The family drama “800 Words” is filled with humor along with the tale of the Turner family — who moves from Australia to New Zealand to start anew after the death of their wife and mother. Not wanting to face the ghosts of his beloved late wife, George Turner uproots his two children to make a fresh start in a place that holds good memories from his childhood – Weld, New Zealand.
George (Erik Thomson) is a columnist for a magazine, and with the Internet, he can write from anywhere. When he was young he used to visit Weld for surfing. His memories of this tiny town are happy ones, which is what he wants to create for his two teenage kids, Shay (Melinda Vidler) and Arlo (Benson Jack Anthony). While neither of them is excited about leaving their home in Sydney, they try to accept the move.
Once they arrive in New Zealand everything goes wrong, from the very first day. It’s one disaster after another. And the kids find it difficult to fit in at their new school.
The town is basically run by one family who owns the majority of the businesses. The people of Weld initially take offense to the newcomers, but soon they are accepted, even though it takes a while for the kids to adjust. There are several single women in the community who take a special interest in George. He’s fresh meat and not bad on the eyes.
The house George purchased, sight unseen, is a wreck. The local handyman, Woody, (Rick Donald), is also the man George turns to for a sympathetic ear. Woody is a fun guy who has his pulse on the town and knows exactly what’s what.
While George told his kids the reason he uprooted them from Sydney and brought them to Weld was for a fresh start, he had an ulterior motive. He wants to surf and this is where he surfed as a kid. But, as viewers soon discover, George really cannot surf. It just takes time, as does settling into their new surroundings and becoming part of this tight-knit community. It really is a close little town. No one can sneeze without everyone hearing about it. There is no privacy, which upsets Shay, but there is also no lack of caring people.
“800 Words” is a show about family. While it also deals with the ups and downs of the different characters of Weld, at the heart is the relationship between George, Shay and Arlo. The three seasons are available to stream on Acorn TV.