The Australian/New Zealand television show, 800 Words, with new shows every week on Acorn TV, is one of the best shows you’re not watching – yet. Unlike many shows from the U.K. or Australia, 800 Words is still running in its country of origin and is now being offered on the streaming service Acorn each week. 800 Words is the story of Australian George Turner who moves with his two teenaged children from Sydney to the small town of Weld, New Zealand for a fresh start after his wife is killed in an accident.
Acorn TV is the streaming service with the tagline “The Best British TV,” where you can watch everything from Agatha Christie to Doc Martin, all in one place. It is truly Netflix for Anglophiles, according to the Inquisitr. You can find old favorites like Upstairs Downstairs, and new offerings like Agatha Raisin, a present day mystery series with a comedic twist. With new shows added each month, Acorn in the American home for several complete series like Midsomer Murders and Murdoch Mysteries.
800 Words has echoes of Sex and the City, says The New York Times, as the series lead, George Turner (played by Erik Thomson), is a columnist, writing a weekly piece for an Australian paper called “800 Words” which is is op-ed view on life. On each episode, George reads his column aloud to wrap up the episode as a poignant touch. NYT likens the style of 800 Words to Gilmore Girls, as it’s the story of a family with the backdrop of a small town.
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800 Words is both sad and funny, sometimes at the same time, as George is facing the usual struggles of raising teenagers, a boy and a girl, Arlo and Shay, with the twist of loss. The Turners have moved from Sydney, Australia to Weld, New Zealand, a small dot on the map that George visited as a child for vacations. The NYT gives their approval to 800 Words and says it fills a current gap in American television, perhaps left by the show Parenthood.
“And it’s surprisingly watchable — the humor isn’t too broad or saccharine, and the central performers are skillful enough to make the emotions feel real. (Apparently not all of Australia’s good actors have left to do American TV.)”
And though 800 Words is still perhaps a diamond in the rough for American audiences, if given a chance, it could be a hit in the U.S. too. The acting from the lead Erik Thomson, to the two actors who play his children (Melina Vidler and Benson Jack Anthony), is authentic, and never cloying. And the actors who play the locals in the town of Weld never phone it in either and are believable as the welcoming, albeit suspicious small town residents.
800 Words is streaming its first season right now on Acorn TV, but is in its second season in Australia and New Zealand according to TheBitBag, so if you get hooked on Season 1, you know Season 2 is right around the corner. 800 Words is worth a try if only for the scenery that includes views of coastal New Zealand that aren’t often seen on television.
Actor Erik Thomson is proof that not all top Australian actors have moved to Los Angeles, as he combines being easy on the eyes with a genuine acting range that is both believable and touching as a dad who knows he is out of his element.
Have you checked out 800 Words on Acorn TV?
[Featured Image by RJL Entertainment]