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The Final Season of 'A Place Called Home' Arrives on Acorn
August 31, 2018  | By David Hinckley

Among all the shows aspiring to fill the Downton Abbey void, A Place Called Home may come the closest.

So it sparks some sadness that the sixth season of A Place Called Home, which becomes available Friday on Acorn, will be its last.

And yes, that means it has a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of stories to either wrap up or leave tantalizingly ambivalent.

Set in New South Wales in the 1950s, A Place Called Home revolves around the Bligh family, a wealthy bunch with all the quirks and neuroses of old money plus a reluctant awareness of social issues that simmered and bubbled toward the surface in the subtly revolutionary years after a war that engulfed virtually the entire globe.

For purposes of this story, the twin pillars of the Bligh family – no relation, apparently, to the Mutiny on the Bounty Bligh – are George (Brett Climo, top), the good-hearted, well-intended and occasionally overwhelmed primary heir, and his mother Elizabeth (Noni Hazlehurst), the strong-willed and at times annoying matriarch who has become a wonderful character over the past five seasons.

The wild card, and the character to whom viewers have come to look first, has been Sarah Adams (Marta Dusseldorp), who came to the area as a nurse at the local hospital and has become de facto family to the Blighs despite the wide gap in breeding.

She has become especially close to George over the years, even as she struggled with the war-induced breakdown of her husband, Rene. George, a widower, has two grown children, Anna (Abby Earl) and James (David Berry).

As season six dawns, five seasons worth of dramatic and melodramatic obstacles seem to have cleared away, and Sarah and George may have a path to happiness.

But don’t get too comfortable, boys and girls. A Place Called Home is not that kind of show, and there are way too many delicate subplots for several of them not to go very wrong.

Mild spoiler: That’s exactly what happens. Some of the fabric frays at the edges. Some of the fabric rips. The least likeable Bligh family member, George’s sister-in-law Regina (Jenni Baird), offed herself at the end of last season, but that doesn’t spare anyone else. Being a good person doesn’t give you an immunity card on A Place Called Home, so viewers should brace themselves for some bad news about a favorite.

Since A Place Called Home has an unapologetically soapy side, there’s probably more of that ahead. James is still trying to deal with being gay, something not everyone in the family thinks is all good. Anna has never fully recovered from either her marriage to Gino the farmer or the fact she isn’t really George’s daughter.

On the other hand, if social issues are simmering in here, it’s still the ‘50s, the heart of the baby boom. So even though the original two Bligh generations are grown, there’s room for more, and that too introduces some caution and uncertainty into the thinking of a family that otherwise seems positioned to live in isolated luxury forever.

It’s hard not to think, though, that as A Place Called Home gamely pushes its way to the end of the path, the key to the whole thing is the show’s title. As in Downton Abbey, home shapes pretty much everything and everyone around it.

And as in Downton Abbey, we’re eager to see where we will be saying goodbye.

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