Home Before Dark — Season 1 — Apple TV+ — Okayish mystery drama

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The first time I watched the movie transformers, I was in awe of those huge, talking robots. Not for a second did my mind question, the obvious. How in the world are talking robots…talking? Any sort of entertainment demands to accept the boundaries of fiction. The sooner you do this, the better you will enjoy what is coming for you.

Home Before Dark, for me, pushes the believability of these boundaries. I am from India, so a lot of things that happen in America, are always like, something from another world. It’s not just the movies though. I work as a freelancer tutor, and I get to speak to people in America, and get to fact check these ‘different’ things.

Different, when compared to India.

Like how, in America, windows are large enough for a person to jump out (or jump in). In India, every window has metal bars, so you cannot jump out, nor can you jump in. It’s a matter of safety and I would be scared to sleep in a house where the windows are big enough for a person to enter or leave. In America, and much of the western world, that is simply how houses are built.

Absorbing the Premise

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In the show, under 10 age kids, freely walk about in the middle of the night, into the woods and spend the night in the dark. I mean, this happens, in a town where there is already a documented, missing kid situation. For me, this sounds scary. I am a parent (although, my kids don’t live with me anymore), so I cannot imagine just letting my kids wander around at night, just like that.

Then, an entire town filled with people who dont care about the obvious incompetence of the local police force, and the government. Perhaps, this mirrors real life. I dont know. Perhaps its fiction and it is really not like this. I dont know. For me, watching this show, from India, it feels weird.

The entire premise is built on the assumption that this young girl and her father are the only people who can put two and two together. It took me a while to accept this premise. Even now, I am unable to accept the premise, but I forced myself because everything else about the show is good.

9 Year Old Fearless Protaganist

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I am told that this series is based on a real life child journalist, but I will keep my opinions strictly to the show. It’s an unusual situation. A kid journalist. That’s a cool USP of the show. I remember, when I was kid, there was this movie about a group of children (plus one late age teenager who knows karate!) gang up together to rescue their kidnapped professor after the cops have given up on the case.

This show reminded me a lot of that. But, even when I myself was 10 years old, I knew that it would be impossible for these group of children to actually do the things they did in the movie. Perhaps, that explains, my difficulty in accepting the premise for the show, now, when I am 37.

Anyway, child journalist, who is persistent, smart, fearless. Just like her father and her mother. We have a ton of movies about fearless families going after the corrupt government. It’s fairly common really. The actress who plays her is really good, natural and sells the movie really well. The others are also good, but the main character is what really makes this show watchable.

I watched till the end. I am gearing up to watch Season Two after publishing this.

Lame Mystery

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I am looking forward to Season Two, but, the core mystery is just lame.

Spoiler Alert!

Kid goes missing. Corrupt police have a ton of leads, but close the case by finding a convenient solution. One kid keeps investigating (the dad character). Now, 30 years later, new kid, our protagonist, uncovers those ‘ton of leads’ which are there for anyone to find, and solves the mystery.

I look at the clue thread, and it goes like this.

  1. Video Tape
  2. Find (Incorrect Evidence) Van
  3. Find Clothes
  4. Find DNA
  5. Find Culprit
  6. Find Van (Original Crime Van), Again.

It should have been like, 3 or 4 episodes, max. Of course, the showrunners have a 10 episode order, so they have to put filler episodes. The sister’s romance that goes nowhere. The wrongfully convicted man focus episode. The new cop who is just as bad as his old dad cop. Parents falling apart drama. Friendships falling apart drama. Anti-bullying related drama. ‘Being Different Equals Isolation from Society’ drama.

This is becoming like a staple of Apple TV+ shows. They have to focus on all these ‘opressed’ sections of society. I am from India, and I was born in a lower caste section of the society, and we were dirt poor. Poor like, cannot even afford to pay rent and food poor. Of course, we have come up in the life in the last decade, but we were poor for majority of our lives. I have experienced my share of bullying, oppression, stigma and so on.

Apple TV+ shows keep shoving these things, without working hard enough to integrate it into the main storyline. It’s sort of like Far Cry 5 which had both female and male protagonist. Unfortunately, Ubisoft, did not work hard enough, so they made the protagonist mute, because writing dialogues for both male and female and recording voices was too much of effort.

Ubisoft wanted to have their cake and eat it too.

Apple TV+ is doing the same thing. I was bullied in high school, and I come from the lower section of society, like the bottom of it. I liked computers and video games, which, even today, is enough to keep me isolated from the rest of the society. I went home crying many times. Eventually, I got the courage and fought back. Got my life back. So, yes, thank you for showing these things, but you have to do it so its part of the narrative. You are bringing down the pacing of the entire show.

Final Note

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As I write this conclusion (and gearing up for the second season, which is live already), the main challenge is still, accepting the premise. A town full of adults who are simply incompetent except for one small family. Perhaps the marketing should emphasise that, this is a family drama with a mystery. Or perhaps, it is my fault.

Fortunately, now, at least, I know that this is a family drama first, mystery second. If you can go into this thinking like this, it should be a much better watch.

I work as a full time freelance coding tutor. Hire me at UpWork or Fiverr. My personal website is here

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an online publication about tech, training, rants and romance. updates every wednesday.

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Jay

Jay

Freelance Tutor — Coding, Generative Art and Photoshop. Full Name : Vijayasimha BR

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