Though its ‘800 Words’ title gives little away, this international drama certainly has a heart-tugging story to tell. George Turner (Erik Thompson) is a recently widowed father who, knowing nothing about it, buys a small house on the Internet. The only trouble is, his two teen-aged children; they’re far less enthused to leave Sydney and move to a remote seaside town in New Zealand.
To make things worse, upon their arrival, the house is anything but habitable. This sends his daughter Shay (Melina Vidler) into a further state of annoyance, while Arlo (Benson Jack Anthony) tries to be the one who keeps his family from destructing.
Though the town is small, it’s full of interesting residents, chief among them is Katie (Anna Julienne), a single mom and free spirit who makes quite a first impression; Fiona (Michelle Langstone), a local business owner; then there’s the principal, Tracey (Emma Leonard); and the younger Hannah (Cian Elyse White).
800 Words Series One TV Review
There are lots of facets to this series in addition to the larger “ghost” that plagues the first season. The most obvious is a story of a father and the challenges of moving with two moody teenagers. Then there’s the new community they live in, politics, the women who take notice of a single man, a friendly face from the past, and of course, the emotional ghost that is George’s wife.
All of this takes place in a mere 8 episodes, and most, if not all, doesn’t find resolution by seasons end. Being an international drama does ensure top-quality entertainment. The setup is unique with George’s column telling a good part of the story; and the episodes sometimes open after events have unfolded only to then backtrack, and tell the story.
The setting is beautiful and fun because of the people in Weld. It’s a quirky story that is so much more than the comedy it has to offer (though the laughs are there). This season kind of builds to a more emotional climax given the decision one character makes. It’s the kind of cliffhanger that’s emotionally investing; and makes you want to begin season two right away. Because this now is now cancelled, for those of us making the discovery of the show for the first time, we can.
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The characters are also the best kind of ensemble. I love all of these characters and their unique quirks. Unique personality expressions take shape in this first season, the kind that keeps viewers engaged, and want to return. If you like stories that warm your heart, then you’d like this one. If you like good comedy, you’ll enjoy this. If you like good characterization, then you guessed it, you’ll like 800 Words. It’s an entertaining series that invites us back to Weld, and each time we return, we enjoy the place a little bit more.
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Content: There’s some adult material; one woman likes to sun bathe in the nude, and there’s some jokes about that. Another girl loses her virginity, and later learns the guy is something of a Casanova. There’s one night stand implications, and perhaps a minor profanity. Nothing is ever graphic. The series is officially TVPG, with a few maybe needing a TV14 rating.
Photos: South Pacific Pictures / BBC