• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 10, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
74

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.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 99 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 37
  2. Negative: 9 out of 37
  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. Jan 7, 2012
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Where do I start? I'm a few episodes into this, and tend to watch it after American Horror Story for something a bit more uplifting and some balance. Being a comedy/drama I don't see how this is unreasonable, I'd imagine the average viewer is probally trying to get something similar from this. This is where my issues with this series begin. Humour is incredibly sparse, even for an American production. The central string of the story slumps along at a snails pace, which isn't helped by the fact episodes are so short. With hindsight the reason for this is related to my next point. Enlightened is boring! I can't imagine having to sit through 45-60 minutes of this show. All the show seems to do is communicate these messages to us about self discovery and awakening but does so at the total expense of any decent plot or storyline action. Messages are cool but not like this. They just swirl around aimlessly without being bound to something tangible and thats my central problem here because it gives those messages no value. Watching this I assume it's been written by somebody experiencing a mid-life crisis, as a 25-30 year old this doesn't appeal to me at all. Maybe I'm the wrong audience for this, but I just find zero entertainment here. Laura Dern does a fairly good job, but thats to be expected from an actress of her calibre. She is perhaps wasted on this, I'm also not convinced shes totally perfect for the role. I want to be positivewhich is hard here, but underneath all of the bad stuff a real (albeit very slow) storyline does exist, which could be brilliant if it engaged with the viewer better. Perhaps Englightened has been 'over written', but it's hard to tell. Making this show a little more silly, with some light hearted jokes would be a good first step for improvement. Full Review »
  3. 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 »