We're back on Apple TV+ this week, checking out one of Apple's new TV shows: Home Before Dark.
As always you can check out the previous post in our Moustache Lockdown Streaming Survival Guide by clicking here.
Ever since her Dad took her into the newsroom where he works, nine year old Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) has been fascinated with journalism. So fascinated in fact, that she started her own newspaper - The Magic Hour Chronicle. But when Matthew Lisko (Jim Sturgess) - Hilde's Father - loses his job, the family is forced to move to Matthew's home town of Erie Harbor, a place he hasn't been back to in many years. There, a chance encounter leads Hilde to look into a thirty year cold case, one that involved the murder of a teenage boy and tore the town apart. Could that be the reason why Hilde's Dad left and never came back?
I will admit that when my fiancé and I were checking out the new content available on Apple TV+ (we had just finished watching the available episodes of Defending Jacob, unaware that episodes were being released weekly) "Home Before Dark" didn't exactly grab me. But the missus wanted to give it a go, so I put it on. That feeling of dis-interest I had very quickly disappeared - I think it lasted all of 60 seconds before I was hooked. Creators Dana Fox (Writer/Producer on Daredevil) and Dara Resnik (Producer/Co-Writer - How To Be Single) have absolutely nailed the tone. Home Before Dark is perfect family viewing, mature enough to grab the attention of the adults, but not so much that it's inappropriate for the children. Think Stranger Things, without the science-fiction, bad language and gore.
Based on a true story, the real Hilde has been running her own paper - Orange Street News - since 2014. In 2016 she even reported on a murder, apparently scooping her competitors by several hours. That love for journalism has been captured flawlessly by Brooklynn Prince, who delivers a delightful performance as Hilde. What makes her so compelling as a protagonist however, isn't simply her passion, or her dedication to chasing a story, it's the fact that the character is believable as a little girl. Some younger characters can come across like an adult in a child's body. With Hilde, the writers haven't forgotten that she's a child. She doesn't know everything yet, and she approaches everything like a nine year old would, and unsurprisingly she makes some mistakes along the way. Watching her grow and learn - as both a person and a journalist - is very engaging... not to mention fun.
Not long after arriving in town, Hilde is exposed to this mystery that has corrupted Erie Harbor for decades. Naturally her inquisitive nature won't allow her to let this go, not only because it's the biggest story of her life, but also because it's part of her Dad's story. In fact, it's interesting to see how this one event - and its legacy - has affected many of the town's residents, and in different ways. There are some fantastic performances throughout, including those from the many child actors involved. The struggles that these characters endure are - for the most part - very relatable, especially those of the Lisko family who face isolation thanks to some of Hilde's actions. Although, given how often those young children go running around completely unsupervised, I have to question some of the parenting techniques.
The audience is immersed in this mystery along with Hilde, and you'll undoubtedly have as many questions as she does. Home Before Dark is one of those shows that's as fun to discuss as it is to watch, the gripping mystery at its centre only begs more questions with every snippet of information that's revealed.
Both a gripping mystery and an engaging family drama, Home Before Dark is quite literally fun for the whole family. It may be a while - especially in the current climate - but I can't wait for season 2!
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