The Little Mermaid premiered in the fall of 1992 with the animated prime time special called "A Whale of a Tale," then moved to Saturday mornings. This series originally appeared on CBS, with an original run from 1992 to 1994. It was later shown in reruns on The Disney Channel until June 2010. Some of the episodes contain musical segments, featuring original songs written for the series. The opening theme to the show is an instrumental combination of the songs "Part of Your World", "Under the Sea", and "Kiss the Girl". The overture for the stage musical of The Little Mermaid is similar to this.
The Little Mermaid television series is a prequel to the movie of the same name. The story is set before the events in the 1989 film, and follows Ariel's adventures as a mermaid still living under the sea with her father, Sebastian and Flounder. Various episodes highlight her relationship with her friends, father and sisters, and usually involves Ariel foiling the attempts of various enemies that intend ill harm to her or to her kingdom. With the release of the prequel film The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning in 2008, some events in this television series have been contradicted (such as Ariel's first encounter with Flounder). This indicates that the TV series and the prequel film are set in different continuities.
- Ariel (voiced by Jodi Benson) – She is the seventh daughter of the sea king who loves to sing and go on adventures. She also has developed magic in season 2 (episode 9) to save her world.
- Sebastian (voiced by Samuel E. Wright) – A small red jamaican crab who acts as the king's adviser, court musician, and a baby-sitter-like figure for Ariel.
- Flounder (voiced by Bradley Pierce and Edan Gross) – Ariel's best friend, a bright yellow and golden blue colored tropical reef fish called a juvenile blue tang who follows along on her adventures, and can be easily scared.
- King Triton (voiced by Kenneth Mars) – He is Ariel's father and ruler of Atlantica who protects his kingdom with his magic trident.
- Scuttle (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) – He is a seagull who is friends with Ariel. He first appears in the episode "Scuttle".
- Aquata (voiced by Mona Marshall),
- Andrina (voiced by Catherine Cavadini),
- Arista (voiced by Mary Kay Bergman),
- Attina (voiced by Kath Soucie),
- Adella (voiced by Sherry Lynn) and Alana (voiced by Kimmy Robertson) are Ariel's six older sisters.
- Ursula (voiced by Pat Carroll) is a powerful sea witch who occasionally antagonizes Ariel.
- Jetsam (voiced by Paddi Edwards) – They are Ursula's green moray eel henchmen who do her evil bidding for her.
- Prince Eric (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – Ariel's future husband. His first appearance is in the episode "Thingamajigger" and appears occasionally throughout the seasons with his dog, Max, as a puppy. Ariel first sees him saving a dolphin from a net, which technically makes this scene the first time she has ever seen Prince Eric, but does not know who he is.