Netflix is ending Firefly Lane with Katherine Heigl after 2 seasons

(Image credit: Netflix)

Another week, another announcement that a Netflix show is ending. Yes, Netflix just announced the second season of Firefly Lane, a Katherine Heigl-led show, is its last. 

The news broke on Monday (October 3), when a Deadline report announced the upcoming season will also be the final one. The first half premieres December 2 and the second set will arrive in 2023.

The series adapted a Kristin Hannah novel of the same name, and while it saw initial success, that doesn't seem to be enough. This is a case of Netflix seemingly not prioritizing early ratings over long-term performance. The Wrap reported that Firefly Lane was at the top of Nielsen's list of the Top 10 streaming series for the Week of Feb. 1-Feb. 7.

This was months before Netflix's own Top 10 site — which shows the hours-watched per week — launched. Nielsen estimated that Firefly Lane accrued more than 1.3 billion minutes (21.7 million hours) in just its first five days. This was a little under twice as much as Bridgerton (659 million minutes) did that week, though this was over a month after the Regency soap's December 25, 2020 debut. WandaVision (589 million minutes), which was in the middle of its weekly episode drops, accrued around 45 percent as many minutes viewed.

Firefly Lane ending after only two seasons following a good debut is another sign of how confusing it is to track Netflix shows.  The service hasn't always offered a ton of metrics for viewership. Yes, it's one of the best streaming services, but we sympathize with those who are baffled when their favorite shows die seemingly premature deaths.

What Firefly Lane is about? And what should you know for season 2?

Firefly Lane tracks the lives of long-time BFFs Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke). The two met in freshman year of high school in the 1970s, and it shows them in their early 20s as well as their 40s in 2023. 

Throughout the show, their bond is strengthened and tested by life's challenges. We also see them as teens, with Ali Skovbye as Tully and Roan Curtis as Kate.

I won't spoil the Firefly Lane season 1 cliffhanger ending for you, but it's safe to say that one of their loved ones may not make it to the next season. 

Firefly Lane reviews: What critics say

Firefly Lane season 1 has a 47 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, with a mix of positive and negative reviews from critics.

TIME Magazine's Judy Berman wrote that while "Firefly Lane is simply not a good show," with "many limitations ... there's something lovable about it." These contrasting ups and downs are sprinkled into her review, as she writes "the central friendship is not just believable, but also endearing." The show won her over because of Keigl and Chalke's "grounded lead performances," as well as the show's "surprisingly decent dialogue" and "genuine warmth."

No signs suggest that they are treating the end of the show as a negative, either.

Richard Roeper at The Chicago Sun-Times writes that Firefly Lane "is a good-looking show that relies heavily on the kinds of cliffhangers we’ve seen on episodic network TV dramas for decades." He commends the show for having an "impressive" budget for music, with needle drops like Patsy Cline's "Crazy," INXS' "Never Tear Us Apart" and "Coming Around Again" by Carly Simon.

That said, Roeper also criticized the shows flashbacks as "gimmicky and ubiquitous." Making matters worse, he says they take you "out of the story" and make audiences "feel removed from the proceedings, just when we should be deeply involved."

Firefly Lane outlook: What should you expect?

What's unclear with all of this is if the peopler running Firefly Lane wrote season 2 with the expectation that it would be the end of the story. No signs suggest that they are treating the end of the show as a negative, either.

An Instagram post (embedded below) from Heigl says "Part 1 of our 16-episode supersized season features 9 episodes, with @kristinhannahauthor amazing story of Tully and Kate concluding in 2023 with Part 2 and the remaining 7 installments."

Therefore, Firefly Lane fans may be able to watch the second season without worrying that it will have an abrupt ending. Firefly Lane season 1 didn't cover all the material from the book it is based on, and it's unclear how much material season 2 will pull from the novel's sequel Fly Away.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.