Firefly Lane centres around two friends who have known each other since they were teenagers.
Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl) is a huge TV star, presenting The Girlfriend Hour, pushing out any tired old junk that would grace the same screens as Jeremy Kyle and Jerry Springer, but which gets her huge ratings despite being creatively bankrupt. As she exclaims, “I used to be a journalist(!)”
As such, she’s poles apart from Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke), a struggling single mother, who’s going through a divorce, which has a knock-on effect on her daughter, Marah (Yael Yurman), causing her to have gone from being a model student to one playing truant.
While the ‘present day’ is 2003, the jumping about in time factor that follows – whilst not specifying which time period we’re in, would give The Serpent a run for its money(!) Come on, guys, give us dates onscreen when you do this!
Anyhoo, the first flashback goes back to June 20th 1970, where Tully’s hippy mother, Cloud (Beau Garrett), who goes on protests to stop the Vietnam war, wants to take her young daughter away from her grandmother to come and live with her. Before too long, it doesn’t quite go to plan, so she’s back where she started. Four years later – albeit looking about ten years older – while she’s in high school, her mum forces her to go through it again, but moving into a house on the titular lane, instead.
In 2003, Kate’s going for a job interview, for her first position since giving up her career 14 years ago to raise Marah. Cue another flashback, to 1982, when Kate’s doing the exact same thing, but for working alongside Tully in news journalism, and is hired by future husband Johnny Ryan (Ben Lawson), at a time when it’s quite hilarious to see both Tully and Kate with Charlie’s Angels-style hair-dos.
As an aside, Kate’s 2003 interview reminded me of my own flashback, to 1983 when history teacher Mrs Maher asked us to create a ‘front page’ for our folders, entitled “What is history?” I drew a huge question mark with all sorts of colours, but… like Kate with her CV, I folded my page many times over, so it fitted in my coat pocket. Big mistake… Mrs Maher took one look at it and moaned, “What is this?!”
Anyhoo, between the pair, Tully is over-confident, while Kate is always a bit ditzy and putting herself down. However, both want some of what each other has. Kate wishes she had the money and popularity of Tully’s. Conversely, Tully is childless, alone and getting by on one-night-stands, while Kate is after a date with Travis, her PTA crush.
When I first heard about Firefly Lane, the trailer made me think this was going to be a load of syrupy sweet nonsense which would have nothing to offer for the male viewer, but then sometimes, initial impressions can be deceiving. I soon got drawn into the relationship between the two women, as well as the relationships between a lot of the characters because some great attention has been paid to the writing, giving us some quirky and engaging characters.
There’s additional tangles between the pair which could drive a wedge between then, and come across as a bit too soap opera-like, but there’s enough in this first episode to keep me hooked, so I will check out more. I just hope it maintains what it’s already built up.
Firefly Lane is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from Wednesay February 3rd 2021.
Episode 1 Score: 7.5/10
Series Directors: Peter O’Fallon, Vanessa Parise, Lee Rose, Anne Wheeler
Producers: Aaron Au, Kristin Hannah
Writers: Maggie Friedman, Savannah Dooley, James R Ford Jr
Music: Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin
Kate Mularkey: Sarah Chalke
Tully Hart: Katherine Heigl
Cloud: Beau Garrett
Young Kate: Roan Curtis
Johnny Ryan: Ben Lawson
Young Tully: Ali Skovbye
Marah Mularkey: Yael Yurman
Max Brody: Jon-Michael Ecker
Bud Mularkey: Paul McGillion
Margie Mularkey: Chelah Horsdal
Mutt: Brendan Taylor
Travis: Brandon Jay McLaren
Young Sean: Quinn Lord
Sean: Jason McKinnon
Young Robbie: Synto D Misati
Kimber Watts: Jenna Rosenow
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.