Image courtesy of TVLine.com
By Kat Kaderabek
The world of filmography has been slowly expanding to incorporate new creative gestures that implicitly tell a storyline rather than through the actions of the characters. Netflix’s Firefly Lane is such an example of this. Beautifully and creatively shot, Firefly Lane follows four timelines simultaneously surrounding two inseparable friends, Kate Mularkey and Tully Heart.
Keeping up with four different timelines should be tricky; however, Firefly Lane is easy to follow along due to the implicit cues from the lighting, costuming, setting, and music. The four timelines take place in the 1970s, 80s, 2003, and 2005, and they alternate between themselves every five to 15 minutes. In other words, you are rarely ever stuck in one decade. Like a puzzle piece, the story begins to click together the more viewers watch and provides a key aspect as to what keeps viewers intrigued.
The transitioning between timelines is magnificent and unique, with one piece of the story always carrying over into the present or past. The audience is able to see Tully and Kate grow from Firefly Lane girls, to career-driven young adults, to grown women with problems and triumphs. This aspect is done flawlessly due to the beautiful transitions by the director, Maggie Friedman.
There is something to be said about the continuity between the older and younger versions of Tully and Kate. Their younger actresses do a fantastic job portraying the spunky older women as adolescents, incorporating their mannerisms and inflections in every scene. It is easy to follow the story of Tully and Kate from beginning, middle, and to the inevitable end even through different actresses.
The CGI enhancement used on Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke in the portrayal of their newly graduated college-age selves is remarkable and also assists in the determining of timelines throughout the complex narrative.
Even with all these directorial manipulations, the story’s beauty also speaks for itself. Based on the novel by Kristin Hannah, Tully and Kate’s story is truly one that has it all: drama, intrigue, betrayal, and romance. It feels incredibly real and the complexities two life-long friends share are evident within the show. The content of the show also addresses a variety of social issues including sexual assault in personal lives and the workplace, dating in the modern age, miscarriage, divorce, parenting, and heartbreak. There is almost an overwhelming variety of issues the show tackles, but when it is put into the context of Tully and Kate’s entire lives, it seems believable.
Much of the plot is rather predictable, yet still enjoyable to encounter. There are so many unknowns within the story that viewers cannot help but shout out their predictions as to who is behind the door, whose funeral it is, or even who dies in the end. These variables often end predictably, but provide an interaction between characters and viewers when they watch the show. It is important to note that there are several very intimate scenes that can cause second-hand embarrassment to the audience, particularly dealing with the awkward and quirky, Kate Mularkey.
While Firefly Lane is listed as a drama, it has little to do with romance. Instead, the friendship between Kate and Tully is at the forefront of the plot and romance takes a back seat to the duo’s dramatics. Even the birth of Kate’s first child centers around the friendship between the two rather than Kate’s relationship with Australian producer Johnny Ryan.
Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke make a wonderful pair of friends and bring an endearing friendship to life in their on-screen roles. They keep the show dynamic and dramatic, two aspects that have made Firefly Lane rise to success. Their witty banter and inside jokes speak to a lifelong friendship on-screen that is sure to transfer off-camera as well.
However, much remains to be seen from our Firefly Lane girls. The ten-episode series does not end in happily-ever-after. Rather, it leaves the audience wondering what exactly happened between the two fated-friends. How can a friendship so strong it feels like soulmates end so drastically? This cliffhanger is hopefully the show’s attempt to garner a second season to finish Tully and Kate’s epic friendship. Beautifully shot and remarkable to watch, Firefly Lane is the perfect show to binge with roommates and best friends because of its message. No matter what, there are people who are meant to be in each others’ lives through the good times and the bad. Like fireflies, there is always at least one person to be a light in the dark.