This week, Paramount+ releases its next Australian Original in the form of More Than This.
More Than This tells the story of a group of diverse teens who are on the cusp of adulthood.
The group, who meet during an English class with tutor Mr E (Berta La Bonte), consists of Charlotte (Olivia Deeble) who is dealing with the fallout of her boyfriend Leon (Ellmir Asipi) having cheated on her as well as her chaotic home life. Then there’s non-binary student Jamie (Luka Gracie) who is still trying find their place in the world, which is not made easy due to looking after younger brother Max (Ewen Gorman Debble) as his mum Carline (Eve Morey) works long hours.
Jamie is quickly welcomed into a queer friendship group by Zali (Selena Brincat), but things aren’t easy for Zali as she struggles with pressure from home, a jealous girlfriend, and a troubling coping strategy. And rounding out the group is Alex (Kami Ellis) who is repeating Year 12 and buying weed from uni drop-out Samuel (Josh Heuston) to keep his issues under control. Seeing a lot of himself in Alex, Mr E hope to help him.
More Than This, which is created by Olivia Debble and Luka Gracie and written by Debble, is the first show to be written by teens for teens. The pilot episode introduced all the main characters, with succeeding instalments focusing on a different key character to tell their story.
The writing is sharp and clear, and Debble has written a show that has complex teens facing real issues and themes such as sexuality, drug use and body issues, just to name a few.
It’s compelling, engaging and full of amazing performances from a talented cast and to single out anyone would be difficult.
More Than This is a look at adolescence and also proof that letting the kids of the future create leads to some incredible, bold and edgy stuff that is sure to pay off.
More Than This lands on Paramount+ Friday.