7 Shows Like Firefly Lane to Watch After the Netflix Series
Netflix has spent a lot of time and money to corner the market on female-oriented TV shows. The streaming service has an extensive catalog of programs centered on romance and female friendship (often both!), and the latest addition to its ever-expanding library, an adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s novel Firefly Lane starring Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl as two life-long best friends, is yet another successful outing for the streaming service.
Spanning 30 years in the lives of Kate (Chalke) and Tully (Heigl), the 10-episode series follows the duo’s friendship from the early days of high school through to the show’s version of the present day, which is the early 2000s. As the series jumps through time, it reveals how friends become family, highlighting how the women were there for each other through the heartbreaks, the big career milestones, and the personal moments of triumph that measure and define one’s life.
If you like Firefly Lane and you’ve already finished the first season and are anxiously awaiting news of Season 2, we recommend passing the time with these seven shows, which also focus on female friends, complicated but steamy romances, and the complex social dynamics of the workplace.
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce (Netflix)
Few shows better exemplify the messy challenges relationships create than Bravo’s five-season dramedy Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, which stars Lisa Edelstein as Abby McCarthy, a self-help author whose marriage to Jake (Paul Adelstein), a director, is in shambles at the beginning of the series. When the two decide to end their marriage, they find, much like Firefly Lane’s Kate and Johnny (Ben Lawson), that though love and desire may still be present, a successful and satisfying relationship may not be possible. To get herself through the heartache, Abby relies on a group of girlfriends who are similarly divorced—a group that also includes Firefly Lane star Beau Garrett. And while the show tackles the emotional complications of ending a marriage, it ultimately addresses all manner of issues, from co-parenting and friendship to the economics of divorce and domesticity.
Sweet Magnolias (Netflix)
Like Firefly Lane, Netflix’s charming series Sweet Magnolias is focused on women who are lifelong friends and the bonds that keep them together through life’s biggest moments. The series, which is based on a series of novels by Sherryl Woods, stars Joanna Garcia Swisher, Heather Headley, and Brooke Elliott as three best friends living in a Southern small town. The first season (the show has already been renewed for Season 2) follows the trio’s respective romantic exploits, including Maddie’s (Swisher) burgeoning relationship with her son’s baseball coach after her husband’s (Chris Klein) very public affair, but it doesn’t skimp on the family or workplace drama either, with the latter often coming as a result of the women going into business together. It’s a sweet, Hallmark-esque series, so it’s less wild than some of what Kate and Tully (OK, mostly Tully) get up to in Firefly Lane, but there’s plenty of overlap, so you’re bound to find something you like.
Dead to Me (Netflix)
There isn’t much that can come between Kate and Tully, but not all friendships worth talking about are formed in young adulthood. Some of them are the result of dire circumstances, like when one woman hits another woman’s husband with her car, leaves him for dead, and then befriends the woman at a grief support group. That’s the plot of Netflix’s easy-to-watch dark comedy Dead to Me, which begins when Jen (Christina Applegate) meets Judy (Linda Cardellini) and strikes up a friendship with her without knowing the truth about Judy’s participation in the car accident that killed her husband. As the series progresses and the two women become closer, the series only becomes more thrilling and their relationship more complicated as the truth threatens to come out.
While Tully’s journalism career took off on Firefly Lane, Kate chose motherhood and is only just beginning to dip her toes back into the working world during the show’s first season. Forced to start from the bottom, she has a lot in common with Younger’s Liza Miller (Sutton Foster), who has to lie about her age in order to get her foot in the door of a publishing company in the TV Land dramedy. But working woes are not the only overlap between the two shows; Younger is also anchored by powerful female friendships. In addition to Liza’s friendship with her lifelong friend Maggie (Debi Mazar), she develops close personal and working relationships with her colleagues Kelsey (Hilary Duff) and Diana (Miriam Shor), and these relationships become the source of much of the show’s humor and heart as Liza continues to learn and grow both professionally and personally.
Virgin River (Netflix)
Firefly Lane might be the current champ when it comes to popular soapy dramas on Netflix, but it’s going up against fan favorite Virgin River, which is based on a series of romance novels by Robyn Carr. The show follows Melinda “Mel” Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge), a nurse practitioner and midwife who relocates from Los Angeles to the small, remote Northern California town of Virgin River after a series of traumatic heartbreaks. The show is less about lifelong friends than it is about forming new relationships and starting over, but a lot of Firefly Lane is about Tully and Kate figuring out who they are and what they want, and there’s plenty of that going on here too. When you add in a romance with a local bartender and former Marine (Martin Henderson), some medical drama, and even an element of criminal activity, you’ve got an oddly addictive binge right at your fingertips.
This Is Us (Hulu)
Firefly Lane jumps through time throughout its 10 episodes, covering a span of 30 years in the lives of Kate and Tully in order to highlight the defining moments of their lives. If emotional storytelling told over multiple timelines is what’s most compelling to you about Firefly Lane, NBC’s This Is Us is a must-watch. Told over multiple timelines and many years, the series follows the Pearson family—patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), matriarch Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and their three children Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown)—telling an emotionally complex but satisfying story about love and family that will most likely leave you crying after every episode. Already renewed through Season 6, the drama has plenty of material to keep you busy for a while.
The Bold Type (Hulu)
If Firefly Lane focused solely on Kate and Tully’s lives right out of college and during the first years of their journalism careers, it would have been a lot like The Bold Type. Set in New York City, the fan-favorite Freeform series follows the personal and professional lives of three best friends who work for the fictional Scarlet magazine. Katie Stevens’ Jane is a writer, Meghann Fahy’s Sutton works as an assistant in the fashion department, and Aisha Dee’s Kat runs the company’s social media accounts. But while the empowering show often features storylines that revolve around work, there’s no shortage of romantic intrigue or complicated family drama to keep things moving week after week.
It feels good to be back.
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