Firefly Lane is one of Netflix’s most buzzed-about February shows for a few reasons.
It marks Katherine Heigl’s return to the small-screen (if you’ve been waiting for that), it’s an adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s best-selling novel, and it details the ebbs and flows of a three-decade-long friendship, which, you have to admit, is an exceptional feat in and of itself.
What the series does have working for it is that it’s relatable; Tully and Kat, the two besties who are a bit way too dependent on each other, experience life events that we can all relate back to our own lives in some shape, way, or form.
What it doesn’t have going for it? It’s not refreshing. There’s nothing here we haven’t seen before; no storyline we haven’t crossed paths with before.
But the latter isn’t necessarily that big of an issue when you have the aspect of sentimentality drawing audiences in and carrying the narrative forward.
You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel to produce an interesting and entertaining series. Sometimes, you just have to find the right way to reframe it, retell it, and the right characters to sell the story. Kate and Tully are those characters.
Even if the plots have been done before, there’s never a point when you want to look away or find yourself disinterested; they keep your attention because, by the end of episode 1, you find yourself rooting for these women that are just trying to make their dent on the world in any way they can.
Their problems hit you square in the face, and how they deal with them and rise above them is what sets the series apart from others.
The predictable nature of the twists means that you can also watch passively; it’s the perfect escape as you sit back and get lost mindlessly in a TV show.
Tully Hull is an impulsive, self-destructive, motivated, sexy firecracker who demands to be taken seriously. She carries the pain of her past like a badge of honor while simultaneously letting it control her life for all too long.
Kate Mularkey is more timid, by-the-book, and put together, who always finds herself living in someone else’s shadow instead of acknowledging all of her accomplishments.
Kate and Tully meet in the 1970s in eight-grade, continue their journey in a very 80s TV station, and remain friends into 2003 a.k.a “the grown-up years” as they navigate their 40s. If you remember talking with your eight grade best friend about your dreams and visions for the future, well, it’s kind of like watching that pan out on screen.
The story unravels in a series of timelines, which tend to feel a bit convoluted and only sometimes make thematic sense. It’s supposed to set the tone for each episode, but aside from some stellar transitions — high school dance to present-day dance — the tone seems to get lost. It’s almost as if the editors struggled to string cohesive moments together, and for that reason, you often feel as though you’ve missed something major connecting each timeline or storyline. I got halfway through the season and still couldn’t figure out what exactly led to Kate’s divorce; it wasn’t fleshed out or given all that much attention, and if you wanted to keep enjoying the series, you’d do better to just overlook the flaw.
Though the editing tricks are meant to set the series apart from other shows and deliver the emotional punches, more often than not, they’re just a sloppy disadvantage that make the storyline harder to follow.
While much of the buzz is on Heigl and her grounded counterpart, Sarah Chalke, I’d say that I was more impressed with how Ali Skovbye and Roan Curtis, who play the younger versions of Tully and Kate, respectively, stole the show. They never miss a mark, especially with Skovbye selling much of the show’s deeply unnerving and heartbreaking material that allows us to understand the Tully of the future.
If you’re looking for a drama about friendship that isn’t groundbreaking, you’ll likely enjoy Firefly Lane for what it is — easy, breezy with just enough heart to make you believe what it’s selling.
At the very least, it’s the perfect way to fill the void left behind by other shows that fit into Netflix’s growing genre of “soapy, rom-com, friendship” dramas like Virgin River and Sweet Magnolias.
Though it’s not set in a small town, there’s a charm about the series that reels you in and hooks you. So, don’t be surprised to find yourself rooting for more seasons by the end because you’ve just made some new best friends and didn’t even realize it!
Firefly Lane premieres on Netflix on February 3.
The 5 Best and the 5 Worst of 2021 TV, So Far
The 5 Best of 2021 TV:
Even with the pandemic shutting down the production of many current shows, 2021 still managed to pull off some darn good TV. Give it up for streaming services that totally blew cable television out of the water.
Here are 5 TV shows you NEED to add to your watchlist.
1. Hacks (HBO Max)
HBO Max’s Hacks deserved every Emmy it received and every Emmy it didn’t receive. The talented Jean Smart stars as Deborah Vance a fading comedian who teams up with canceled comedy writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder). An unlikely pairing eventually finds their connection and their way in this hilarious series.
The show manages to be everything and more even though the concept is pretty basic. So, despite what you might think from the trailer, you won’t be disappointed.
2. Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
It’s been forever since Steve Martin and Martin Short teamed up together to bring quality entertainment. And this time they’ve teamed up with Selena Gomez on Only Murders in the Building! Truly an unusual group, but one that works surprisingly well.
In this comedic mystery, the three come together to create a podcast in which they work to solve a murder in their building. When they dig deeper, stories are unraveled, and trust wavers. Although, the one thing that stays constant is the humor and overabundance of Steve Martin’s dad jokes.
3. Mare of Easttown (HBO Max)
Kate Winslet. Need I say more?
In this murder mystery, Mare is the police officer tasked with solving a murder in her small Pennsylvanian town. The twist at the end will leave you speechless, and reeling in awe. Mare of Easttown has A+ acting and a storyline that will have you coming back for more.
4. Squid Game (Netflix)
You’ll have to put subtitles on for this one unless you speak Korean, but I promise it’s more than worth it. Squid Game received widespread recognition over Tik Tok and is now No. 1 on Netflix’s trending list and potentially its biggest show ever.
It is gory and well-produced. And you’ll want to binge it all at once! A group of people who are in debt fight to stay alive and to win the grand prize of ₩4.5 billion. Who will prevail and who will die?
5. Firefly Lane (Netflix)
This one might be an unpopular opinion since Rotten Tomatoes didn’t like it, but I did. Two best friends Kate and Tully have known each other since high school. Kate has lived in the shadow of Tully their entire friendship but is living the life Tully ultimately wants.
Drama ensues throwing a wrench into their decades-long friendship. Firefly Lane is an easy watch and verges on cheesy, yet it’s entertaining and you’ll be left wanting a season 2 to answer important questions.
The 5 Worst of 2021 TV:
And while there is good TV, there is certainly bad TV. Many of these either had unbearable plots, endings that tanked the entire show, or were downright boring.
Here’s a list of 5 shows you should avoid at all costs.
1. Nine Perfect Strangers (Hulu)
Ouch, even Nicole Kidman couldn’t save this show. Nine Perfect Strangers is based on the book of the same name, but in order to provide a fresh and new perspective, it refrains from repeating the novel’s storyline.
Each episode dragged a bit, and while the characters were interesting and given depth, the plot and resolution failed. And sorry, but Nicole Kidman’s attempt at a Russian accent made everything a bit tacky. In short, it’s about a healing retreat that strives to help a group of visitors heal from their past traumas.
2. Cruel Summer (Freeform)
Initially, this show had great potential. However, its ending completely ruined everything it was doing right. Cruel Summer is a thriller about a young girl who goes missing and the nuances within her abduction.
It plays into some obvious tropes and many of its twists are predictable. Watch at your own risk!
3. Genera(t)ion (HBO Max)
There were some good characters and decent storylines, but altogether this show just didn’t work. A majority of the characters were unlikable and it tried too hard to push the boundaries.
Genera(+)ion brings to life a group of high schoolers, some of whom are figuring out their gender and sexual identities. It attempts to dig deeper into the lives and minds of Gen Zers and how the internet affects and shapes their adolescence.
4. Gossip Girl 2021 (HBO Max)
Let’s just say the original Gossip Girl deserved to stay untouched. The Gossip Girl 2021 reboot was terrible and so obviously created by an out-of-touch group of adults that were trying to appeal to Gen Z.
The only thing I can applaud is the diversity within the casting. But other than that, the storyline about teachers creating a troll Instagram account to try and keep their students inline? Implausible and downright ridiculous.
5. Solos (Amazon Prime)
With big names like Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and Constance Wu, you’d think this show would’ve done better. But, Solos goes to show that good actors can’t save bad writing.
Each episode of this seven-part series attempts to provide a groundbreaking meaning behind humanity. Almost like it tried to one-up Black Mirror, but got it all wrong. Since it was shot during COVID it kept every character isolated to one room, which was a cool concept in theory. However, the monologues were dry making the length of each episode excruciating to sit through.
Firefly Lane Season Finale Review – Auld Lang Syne (1×10)
Firefly Lane girls forever might not actually mean forever.
The season finale of the Netflix series Firefly Lane managed to wrap up many loose threads while still leaving the door ajar for a second season with some good old-fashioned cliffhangers.
Kate and Tully’s friendship had plenty of ups-and-downs through the three decades, but no matter what — sleeping with each other’s crushes, lunatic mom’s, keeping secrets — they somehow managed to overcome it all.
So, what led to their fallout?
On Firefly Lane Season 1 Episode 10, we finally find out that the funeral is for Bud, Kate’s father, which is kind of a letdown. After all the hype and speculation that it could’ve been Tully’s, Sean’s, or even Johnny’s, they give us the death of a parent, which is sad, but not exactly shocking.
The bigger shocker is that Kate and Tully are on the outs. In the final scene, Kate tells Tully that she’s not welcome at the funeral, that she will never forgive her for what she did, and that she never wants to see her again.
What could Tully have possibly done to upset and hurt the one person who has always been by her side?
Tully has alienated so many people with her selfish and self-sabotaging behavior.
In the present-day, we see the fallout of Tully and Max’s relationship. She may have been drunk when she told Max she was glad she had a miscarriage and wished she never married him on Firefly Lane Season 1 Episode 9, but you can’t just take something like that back, no matter how hard you try.
Those are hurtful words, but they’re also paired with Tully’s heartful actions, which have pushed Max away numerous times.
As he explains, he’s constantly chasing her. Meanwhile, she never even stops to consider his feelings. And the truth is, she’s not the only one who lost a child and a marriage.
When she suggested a clean slate, the damage had already been done. And I, for one, am glad Max walked away before she could continue walking all over him. He put her first on so many occasions and got hurt because of it. This time, he needed to put himself first.
For the first time, possibly ever, Tully had to face the consequences of her drunk actions and lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her!
Not only did Tully lose her career (and in the flash-forward’s, her best friend), but she also lost her job.
That decision, however, was warranted.
No woman wants to work with a misogynistic asshole like Wilson King. And sadly, even in 2021, there’s still plenty of them running the industry.
King apologized for coming onto Tully and threatening to ruin her career back in the 1980s and said he was a changed man. But telling someone “you’re a family man” holds absolutely no weight. We’ve all seen “family men” who are disgusting pigs and who don’t view women as anything more than an object or a plaything. Some people don’t change, and King is one of those people.
The moment he became the owner of the show, he began bossing Tully around and trying to “mansplain” a woman’s talk show to her.
The final straw? Giving her a teen co-host to attract a male audience. What a surefire way to ruin the integrity of a show that just featured a groundbreaking episode about miscarriage! Of course, a male considered that a “trainwreck” and investors weren’t happy… and that’s showbiz for ya!
Kate and Johnny finally hooked up in the past and in the present, and I loved how the two scenes mirrored each other. I guess you always go back to your one true love, no matter what.
Throughout my reviews of the series, I kept saying I wanted to see the moment that Kate and Johnny owned up to their feelings for each other.
For several episodes, they danced around it, especially Johnny who “didn’t want to ruin the friendship.” Who would have thought that Kate would be the one to make the first move?
In the present day, Kate struggled with figuring out her feelings. One moment she was making out with Travis, the next moment she mistakenly called him Johnny, then she was trying to seduce him by opening the door naked in front of him and his mother (yeah, at least his mom was chill about that), and finally, she jumped back into bed with Johnny.
The latter felt the most authentic. Don’t get me wrong, Travis is a cool guy, and he’s pretty understanding with Kate and all of her awkward antics, but he’s just a filler as she tries to navigate this confusing time in her life.
Sadly, Johnny’s survival is up in the air. After their romantic night together, Kate dropped Johnny off at the airport and he took off to cover the war in Iraq. During one of the missions, he and his team stepped on a landmine. While the series never addressed whether or not Johnny survived (another cliffhanger), it doesn’t bode well considering the call that came in and the fact that he was missing from the funeral scenes in the flash-forward. There’s a slim chance Johnny was already inside of the church, but it’s very likely that he never made it back home from Iraq.
And that’s devastating.
In flashbacks, we saw more of Cloud’s terrible parenting. She’s so destructive that it’s very clear where Tully gets it from.
In one scene, she decides to sell all of Leon’s drugs so that they can pay their electric bill and get food. I was really glad the series finally addressed that they get their money from granny because man, that was a mystery that I couldn’t shake!
Of course, Cloud didn’t realize that she was selling to undercover cops and was arrested while Tully was taken back to live with her grandmother.
In the second scene, Cloud is over at the Mularkey household for some holiday festivities and mentions that she saw Margie in town with another man. This pretty much confirmed that she was having an affair, which led to quite an awkward moment.
But it wasn’t as awkward as when she called out Bud’s company, CONEX, for making bombs that were dropped in Vietnam. Bud called her out for insulting him in the home that he paid for with the money earned at CONEX, and again, it was super awkward.
The episode could’ve done without the scenes, but it did make Cloud’s reunion with the Mularkey family in the future all the more meaningful.
It seems that Tully is really embracing the idea of giving her mother a second chance.
What did you think of the episode? What are your thoughts on the cliffhanger?
Did you enjoy Firefly Lane as a series? Are you clamoring for season 2?
Firefly Lane Review – Birth Day (1×09)
Firefly Lane Season 1 Episode 9, the penultimate episode of the season, picks up with the aftermath of Tully’s miscarriage.
Tully puts on her bravest face and decides to go do her show since it’s the “gifting” episode, which brings in the biggest ratings ever despite not being physically or emotionally recovered.
But that’s Tully — she just keeps trudging on.
It doesn’t seem as though she truly understood how impacted she was by the loss until she stood in front of a studio audience and was triggered by a digital photo frame with photos of a child.
Thankfully, that led to one of the talk show’s most vulnerable moments as she opened up about her experience, an experience so many women can relate to.
The series has done a great job of normalizing so many situations that are considered taboo and shameful for women: periods, having children older in life, and now miscarriage.
It’s estimated that about 1 in 8 women have miscarriages, but though the possibility is very real, women are taught to deal with it in silence and experience feelings of guilt and shame.
By encouraging this conversation on public television, Tully ensured that every woman who has ever gone through it felt heard and seen.
Yes, giving out the latest flip phone that takes photos is great for ratings, but it’s these moments that show Tully just how much power she has to influence the conversation. She can change the narrative; she can make a difference.
Sadly, Tully wasn’t coping so well personally. She may have seemed like she had it all together on television, but behind-the-scenes, she was a mess and regressing to her anti-commitment, anti-attachment mindset.
In my review of Firefly Lane Season 1 Episode 8, I noted that my fear was that Tully romanticized the idea of marrying Max simply because of the baby.
And sadly, their fight at the end proves that to be true.
Tully is coming from a place of hurt, and she’s damn good at knowing just the right thing to push people away.
But she really needs to be careful who she pushes away at this point because it’s not like her circle is getting larger. Max was a good guy who was always there for Tully through the good times and the bad. And the whole time, she treated him like a rag doll. She never considered his feelings when she toyed with his emotions. She was hot, she was cold, and he went along for the ride, but only she thought she had the power to dictate where their relationship went.
At this point, Tully is toxic and adding more pain and trauma to her life on top of what was already there.
Seeing as how she blames Cloud for most of her issues, it seemed inauthentic and unrealistic for her to turn to her mother in that final scene. Sober Cloud seems to be doing much better and may want to make up for lost times, but considering the amount of hatred Tully had for her, it’s unlikely that she would just let her mom in with open arms.
Firefly Lane has also done Kate a huge disservice. Each episode is the “Tully Show.” Maybe that’s done purposefully to see how Tully just sucks up all the air in everyone’s life, but it’s quite frustrating to see Kate jump circles around her for her birthday in every single timeline.
That’s why it was truly nice to see Kate just have a moment to herself and let loose with Travis. Blowing off some steam is exactly what the doctor ordered, and while I’m still holding out hope for a Johnny and Kate reconciliation, Travis and Kate make a cute couple. He’s good for her.
The scene between the three of them was funny. For the first time, Johnny and Travis seemed to get along, but it felt like Johnny was handing over ownership of Kate. I guess that was his way of accepting that there is a new man in her life and he’s no longer “it.”
It was also nice to see them all band together to defend their daughters. You never want to encourage bad behavior like destroying a biology lab, but there is some part of you that’s proud that they are standing up for what they believe in. Sometimes, children have a point, they just don’t go about making their statement the right way.
In this case, having them clean up and sit through class splattered with paint definitely seemed like more of a teachable punishment than suspension or expulsion. Good on the parents for fighting back!
In flashbacks, we saw Tully’s high-school birthday turn into a complete dumpster fire thanks to Cloud. I was surprised she actually remembered about the fancy dinner she suggested, but of course, it wasn’t without a catch. From the moment they sat down, Cloud embarrassed her daughter by singing and then refusing to pay and causing a scene. I actually found myself cringing throughout the whole scene.
Tully found herself back at the same fancy restaurant for a meeting with Wilson King, a big wig at a local news station in Seattle. While it seemed promising and like he was interested in poaching her for his network and making her a star, it also didn’t come without a catch. And this time, it was much worse than being embarrassed by your mom.
I hate how predictable the predator storyline is. The show was doing so well without inserting the “I’ll make you rich and famous if you sleep with me” plotline. When it was revealed that a new distributor bought the show, it was obvious that this would circle back to King, whose advances Tully denied.
I kept thinking that there’s no way King would still have any power over Tully because of the #MeToo movement, but then I remembered the show is set in 2003/2004 before we were exposing all the monsters in Hollywood and the media.
And based on the way King greeted Tully, it seems like he’s still butthurt over his sexual advances being rejected. How typical of men to feel scorned by a woman who doesn’t want to sleep her way to the top but would rather build her career on say, I don’t know, pure talent?!
Will King try to destroy Tully’s career? She’s already in a vulnerable situation with her ratings down and the expose that painted her like a terrible daughter who neglected her mother, which was surprisingly overlooked and not mentioned since. You’d think there would be more fallout from something like that. She didn’t even address it on air or anything.
With King in the ring, do you think Johnny will reconsider taking the job in Iraq?
The series is really trying to hold off on showing us the moment Kate and Johnny got together during the 80s flashback. They had the perfect opportunity as the duo stayed overnight in the editing bay working on a piece, and yet, nothing happened once again. Johnny simply told Kate he wasn’t good enough for her and they decided to remain friends.
Seriously, Johnny, make your move already!
What did you think of the episode? There’s still so much to be wrapped up in the upcoming season finale episode. Does Johnny leave? Whose funeral are they attending? Why did Kate and Tully have a falling out?
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