Apple TV+ launched in November of 2019 with a seemingly impressive line-up of shows featuring A-list actors, brilliant filmmakers, and gifted storytellers. Many of the shows that were part of Apple’s initial line-up, which included The Morning Show and See, were highly anticipated but failed to generate the level of buzz that was initially expected. In other words, Apple TV+ failed to live up to the hype that was surrounding its launch.
Now, five months later, Apple TV+ has released its first must-see show. In full transparency, I didn’t know much about Home Before Dark prior to receiving an email to do interviews with the cast and crew. That said, when I saw that Brooklynn Prince and Jim Sturgess were the stars of the show, I immediately agreed to do the interviews and review the show. A few days later, I sat down to watch the first two episodes in order to prep for my interviews. After watching those two episodes, I was hooked.
Home Before Dark was inspired by the life of Hilde Lysiak, who at the age of eight years old, launched her own newspaper in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. The show follows Hilde (Brooklynn Prince) and her family as they move from Brooklyn to the small town called Erie Harbor where her father grew up. As Hilde begins to adjust to her new life and surroundings, she uncovers a series of secrets that will ultimately lead her to discover the real truth behind the disappearance of her father’s childhood best friend, Richie Fife many years ago.
While my passion has always been in covering film, it is hard to ignore how popular television has become over the past decade. Because of this, I have started to devote a portion of my time to covering television, especially binge-able series on streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Apple TV+. Out of all the series that have been released by Apple thus far, Home Before Dark is hands down their best. This show is engaging, entertaining, and proves, once again, why Brooklynn Prince is one of the best child actors working today.
While I was not familiar with Hilde Lysiak prior to watching this show, her story is nothing short of fascinating. As someone who has seen countless shows and films that were inspired by actual events, it was refreshing to see that Hilde’s story was brought to life so perfectly thanks to strong writing, excellent direction, and a great cast that only gets stronger and stronger in each new episode. There are some changes that were made to Hilde’s actual story but the writers recreate her story that truly captures what makes Hilde’s story so inspiring and compelling.
It is so invigorating to not only see a female-centric mystery series but one told from the perspective of a nine-year-old girl. I loved that the show is empowering to women and, for the most part, the writing gets that message across without beating the viewer over the head with it. That being said, there are a few lines of dialogue that were a bit too “on the nose” but luckily those moments were few and far between. I am happy that the writers believe that those who watch this show will be smart enough to understand its themes and messaging instead of being heavy-handed about it.
While every single cast member has their moment to shine, the show wouldn’t be nearly as effective as it is, if it weren’t for Brooklynn Prince. She truly carries the weight of this entire show on her shoulders. Prince’s performance is so convincing that after a while you actually start to forget that you are watching a little girl. By the fourth or fifth episode, I felt as though I was watching a seasoned journalist who has been working for years.
While there are plenty of secrets that will keep the audience guessing, the relationship between Hilde and her father Matt played by Jim Sturgess is a big part of the show. To my surprise, the father/daughter story arc was equally as rewarding as trying to solve the mystery. Prince and Sturgess have such a great on-screen dynamic. Their relationship seems natural and their performances come across as very genuine. Sturgess, who I always found to be a very underrated actor, seemed to really connect with his character and this story. This is the best performance I’ve seen from Sturgess in a while.
Each episode of Home Before Dark ends on a cliffhanger, so be prepared to click on that watch next episode button. This is definitely the type of show that will suck you in and grab your attention right from the get-go. Each episode runs about an hour and I ended up watching the entire first season in just three days. It was an unexpected surprise that I ended up loving. If you haven’t already checked out Home Before Dark on Apple TV+, I highly recommend moving it up to the top of your streaming queue.
In addition to being able to stream and review the entire first season, I was able invited to participate in a virtual press day for the show. During this event, I got to talk with Brooklynn Prince and Jim Sturgess about the show as well as Dana Fox, Jon M. Chu, Dara Resnik, Joy Gorman Wettels, and Hilde Lysiak. These interviews were broken up into three different sessions which can each be viewed below.
Brooklynn Prince and Jim Sturgess:
Dana Fox and Jon M. Chu:
Dara Resnik, Joy Gorman Wettels, and Hilde Lysiak: