• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 10, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Oct 10, 2011
    100
    This engagingly uncomfortable series is not like anything you've seen before.
  2. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Oct 7, 2011
    100
    It's HBO's most mature half-hour series ever, rising above the material worlds of Sex and the City and Entourage to offer a road worth taking in pursuit of a "higher self."
  3. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Sep 21, 2011
    91
    Dern is fantastic as Amy--you cringe as her histrionics drive people away, and cringe again as she tries to suppress her feelings behind a veneer of New Age peacefulness.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Oct 10, 2011
    90
    Enlightened is to my mind the most interesting and ambitious series of the fall season.
  5. Reviewed by: Phillip Maciak
    Oct 10, 2011
    88
    [The] disappointment, and the full-hearted yet misguided ways Amy imagines she might transcend it, are the real subjects of the series, and Dern and White have both seemingly spent long careers in preparation for a project exactly as ambivalent, humane, and beautifully contradictory as this.
  6. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 7, 2011
    88
    It might be unwatchable if Dern, who's excellent, didn't allow Amy's laughable obtuseness to be pierced by glimmers of empathy and acceptance. [ 17 Oct 2011, p.40]
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Oct 24, 2011
    83
    By this third episode, the tone has become open, generous, and alert to every sort of character.
  8. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 21, 2011
    83
    It's a beautiful downer of a show that becomes more revealing and absorbing as it moves along.
  9. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Oct 10, 2011
    80
    The series embraces the absurdities of its subject with enough compassion to avoid outright parody.
  10. Reviewed by: Renee Scolaro Mora
    Oct 10, 2011
    80
    Each episode moves her closer to some sort of insight, demonstrating that enlightenment is a moving spot on the horizon.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Judge
    Oct 10, 2011
    80
    This isn't just the story of one woman's search for relevance or power in a man's world; it's the story of one human being's search for meaning, one soul's search for redemption.
  12. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Oct 5, 2011
    80
    Dern, Wilson, Ladd, White and Sharp are excellent in this strange little vehicle.
  13. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Oct 7, 2011
    75
    If Amy really was enlightened, there'd be no show, but the fact that she's wearing her enlightenment like an ill-fitting coat gives the show both its comedic and plot trajectories.
  14. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Oct 19, 2011
    70
    A black comedy working many shades of gray, Enlightened is about dark mornings of the soul and the fool's-golden glow of the new convert, and it measures the weight of the world with an eccentric scale.
  15. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Oct 10, 2011
    63
    As not-quite-there as it may sometimes be, Enlightened is interesting enough to avoid the increasingly common HBO curse of egregious self-indulgence.
  16. Although the show features strong performances and is piercing in its emotional honesty, it also get bogged down in its own existential angst.
  17. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Oct 7, 2011
    60
    The show's ethereal qualities are interesting in places but never particularly enlightening.
  18. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Oct 7, 2011
    60
    Whether viewers find Enlightened all that funny may depend upon whether they have a person similar to Amy in their lives--and whether they want to spend time with an irrational, hysteria-prone fictional character, too.
  19. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Oct 10, 2011
    58
    A rare HBO misfire--but I do hope Amy finds peace.
  20. Reviewed by: David Eckstein
    Oct 10, 2011
    50
    The biggest downfall of Enlightened is doesn't know what it wants to be. It's in no-man's land between a comedy, a drama and a satire.
  21. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Oct 10, 2011
    50
    I wish I were as invested in Amy's journey as she is, but as she blathers on about being an agent of change at her uncaring corporation, I find myself restless to change the channel to something that's actually entertaining or, yes, enlightening.
  22. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Oct 10, 2011
    50
    As set up by White (and Dern, who's a producer and a contributor on the pilot script), Enlightened feels too lightweight to work as a short drama, and too clumsy in its attempts at humor to work that way.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 95 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 35
  2. Negative: 8 out of 35
  1. Oct 24, 2011
    1
    This is one of the worst shows I have seen on HBO. The Dern character is so unlikeable and pathetic I cringe at her every word. She is "Enlightened" and feels she is on a mission to change the world. The kind of person most people go out of their way to avoid. The supporting characters are one dimensional and annoying as well. I watched two episodes, the second to see if maybe I missed something but it only got worse. Full Review »
  2. Oct 13, 2011
    10
    This series is a call for those who are tense and trying to keep up with a good life with success but ruining it at the same time...and that's it! What can be more identifiable nowadays in a world full of rational power? This approach to the spiritual subject in the edge between a life lesson and a parody makes it special for me. The humor and the characters are a lot like those of a Todd Solondz film. I love the ending. Watching the last scene in the elevator made me think of a spiritual enlightened direction of the authors. Dern and White should stay as a team for a long time. This is the most comfortable fiction show I've ever seen. Full Review »
  3. Oct 11, 2011
    5
    This was...weak. Laura Dern is way better than this. I hope it improves. It's also not that funny. Take comedy out of its description. HBO needs to retool this. Full Review »