Firefly Lane, Netflix's newest family drama/emotional cryfest, is based on Kristin Hannah's novel of the same name. Released in 2008, the Firefly Lane book became a massive bestseller, spawning a sequel (Fly Away). But although the TV series includes the same characters, Kate Mularkey and Tully Hart, and somewhat follows the novel's overall trajectory, there are significant differences on-screen. The biggest change is that Season 1 of series never actually reaches the Firefly Lane book ending. Instead, Season 1 ends barely halfway through the story, which leaves a lot more to explore in potential future seasons.
Warning: Spoilers for both Firefly Lane Season 1 and Firefly Lane the novel follow. The first thing fans of the TV series will discover is the book is told linearly. Both series and book begin with Tully's arrival on Kate's street, Firefly Lane, with her mom, Cloud. But where the series jumps around in time — from the girls' teen years to their adult lives in 2003 — the first section of the 500-page novel focuses exclusively on the period of 1974, as Kate and Tully go from virtual strangers to "TullyandKate."
Moreover, although the book then tracks through the 1980s and all the way to 2003, the Netflix series has significant changes.
For example, the "love triangle" between Tully, Kate, and Johnny is downplayed on the show. Fans know from early on that Johnny and Kate will obviously get together while Tully is distracted by other relationships. In the book, Tully's relationship with Max doesn't exist, nor does her marriage and miscarriage. Johnny and Kate don't get divorced, and he doesn't leave for Iraq. Instead, the three are stuck in the same unhealthy dynamic from their KCPO-TV days, with Kate convinced Johnny is secretly in love with Tully, despite being married for a decade.
But the most significant change is that this is where the TV series ends. On the page, that's barely the halfway point of the story. The novel's central moment, Tully and Kate's massive falling out, has yet to occur on screen. In the book, it happens when Kate comes to the set of Tully's TV show for a segment on mothers and daughters. Their conversation turns ugly, with both saying things (live! on air!) that are unforgivable.
Then, the book reveals what finally brings the two back together: Kate discovers she has inoperable cancer. What comes next may be too big a spoiler to reveal it here, so fans should either read the book themselves, or wait for a potential Firefly Lane Season 2 to see if Netflix will give this story the same ending as the book does.
Until then, all 10 episodes of Firefly Lane Season 1 are now streaming.