When I first read the name “Firefly Lane” as I scrolled through my Netflix account, I thought it was bound to be some childish fantasy about fairies and unicorns, but at the recommendation of a friend I decided to give it a shot.
Starring Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke, “Firefly Lane” resulted in a full day of binge-watching all 10 episodes. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. The show, which premiered last month, tells the story of two best friends, Kate Mularkey (Chalke) and Tully Hart (Heigl) as they navigate their way through 30 years of friendship.
Perhaps it is the editing of the show that makes it so difficult to peel away from. Just about every other scene is either a flashback to when Kate and Tully were 14 years old, in their early twenties or present-day of 2003, where they are in their early forties. Spanning from the early 1970s to the early 2000s, the two friends deal with teenage family drama, attend college, work at a news station and ultimately stick with one another through thick and thin. This also entails fame, loneliness and falling in and out of love.
Aside from the easily relatable storyline for anyone who has known their best friend for a long period of time, the actresses are so believable as their respective characters that now I find it hard to imagine them any other way. I suppose it was Heigl’s experience with playing a successful journalist in films such as “Knocked Up” and “The Ugly Truth” that make her seem like such a natural. Either way, she completely embodies her character as a famous, lonely, broken yet confident talk show host, while Chalke expresses the hesitant, nerdy, hopeless romantic antithesis of her best friend.
The way in which the flashbacks were filmed is eye-catching. With Heigl and Chalke playing their characters in both their early twenties and their early forties, it is not too often that actors and actresses can easily pull off playing the same character with a 20-year age difference. However, they do it flawlessly.
During their younger years, Ali Skovbye plays a teenage Tully while Roan Curtis plays a teenage Kate. The two young actresses fully mirror their older counterparts, making exact facial expressions, movements and, not to mention, they look a lot alike. It is remarkable how spot on the four women are in keeping the time jumps as authentic as possible.
The character development is also one to be noted. Tully, an angry, easily embarrassed and subtlety optimistic teenager turns into a confident go-getter, where her teenage tendencies come out only in vulnerable moments.
On the other hand, Kate has always been more on the meek side, even through adulthood, using pushes from her best friend to be bold and the best person she can be even if it results in humiliating herself from time to time.
Ben Lawson plays Johnny Ryan, a secondary character who is the one external bit of consistency from the duo’s early twenties on. A war correspondent and coworker at the news station, he ends up more involved in their lives than you may think upon his first appearance.
Johnny is the juxtaposition to the best friendship. He learns early on that if you marry the girl, in a way you also marry her best friend. However, it was a logical choice to include his character as a crutch to vouch for Kate and Tully’s friendship.
By the end of the season, I was so emotionally invested that I felt like I was the third best friend. When they fought, I was sad. When they showed up for one another, I was happy, and when the season ended on such a cliffhanger, you better believe I was angry.
It has been so long since I’ve seen a cliffhanger ending that I was upset, yet pleasantly surprised. It means there’s more of a chance for a second season, and hopefully one that answers a lot of questions that remained unanswered.
“Firefly Lane” falls nothing short of relatable, humorous, heartbreaking and inspiring. Viewers can easily find a sense of comfort in watching the onscreen characters go through the motions of life and throughout all obstacles, still remain true to their day-one friends. Of course, with the exception of the cliffhanger.
So I say buy pints of ice cream, get cozy and binge-watch this new Netflix drama with your best friend. You won’t regret it.