Hulu’s ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ May Have Surprises for Fans of the Book
The holiday season is over, but TV has some new gifts you’ll never want to return. Settle in for 12 months of fan-favorite stars (Fran Drescher, Edie Falco), inspiring physical feats (the Olympics), new streaming services, and another must-see season of Outlander.
Celeste Ng’s critically acclaimed 2017 novel Little Fires Everywhere moves from page to stream with one major goal: getting viewers, well, fired up. Hot-button issues of race, class, privilege, and morality have a tendency to do that.
Set in Cleveland’s planned neighborhood of Shaker Heights circa 1997, the absorbing eight-part series is primarily told through the eyes of Elena Richardson (Oscar and Emmy winner Reese Witherspoon), a pillar of the community who has what appears to be the perfect husband (The Affair‘s Joshua Jackson), four bright children, and an impeccably appointed home.
“If Elena were a town, she would be Shaker Heights,” explains Liz Tigelaar (Nashville, Once Upon a Time), who adapted the novel and serves as an executive producer along with Witherspoon and star Kerry Washington. “The town is very manicured, as is she. There was a tremendous amount of thoughtfulness put into this town. That is also Elena as a wife and mother and friend and human.”
Into the Type A mom’s life — and rental property — comes Mia Warren (Washington), a free-spirited artist who moves to Shaker Heights with her teen daughter, Pearl (Lexi Underwood), and a fair amount of emotional baggage. It’s not long before the Richardson and Warren families become intertwined and lifestyles collide, resulting in an incendiary situation that erupts among their children.
“It has a ripple effect that will forever change [the town’s residents] in both good and very tragic ways,” Tigelaar hints.
Folks who’ve read Little Fires Everywhere, which spent nearly a year on the New York Times bestseller list, should not expect a page-for-page adaptation. “If you were a fan of the book, we want you to love the show,” explains Tigelaar, who worked with Ng to honor the source material while digging deeper into some moments and introducing a few tweaks. “There was a real opportunity to give that audience something they didn’t expect or didn’t see coming…[so] even if you read the book, there might be some surprises along the way.”
Little Fires Everywhere, Series Premiere, Wednesday, March 18, Hulu