I am not the intended target demographic for a show exploring female friendship, personal growing pains and smashing the patriarchy so when I sat down to consume Maggie Freeman’s adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane, I expected to be confronted with a barrage of tedious cliché and painstakingly underwhelming characters. I was actually pleasantly surprised.
That’s not to say that for quality it will rank anywhere near the top echelons of Netflix produced shows but I have to admit for what it is, the whole thing is very well put together.
Set in 2003, an age when the internet was in its ascendency, politics had a veneer of civility and fake news was in the distant future, the narrative is split across three decades and documents the teenage blossoming friendship of Tully – a beautiful, charming and intelligent young lady who is let down severely by the adults in her life and Kate- a shy, overparented bookworm who is eager for freedom. The basic jist of the story centres around each girl wanting the other’s life and the seemingly never ending quest to achieve balance, stability and respect from their friends and colleagues.
Each episode blends the three timelines; playing Tully and Kate in their teenage years are relative newcomers Ali Skovbye and Roan Curtis who are tasked with exploring the complicated navigation of adolescence and the social challenges it presents. They do a good enough job to suggest that they will never be out of work and in particular Skovbye stands out when tasked with being the mature-beyond-her-years high schooler who thinks she knows how to get what she wants in life.
Katherine Heigl is the true star of the show playing adult Tully, a self made, successful millionaire TV chat show host who is written in the mould of Ellen DeGeneres (minus the bullying accusations). As viewers explore her ascent to fame, her loyalty and admiration for her best friend Kate (played as an adult by Sarah Chalke) remains and despite a complicated ecosystem of strange bedfellows, ex boyfriends and motherhood, the charm of their companionship shines through via the yin/yang composition of their relationship.
Although male influence on their life plays a big part in this tale, it is refreshing to see that the ladies don’t need a knight in shining armour to “complete” them. Their reliance on each other is a good lesson for any Mothers, Daughters or Sisters out there that there is more to life than falling in love, having children and “keeping the home!”
I’m not qualified to comment on whether this is one of the best “chick lit” adaptations however, I was able to sit through it without being completely bored. I might be tempted by a second season though I’m not sure where they can take the story without it becoming dull.
Viewed: February 2021