You can’t open Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in recent days without catching a mention of “Firefly Lane,” the new Netflix original series that dropped February 3. Based on author Kristin Hannah’s best-selling 2008 novel of the same name, the show follows the decades-long friendship of Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke) and Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl), from the day the two first meet as teens in 1974 through their 40s in the early aughts. The unlikely BFFs are perfect foils to each other – the outgoing and uninhibited Tully grows up to be a famous newscaster/talk show host, while shy good girl Kate lives much in her shadow. Sound familiar? It should. The storyline is very “Beaches”-esque.
Largely panned by critics (USA Today calls it a “sappy, soapy mess,” while The Hollywood Reporter deems it “overloaded with saccharin and cheese”), “Firefly Lane” is proving popular with audiences, securing the streaming giant’s no. 1 spot its first week of release. Helmed by showrunner Maggie Friedman of “Eastwick” and “Witches of East End” fame, the series is largely predictable, certainly clichéd and at times dragging, but it’s also a fun romp through the decades, inarguably fun to look at and its soundtrack is perfection. It is also surprisingly addicting. As Allison Shoemaker of RogerEbert.com says, “Full of contradictions, structured with all the soundness of a Jenga tower but anchored by two good (one of them very, very good) performances, it’s the kind of series made for Netflix’s autoplay feature. Watch one episode, roll your eyes, grimace, and settle in for another; emerge 10 hours later, blinking and baffled into the light of a new day.” It’s a valid description – I found myself binging all ten episodes of season one in two nights.