Three decades, two girls and one unbreakable bond.
In the new Netflix series Firefly Lane, besties Tully and Kate teach us that friendship can be found in the most unexpected places and friends truly can become family. The duo exemplifies the importance of appreciating true friendship if you're lucky enough to find it.
An unbreakable bond
The series, which released Feb. 3 on Netflix, was created by Maggie Friedman. An adaptation of Kristin Hannah's 2008 novel of the same title, Firefly Lane follows two mismatched best friends, Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl) and Kate Mularkey (Sarah Chalke), as they help each other navigate thirty years of life and friendship. Their lives took different directions as Tully focused on her career and Kate her family. Even so, the two are tethered by an unbreakable bond they made as 14-year-olds who lived across the street from each other on Firefly Lane.
Tully is like a firecracker with her headstrong attitude — fueled by the pain of growing up with an absent mother. Because of this, Tully lived with her grandmother until her mother, Cloud, reenters Tully's life to reclaim her when she is a young teen, and they move to Firefly Lane. Little did Tully know, that little lane would gift her with the only person who truly understands her.
Smart, sweet-tempered Kate does her best to selflessly take care of those around her. She’s awkward, quirky and always has her nose buried in "The Lord of the Rings." At first, Kate was intimidated by the beautiful, popular Tully who seemed to have everything together. But hidden beneath her confident attitude, all Tully really needed was a loyal friend — someone sweet like Kate. Kate’s kindness and conventional family environment became a safe haven for Tully.
Differences from the novel
While Tully and Kate’s tale is told chronologically in the book, the show jumps between timelines. Hair and fashion choices help guide viewers through the girls’ teenage and college years in the '70s, the start of their journalism careers in the '80s and navigating relationships, family and heartbreak from the '90s to early 2000s.
Season one of Firefly Lane does not span the entirety of Hannah’s book. Many scenes are missing from Tully and Kate’s time as teens and college students, and important plot points have not been explored. Although these heartfelt scenes and characters from the book haven't been shown on screen yet, they may be in store for future seasons. On the other hand, quite a few elements were added to the show that don't exist in the book, like new love interests and conflicts.
Hannah fans might initially be taken back by all of the changes in the adaptation. I adored Hannah’s original book, but it was still enjoyable to see Tully and Kate's story played on screen even with these adaptations. Heigl and Chalke bring their characters to life; their chemistry is captivating as the viewer is pulled into the beautiful, heartbreaking story. I hope that Netflix renews Firefly Lane for a second season as there is still an abundance of Tully and Kate wisdom from the book that Netflix should share with the world.
If you want more
Firefly Lane is not the only Hannah adaptation coming to us this year. Hannah’s 2015 historical fiction novel, "The Nightingale," is being adapted into a movie, which is set to release Dec. 22, 2021. The World War II novel features two sisters, Vianne (Dakota Fanning) and Isabelle (Elle Fanning), as they face differing obstacles from the war.
Similar to Firefly Lane, Hannah’s other books showcase empowered women taking control of their lives. Hannah released a new historical fiction novel titled "The Four Winds" on Feb. 2. Set in 1934 Texas during the Great Depression, Elsa Martinelli must make a tough choice: stay in Texas, where her family’s livelihood is threatened by a drought, or go out west to find a better life.
So, grab a cup of coffee, snuggle up on the couch and enjoy some of Hannah’s beautiful stories. Maybe it’ll inspire you to give your old best friend a call, or maybe you’ll make a life changing decision. Either way, Hannah’s stories will leave you inspired.