Parents' Guide to

Home Before Dark

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Kid lead is fabulous in intense mystery for tweens and up.

TV Apple TV+ Drama 2020
Home Before Dark Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 13 parent reviews

age 10+

Awesome for my 12 and 15yo

I'm annoyed with professional reviewers who give this series a poor review because they don't know how to categorize it. Yeah, it doesn't seem like it's *quite* for adults alone because it has a child lead and because it avoids sex and gore. And it's darker and way less cheesy than standard "family programming," of which my kids have mostly grown out of. (We tried a different kids' series last night that has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and found it unwatchable... just too cheesy and condescending for my 12 and 15yo). Home Before Dark refuses to talk down to its audience, offering complex characters, good acting, a twisty plot, and an awesome soundtrack. We all loved it, and as a parent I'd love to see more programming like this.
age 10+

Excellent show, content gets more mature as season progresses

I agree with all of the other reviews of this show, that it's a fantastic whole-family watch for families with kids 10+. The characters are fantastic, the message of overcoming is a strong one, and the plot isn't entirely predictable. That said, we have watched six episodes so far and the content gets progressively more mature. Cussing is much more frequent now (but always emotionally relevant and never overdone). Episode 6 has rebellious teens doing rebellious things (smoking and trying to be cool) in a school bathroom, another main character outlines and we see his irresponsible use of marijuana, and the episode has a seance. We skipped the seance bit with the kids, but I watched it later and it was innocent enough; one is trying to summon a dead person while others aren't convinced that it's even real at all. The messages of empowerment are fantastic, though, and create room for some great family discussions about the content.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (13 ):
Kids say (8 ):

Brooklynn Prince is sensational as a budding young reporter who boasts a vibe somewhere between Veronica Mars and Nancy Drew, except much littler. In an era when the reputation of the press has fallen precipitously -- a shift obliquely and neatly summarized with a clip from All the President's Men that Hilde recites from memory -- Hilde is a proud crusading journalist, advised by her reporter father to seek out and tell the truth. And there's real magic in the scenes in which Hilde sneaks determinedly around gathering facts before retreating to her computer in her living room, typing out copy while the camera pans down to show us that this tough, implacable reporter has legs so short her feet dangle when she sits at an office chair. Surely with such a girl on the job, citizens could rest a little easier knowing she's rooting out trouble.

Not everything about this drama is as good as Prince. The show's central mystery is a little undercooked; there's some wheel spinning, often in the form of flashbacks that inform us, over and over again, that Something Bad drove Hilde's dad from his picturesque hometown. And many viewers may wonder why Home Before Dark's parents seem unconcerned that their grade-school kids are out investigating crimes after bedtime on a school night (though if these kids were locked up like actual ones, they'd probably never get anywhere with their sleuthing). Finally, for a show with a 9-year-old protagonist, storylines about murder, complete with spooky music and dark visuals, may be a little too creepy for viewers the same age as Hilde. But with her furrowed brow and intense gaze, Prince is so very, very good in the central role that many will be tempted to come along for the ride anyway. "I'm a reporter!" she tells her dad during an argument. "You're a fourth grader!" he says back. Both are true, and the trick of this neat show is that it makes you believe it.

TV Details

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