Unlike Kate, Tully would lie – she really is a slow-smiling type of “family” at heart. But she would also be right. This writer, on the other hand, would ask to add an adjective. “Firefly Lane”, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Kristin Hannah, is bullshit. But that’s watchable bullshit. In fact, if I may add another word, this is eminently observable bullshit. Full of contradictions, structured with all the solidity of a Jenga tower but anchored by two good (including one very, very good) performances, this is the kind of series designed for Netflix’s autoplay function. Watch one episode, roll your eyes, scowl and settle in for another; emerge 10 hours later, blinking and bewildered in the light of a new day.
If this spell happens to you, you will have to thank Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke. The unlikely friendship of Kate (Chalke) and Tully (Heigl) defines the series, from the day Tully and her mother Cloud (Beau Garrett) move in next to Kate and her seemingly perfect and genuinely loving family, to the baffling final moments. . of the season finale. (Teenagers, Kate and Tully are endearingly played by Roan Curtis and Ali Skovbye.) As children, they forge an unshakeable bond, a bond that carries them to college, then to their debut in the television news of the 80s, and through Tully’s rise to a daytime celebrity close to Oprah’s and Kate’s journey through motherhood. Over the decades – brace yourself for a lot of Vaseline on the camera lens as Heigl and Chalke navigate the 1920s – they cherish, nurture, and protect each other; injuries are sustained, but almost always inflicted unintentionally. Their hot producer (Ben Lawson of “Designated Survivor”) can’t keep them apart. The gap between their relative heat levels (we’re supposed to believe Chalke is the mouse, so the glasses) can’t separate them. Tully getting birth control pills for Kate’s 14-year-old daughter (the promising Yael Yurman) without Kate’s knowledge or without her consent cannot separate them.
However, something ends up happening. If you are humming “Wind Beneath My Wings” in your breath right now, you are on to something; the novel garnered not a small number of comparisons to “Beaches,” and the series seems likely to do the same. Still, an equal influence on showrunner Maggie Friedman seems to be NBC’s “This Is Us” – think of it as “This Is Beaches,” and you get a good idea of the show’s appeal. Leaping through decades with surprising and often disorienting frequency, the series unveils its plot in an a-linear fashion meant to engender a sense of mystery, though it never asks a question as powerful as “How is it?” Jack Pearson is dead? ” (“This Is Us” viewers who know the importance of a kitchen appliance in answering this question will understand that this comparison is even more damning than it suggests.)