Review: Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane is one of Netflix’s newest series, released on February 3. It was produced by Maggie Friedman, who has worked on shows such as Dawson’s Creek, and stars Katherine Heigl, best known for Grey’s Anatomy and Sarah Chalke who is best known for her role in Scrubs.

It follows the friendship of Tully Hart (Heigl) and Kate Mularkey (Chalke) across ten-episodes of around 50 minutes each and is based on Kristin Hannah’s New York Times bestselling novel. The series begins with a scene featuring Tully as a small child living with her grandmother, however the majority of the story is comprised of their lives in the ‘present’ (2003) as well as flashbacks to their teenage years, where Tully is played by Ali Skovbye and Kate is played by Roan Curtis. We also see flashbacks to their twenties. Ben Lawson plays Johnny Ryan, who eventually marries Kate, but through most of the series acts as their boss and good friend, very present both in their twenties and in 2003.

Image Source: Still via Netflix // YouTube

I was particularly enamoured with the relationship between Johnny and Kate, and would have liked to have seen more, although I suppose the true love story is between Kate and Tully.

I particularly enjoyed the depiction of their friendship. It wasn’t perfect. It was complex and multi-faceted, but so strong and full of love. I also liked how they showed two different paths, whilst Kate chose to become a mother, Tully goes on to be very famous. The show reminds us poignantly how both choices and respective routes are equally valid.

The series touched on many important issues in a powerful way. There were themes of adultery, addiction, divorce and homophobia in a society which didn’t accept people for who they were. I found their approach to depicting miscarriage to be particularly sensitive, it’s not something we often see in TV programmes. Miscarriage is something that affects one in four pregnancies, yet it is very rarely talked about.

Image Source: Still via Netflix // YouTube

Finally, I thought the recurring theme and exploration of consent and sexual harassment was very powerfully portrayed. The consequences of rape, which happens to Tully as a teenager, are movingly shown throughout the various stages of the character’s life. She also faces sexual harassment in the workplace, which makes for very uncomfortable viewing, but like the sensitive portrayal of the effects of her trauma, are very important.

Thinking more practically, as much as I enjoyed Heigl and Chalke as Tully and Kate in their 40s, I didn’t think they were the right people to play them in their twenties. I think it would have been far more authentic and believable, if Skoybye and Curtis had have played them, it would have felt like a more natural progression.

Image Source: Still via Netflix // YouTube

I have always been a fan of TV shows which flashback and forth to the past and the present. I find it fascinating and you understand the characters in a much deeper way, crossing those temporal spaces. In the context of the story, I really enjoyed it, however I think there was issues with the time periods. It felt very staged and unauthentic. This was also the case with 2003. To me, it felt too modern, from their clothes to their houses. It lacked that slight dated, nostalgic feeling, which I think would have been very affective.

The ending was full of enormous cliff hangers and I appreciate they have done this to leave room for another series, however it was frustrating to be left without so many answers. Nevertheless, when another series does come around, I will be sure to give it a watch.

Maggie John

Featured Image Source: Still via Netflix // YouTube

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