This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
HOME BEFORE DARK details the efforts of a nine-year-old reporter to get to the bottom of a disappearance and supposed murder that has racked a small town in the state of Washington.
While The Morning Show glamorises mainstream media by supposedly revelling in its foibles, Home Before Dark is a critical series that exposes, though its youthful truth-seeker, the inner workings of a small town ruled by ageing male public officials who conceal and bury the truth.
The intrepid reporter Hilde Lisko, based on an actual pre-teen journalist, is the protagonist. Her passion is investigative journalism and her heroes come from All the President’s Men.
Her single-minded pursuit of the truth gets her to the bottom of a long-buried crime which had resulted in the ostracising of a Native American brother and sister. The former had been falsely convicted of the disappearance of a young boy. The sheriff, the mayor and the sheriff’s son all have secrets around the disappearance which they guard jealously.
On Hilde's investigative team team are two classmates, Asian girl Spoon and African-American boy Donny, with the latter particularly well fleshed out as a world-wise nine-year-old investigative entrepreneur.
Among her other allies are the independent African-American female deputy Trip, the lone truth-seeker in the sheriff’s office, and Hilde’s lawyer mother, who comes to the aid of the jailed Native American Sam.
The villains are equally well drawn — the smug sheriff who constantly covers up his initial rush to judgement, the alcoholic mayor who may have beaten his son, the missing boy Richie and the sheriff’s son, Frank, caught up in the lies of his father which have imprisoned him as well.
What the series does is assemble a group of outsiders who challenge the white patriarchal power structure in the town and succeed. Diversity triumphs, and the enterprise is led by the stunning performance of Brooklyn Prince as the stalwart heroine.
The series tells some truths about what this new generation is facing. It has the structure of the John Hughes teen films of the 1980s, but this is a darker time than back then and the “teens” are nine-year-olds.
They’re exposed to murder, corruption and cover-ups much earlier than in the 1980s, when neoliberalism was just starting to take hold. In these more perilous times, the confluence of greed and corruption is an essential part of what kids must confront in growing up.
Home Before Dark also zooms in on the generational differences when it comes to technology — its focus is on the social media expertise of its pre-teen characters. Hilde’s publication is online while her father’s was printed, and young entrepreneur Donny notes about their foes: “My intel tells me they are smart and savvy,” and Hilde must explain to her peers what in the world microfiche is.
Unlike Netflix’s Stranger Things, the technology gap is seen as something to be overcome in their exposure of the truth, not as mere nostalgia.
The only false note in the series come from Hilde’s father. Jim Sturgess’s constant mumblecore Marlon Brando as Matt Lisko, a relocated Brooklyn slacker, is a solitary piece of ham acting that attempts to suck the wind out of what is an otherwise stunning ensemble cast. His digressions and constant illogical reversals often bring proceedings to a halt.
But this drawback does not succeed in sinking or even deterring the forward motion of the series. Hilde and her expert crew of diverse truth-seekers expose and triumph over the decaying debris of a white male power structure which attempts to hang on at all costs and stands in the way of progressive change.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.