After Emmy nominations were released a few weeks ago, I decided to browse Hulu looking for the next best show to watch. I quickly came across Little Fires Everywhere and was instantly attracted to this series, which boasts a star-studded cast headed by Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. Little Fires Everywhere is one of Hulu’s newest and most popular additions, and with good reason. Based on a book by Celeste Ng, this series follows the lives of two very different families in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and the conflicts they face when their worlds become intertwined.
Witherspoon plays matriarch Elena Richardson, a strong-headed yet sometimes overbearing woman who works as a journalist at the Shaker Tribune. Elena is married to lawyer Bill Richardson, and they have four teenage kids. Lexie, the eldest daughter, is a studious and overachieving girl who has her sights set on attending Yale after high school. Trip, Bill and Elena’s older son, is a typical jock. Moody, the younger son, is a kind and quiet kid who gets along well with almost anyone. Izzy is the youngest and the black sheep of the family, failing to gain her mother’s approval. The Richardsons are a well-known and wealthy family who have lived in Shaker for decades, but their seemingly perfect life changes when the Warrens move to town.
Enter Mia Warren, played by Kerry Washington, a single mother and artist who is constantly on the move with her teenage daughter Pearl. In the pilot episode, any person watching can quickly catch on that the Warrens are not exactly in the best place financially. Mia and Pearl are living out of their car, and Elena notices them on her drive to work one day. She decides to sublet her mother’s old house to Mia for a generous price and also offers Mia a job working as her housekeeper. Though initially doubtful by the proposition, Mia eventually accepts both the living situation and job. Pearl instantly befriends Moody, but this proves troublesome when she starts a romantic relationship with his brother Trip and a complicated friendship with Lexie.
Through a series of time jumps between the past and present, viewers begin to learn both Elena and Mia’s history and why their current relationship becomes so strained. The multiple storylines centering around the lives of both the adults and kids are engaging and unexpected. The TV series adds a few additional layers that the book doesn’t have, including the stark racial struggle between the Richardson’s and the Warren’s, as well as a very different ending from the book that leaves the show open to the possibility of a second season. If you have not already had the pleasure of watching Little Fires Everywhere, I highly recommend you do so!