As a word nerd, I was super excited when Apple announced a TV series based on Hilde Lysiak who runs the Orange Street News. Hilde has been a force in the journalism space for years as a real reporter starting at the age of 7. Home Before Dark is loosely based on her story where a kid news reporter relocates to a small town and begins asking questions nobody wants to answer.
I was enthralled all through the first season and binged it in two days. For Apple TV+, it was a hit for me (this is before Ted Lasso) giving a reason to enjoy what this new service had to offer. Season 2 kicked off in June and I found myself really disappointed. I finished the season last week almost hoping news will break the show will end where it did.
I won't spoil anything, but suffice to say, Home Before Dark suffers from something a lot of shows do these days. There's too many characters. Every single person from season one was back in some fashion. Then the producers went ahead and added some more into the mix. The story felt disjointed with a few side-plots that were thrown in just because they could. To boil it down, the story suffered. On a show that is all about the story, it means more than it should for other series out there.
Brooklyn Prince is great in the role of Hilde. The casting is generally solid. My disappointment is the drop-off from a tight first season with thrilling cliffhangers. Season two had me questioning my commitment nearly every time an episode ended. Only at the end with the final two episodes, did I feel a need to see what happened next. That's a lot of faith in a show who's seasons are only 10 episodes.
We've gotten a lot of great TV this year (The Flight Attendant and The Undoing were excellent). But with fierce competition even from other shows on Apple TV+, I can only hope the writers for Home Before Dark will regroup. They need to find some more of that bottled lightning for a potential season 3. If anyone deserves a story with a high quality of storytelling, it's Hilde Lysiak.