Firefly Lane makes the heart fonder with each episode and marks the importance of genuine, raw friendship.
This review of Netflix’s Firefly Lane season 1 contains no spoilers. The drama will be released on the streaming service on February 3, 2021.
Netflix love their soapy dramas — treating audiences to Virgin River and Sweet Magnolias, we now have another best-seller adaptation on a direct-to-binge basis — Firefly Lane. The Netflix series has managed to bring in some noticeable stars, with Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke taking the reigns of the two leading female characters.
These series are always based on whimsical romances and ideals; and it’s important to note, from a critical perspective, that these stories are designed to hit certain beats for their trusted target audience. And with that, Firefly Lane can only be analyzed for its purpose; to provide a soapy drama about two BFFs who experience the trials and tribulations through the decades. It needs to have cheese; it needs to feel Hallmark; it needs to make you smile; it needs to make you shout at the screen when a character makes the wrong choice. If you are not gossiping with your friend after watching a series like this, it has failed. The characters need to sell it.
And that’s exactly what Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke do. Playing Tully and Kate, respectively, both women bring a charming friendship that is not perfect but has an eternal essence running through it. The series oozes with history, hinting at character pitfalls from the first episode, and how it has impacted them in later life. The beauty of the characters is that they are not firmly set in life; despite amusing themselves in their 40s, they are discovering life’s problems as if they were in their 20s and doing so with calamities and confidence. Tully and Kate charm the socks off the viewers.
And maybe it’s the way both women have been set up to be opposites. Presumably, that’s how the characters have been described in the best-selling fiction. Tully thrives on being confident, off-cuff, and sexy, while Kate is a little kooky, sensible and inhibits her desires from within. This imbalance is the main selling point of the series.
Netflix’s Firefly Lane works across decades — between the 70s (as teens), the 80s, and 2003 for the majority of the story. It has a habit of flitting the story across different years, to match up specific themes, and similar moments that have impacted Tully and Kate’s life. Criticism can be aimed at how this is handled; it’s certainly an interesting approach traveling across timelines constantly. However, it usually serves a point; sometimes heartwarming, but other times a tragic consequence. It’s certainly not perfect, and you’d hope in the second season that it calms down on the flipping of decades.
The creators also had to deal with age gaps in Firefly Lane season 1. While the lead characters’ 70s version is handled by teen actors, from the 80s onwards the editing team enjoyed using a filter to make the characters look younger. Yes, that’s absolutely right; it’s uncannily like the filter you see on social media apps, but in video form. For some reason, while I raised my eyebrows at this technique, it did add to the soapy cheese.
Firefly Lane is about heartbreaks, family, marriage, pregnancy, career choices, sex, and love — but wedged between all those themes is an undying, unrivaled, and wholesome friendship that goes beyond just being there for someone; it transverses to a level of being soulmates. Firefly Lane makes the heart fonder with each episode and marks the importance of genuine, raw friendship.