Netflix’s latest series, Firefly Lane, is a charming but over-saturated drama set in middle-class America, exploring the deep tale of a 30-year-old friendship. Adapted from Kristin Hannah’s best-selling novel, the show places the journeys of two women front and centre, focusing on their time growing up, their navigation of relationships and the battle to resolve mutual feelings of inadequacy. However, despite the strong cast and the detailed material from Hannah’s novel, the production struggles to break new ground, feeling more reminiscent of early an 2000s sitcom instead of offering a new experience focused on fully dissecting female companionship.
Tully (Katherine Heigl) is a successful and glamorous talk show host with complex feelings towards family and settling down. On the other hand, Kate (Sarah Chalke) is a newly divorced housewife eager to reclaim the lost years of her career. The series jumps between decades, showing the two best friends meeting in high school, starting their journalistic careers together and even their dramatic midlife crises. As more information about their past is revealed – unresolved trauma and strained relationship dynamics – a setup for a season-long mystery is established. The drama proves to be painfully addictive, leaving viewers demanding closure while giving them only unresolved plot lines, with the promise of a follow-up second series. Each episode ends dramatically, feeling a bit dated but still enjoyable enough to keep viewers hooked.
Despite the programme’s binge-worthy structure and watch cycle, it truly shines when it focuses purely on Tully and Kate. The light-hearted dialogue and chemistry between Heigl and Chalke make the show an overall enduring watch, capturing a realistic depiction of a long-term friendship. Unfortunately, the adaption seems to try to incorporate too much of its source material, resulting in the pair feeling stilted as detailed exposition is chosen over sincere development. With a total of four timelines, a plethora of side characters and three decades all jammed into ten episodes, the structure often feels unfocused and its central selling point (the duo’s bond) drowned out and cliché.
Firefly Lane is full of impressive performances from both Heigl and Chalke, making it easy to become attached to the protagonists, even if they appear thin and predictable at times. Although it’s an enjoyable watch, it ultimately only scratches the surface of the central partnership and their personal lives.
Firefly Lane is released on Netflix on 3rd February 2021.
Watch the trailer for Firefly Lane here: