the Iredales are clearly living in comfortable, big, upper-class houses with, in the case of the latter, several servants. This is likely deliberate, to show his arrogance.
- The Reveal: Two of them. First we learn that Nicholas is really Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, the last surviving child of Tsar Nicholas II. Then at the end we find out that the Old Man is Nicholas' future self, manipulating time in an attempt at getting his throne back.
- Shout-Out: Appropriately enough, Louisa just happens to have the book Through the Looking-Glass in her bedroom.
- Temporal Paradox: Tama and Jo insist on remaining in 1919 just to see Nicholas pouring in the neutralizing agent, because if they didn't, they wouldn't have any memory of the experience.
- Time-Travel Tense Trouble:
- Timey-Wimey Ball: What propels the plot along.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: While neither one of them fit the mold exactly, Jo and Louisa still clearly have this dynamic going on, further showing the differences between their time periods.