Review: Firefly Lane ★★★☆☆
Firefly Lane is currently trending as the #2 show on Netflix in Australia. My guess is that might have something to do with Brisbane boy Ben Lawson, who famously wore a Maroons State of Origin jersey in one of the episodes, which means little to the predominately American audience but means everything to a particular subset of Aussies. It also helps that he's a straight up snack.
Critics seem to be in agreement about the show. The writing is pretty abysmal, and the chemistry between Katherine Heigl's Tully Hart and Sarah Chalke's Kate Mularkey keeps the show afloat. While I haven't read the book that the show was based on (but I plan to), an excerpt from chapter one suggests the author doesn't have the struggle with words that the show's writers seem to.
The place was relevant only as a reference point, but she remembered it in vivid detail: a meandering ribbon of asphalt bordered on either side by gullies of murky water and hillsides of shaggy grass. Before they met, that road seemed to go nowhere at all; it was just a country lane named after an insect no one had ever seen in this rugged blue and green corner of the world.
- Firefly Lane (book), by Kristin Hannah
The show was just fine. Seeing a central relationship as a friendship between two women rather than a romantic one would usually make a show for me, but the codependent female friendship is a little overdone at this point. The undertones of rivalry for male attention (even though the very hot but not vey mentally healthy Tully just has no idea of her impact) is a bit tired. I found the lack of diversity lazy for a show released in 2021, and it was not lost on me that the leading lady Tully was created to be close to a white Oprah or a straight Ellen. The show skips between three timelines (the women as teens, young professionals, and in middle age), but they either weren't shown chronologically (within their own timeline), or the sequence of events were just confusing.
Firefly Lane does deal with important issues like drug abuse, neglectful parenting, sexual assault, and miscarriage from the 60s up to the early 2000s, when they weren't talked about nearly as much as they are now. One supporting cast member is gay, and a subplot of the show follows events in his life, from a secret relationship with his 'best friend' in the mid-70s, through a career in the Navy, meeting a man he was in love with, that man passing away (this part wasn't covered in detail), marrying a woman and having a family, to eventually coming out to his wife and getting kicked out of the house.
The main characters work in the media, but the ins and outs of the job are barely covered, something I was disappointed by, expecting another Bombshell-esque production. The time the characters spend at work is centered around love interests and a work nemesis, Carol. There was mention of politically charged stories and war coverage, but it was often pushed aside for the love triangle between the two lead women and Johnny, the afore mentioned Aussie snack.
The fashion is fun (and appropriately cringey) , and the setting of Firefly Lane gave me the feeling of nostalgia despite it being set almost two whole decades before I was born. I will admit I was sucked in by the cliffhangers in the finale, and I do hope there is a season two. Firefly Lane is one of those shows that sucked me in enough to keep watching, but didn't prompt me to insist my friends watch it immediately. It was just fine.