• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 10, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 86
  2. Negative: 15 out of 86

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  1. Feb 10, 2013
    10
    HBO's enlightened is simply an outstanding show: the writing is subtle, clever and funny. I had not seen such a sophisticated and genuine show since In Treatment.
  2. Jan 28, 2013
    10
    Laura Dern does an amazing job as Amy Jelicoe, a relatable and likeable lead of a cast full of misits. Enlightened is an amazing and endearing show written by the talented Mike White, who brings this story and the quirky characters to life and gives them distinct and nuanced voices.
  3. Feb 11, 2013
    10
    Just saw the 5 episode of season 2.It's just amazing. I hope the show will continue as great as this last episode. Definitely, my favourite for this year.
  4. BKM
    Jan 15, 2013
    9
    The new season of Enlightened picks up where the first season left off without missing a beat. Mike White and Laura Dern have created a richly entertaining, deeply cynical and ultimately moving series about one woman's quest to better herself and the world around her. Much of the show's bite comes from the fact that Amy, despite her best intentions, is frequenlty as selfish and thoughtless as those she is trying to be better than. Comedy this layered and involving is a rarity and should be treasured. Expand
  5. Feb 11, 2013
    2
    OMG, this show sucks! Who wants to watch this bag full of crazy we call woman? The script is utter hippie-dippie tripe. Enlightened? No. I could feel the IQ points being sucked out of me as the hour ticked away. Men, don't let your ladies talk you into this one. They slobber over the show because of a woman they can relate to and they'll want you to relate too. Yeah, right. Dern is good as the neurotic schizoid torn between her true self (read lunatic woman) and the enlightened zen-master hippie she professes to be. But the years haven't been kind to Ms. Dern. Don't be a sack-less eunuch. Turn the channel to Game of Thrones or Walking Dead instead.
    PS Proof, once again, that the critics will praise any garbage about an empowered woman.
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  6. Mar 4, 2013
    10
    Enlightened is the best show on TV right now, in my opinion. I find it a tribute to the show that most negative reviews center around the notion that "Amy isn't likeable/Amy lacks self-awareness/Amy isn't as heroic as she wants to believe she is." That's the whole point of Amy, folks. If the show fails for you because it hits its bullseye, you need to watch less sophisticated programming. There are plenty of shows that don't offer fully realized, complicated characters like Amy. Expand
  7. Apr 7, 2013
    8
    Even as a kid I disliked (I still do) characters on Cinema or TV who the audience was supposed to identify with you know the people next door. I’m the guy who loathes just about every sitcom. I do not have a malevolent view of the Universe but I’m unable to enjoy shows or films which aren’t dark (there is nothing even remotely dark in Enlightened). I remember I had to stop watching Pushing Daisies (a perfectly Ok show) after 1 episode because it had such a feel good vibe about it and the color pallet hurt my eyes literally. To hold my attention you had to be Walter White, a Tony Soprano, Dexter Morgan or a Tyrion Lannister perhaps. I never could get bring myself to like characters combating dilemmas of everyday life. My heroes had to be combating conflicts of Shakespearean proportions and dilemmas Kafkaesque in magnitude.
    Amy Jellicoe is the Heroin in Enlightened. I don’t think I’ve watched on screen anyone else portray someone like Amy the way Laura Dern has. She is such a miserable creature, you mostly hate her or just pity her. I don’t know how else to put it she is a person of such extraordinary mediocrity that it becomes fascinating! A woman so out of tune with the way others perceives her that she doesn’t even realize that her behavior is intrusive and annoying, people are usually trying to gently let her down, a fact she is oblivious to. A thoroughly unlikeable character, her enthusiasm and positivity is cringe inducing because it’s phony, the interesting bit is that I don’t think even Amy realizes how joyless she really is she goes through the motions of appearing positive, believing that is how she’ll get to a “higher self”. The show isn’t a comedy, I wouldn’t call it a Drama either really because there is no Drama sans conflict the show definitely is not a case study, truth is I’m not really sure what to make of it. I don’t think the creator Mike White is trying to say something, if he is I can’t discern the meaning I just see it as a portrait of a woman, and a remarkably ugly and magnificent one at that. For some reason I was thinking about Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Underground” while watching this and I remember telling myself this is what she would have sounded like had the narrator in that novel been a woman.
    In one scene Laura’s character tells another that she used to manipulate men with her sexuality earlier but doesn’t do that anymore. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you it was heart breaking to hear her say that, as an audience you realize how pitiful she really is and wish for her own sake it is true.
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  8. Jan 27, 2013
    10
    I don't know if this is cheating, but basically this is the same review I posted for Season 1. I came to this show late. I'd been curious, but never got over there to HBO to watch. Then a friend (in the favored demo are you listening HBO?) told me it was fantastic. So, I watched the whole season and woke up this morning, a Sunday, excited that I get to watch another episode tonight. What a great concept. What great writing. What terrific acting. And along the way, some really great directing. Thank heavens Mike White (the writer) and Laura Dern (the out of this world lead and co-creator) put their heads together (I think they are neighbors), took it to HBO, and HBO had the great sense to develop it. Will it make it beyond Season 2? I have my doubts. It is genuinely quirky and well acted, not the ironic self-conscious quirk of Girls, and it has not been as promoted by HBO. So, it's a show you discover by yourself and then become addicted to, in a less fevered way than some others, but addicted nevertheless. How can one love Homeland and love Enlightened, too? I will leave that to greater minds than mine. BTW: one user reviewer seemed upset that the show is classified (is it?) as a comedy. Certainly for awards purposes, it has been. But it is painfully funny in the way life is. Good luck Enlightened. Expand
  9. Feb 14, 2013
    5
    What I don't understand about this show is whether it wants us to appreciate its lead character as a heroine or dismiss her us a complete train-wreck? Does it want us to laugh at her or root for her? Because frankly, I have tried and I find it increasingly difficult to root for a character so horribly self-unaware, selfish and oblivious to those around her. Clearly, it says a lot about a show where the best episodes are the ones not focused on the lead character (episode 9 in season 1 and episode 3 in season 2). Expand
  10. Mar 17, 2013
    10
    "Enlightened" is the best show on television (in my opinion), it's portrait of a fragmented woman, Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern), is one that is culturally relevant, largely unexplored and important to our culture. Amy sticks out at her workplace, a large corporation called "Abbadon" (which means "destruction" in Hebrew), where she doesn't work very hard and is constantly distracted by various "causes" (these causes vary from pollution to deportation et al.). Amy doesn't know what she wants and seems to agitate everyone she comes into contact with. With regards to Amy and her "causes" there is a transparent directionless-ness and much over-simplification that everyone around her picks up on.

    What Amy has going for her is that she has a very clear idea about the kind of world she wants to live in, what it should look like and what it shouldn't look like. In Amy's meditation she's in that perfect world, but doesn't seem to know how to get there. It's from Amy's idea of an ideal world where her desire to bring change to the world around her is born.

    Most of the show's first season is concerned with letting viewers know who both Amy and Abaddon really are. We come to like Amy more and more as the show progresses and the clean corporate Abaddon less and less. We come to see that not only is Abaddon not making the world a better place, it's elitist, ugly and is breeding an environment of bullying. Amy's actions constantly challenge viewers (us) because they're so abnormal and uncomfortable; in one scene in the show's first season Amy listens behind closed doors to her colleagues as they make fun of her for expressing her legitimate concerns over their company's negative societal impacts Amy bursts through and yells "this isn't high school. This is real life." By the end of the first season Amy has had it, realizing that there will be no change within Abbadon, she seizes an opportunity presented by Tyler (Mike White) to hack into the company's e-mail server and expose the corporate greed. The second season is concerned with bringing changes to the two people that have been influenced by Amy- her "followers" so to speak Tyler (Mike White) and Levi (Luke Wilson). But season two is primarily about Amy in action, Amy having the upper-hand against Abaddon and ultimately how one person can (actually) make a difference.

    The second season is much more active than the first season; the second season does so many things you wouldn't expect from a show like "Enlightened" (espionage anyone?) and ultimately pays off with a great deal of "enlightenment".

    I wish I could properly express how important I think Mike White's show is, but see for yourself and pass it on...
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  11. Jan 29, 2013
    10
    just watched episode 3. great work!!! my fav show .great to see Luke wilsons character back . the chemistry between the two leads is amazing cant wait to see whats going to happen between next
  12. Apr 7, 2013
    10
    Bottom line: Go watch this show Now!

    I watch a lot of television, but nothing like "Enlightened." It is in a category of its own and the plot and characters, especially the female lead, take my imagination on a thrill ride of love and hate, which I absolutely love. There is an exploration here that is deep and really thought provoking that no other media platform could deliver.

    Amy
    Jelicoe, played by Laura Dern, is perhaps the most polarizing figure I have seen in a long time. People either love her or hate her and that extends to the viewer and not just limited to the other characters in the show. Watching Enlightenment I had a hard time determining if Amy is honest in her idealism or is using it as a crunch to hide a more insidious agenda against a company that she feels was responsible for her self-loathing. This narrative where I always question the motives of the lead, make this story worth telling because I never know what to expect out of Amy. I can never really gauge if I should believe in her cause, which makes the show so compelling because I feel like I am part of the show by tiptoeing the lines between Amy's idealism and selfishness. Many of the other characters question Amy's motives as well, so by having this internal conflict as the viewer regarding if I should put my trust in Amy's idealism I feel like I am a character in this show as well. Through Amy this show gives the viewer a lot to chew on about a variety of issues from self-worth, corruption, greed, facing demons, change, right, wrong etc.

    Amy Jelicoe though is not the only highlight of this show. Laura does share the spotlight with her supporting cast made of other other well-crafted characters ranging from an estranged mother to a lonely IT guy, who get their own episodes revealing their deeper narratives. More importantly these personalities adds depth to the over all narrative and story where Amy Jelicoe whistle blows about corruption happening at the highest levels of management at the company. By having these other characters we get to see how Amy's, if sometimes selfish, crusade for a better world is truly what is right and best for not only the world, but for the people that choose to be her co-conspirators.

    Enlightened's narrative is worth exploring and only cast of Enlightened able to provide this smart, sappy show without revealing a "holier than thou" viewpoint that I feel would quickly ruin the show, by becoming something that would sound like a Michael Moore fan fiction. Regardless, I hope to see this show get renewed for a third season as it would be nice to see what happens now that the whistle is full blown, despite having the second season ending on a relativity conclusive note.
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  13. Mar 3, 2013
    10
    A modern day office space corporate revenge fantasy. I've been waiting for this show for 15 years. It somehow encapsulates social media, corporate governance/greed, software development and family ills in a way that feels authentic and satisfying.
  14. Mar 4, 2013
    10
    I adore this show! It is hilarious, sad, thought-provoking and quite touching. The writing is brilliant. Dern constantly surprises at first she seems to be a kooky and unstable woman who is trying to recover from a serious mental breakdown; she seems unable to tolerate unpleasant emotions and rejection without becoming unglued. However, she slowly becomes a three dimensional human who reminds the viewer that we all should be more distraught when we are disrespected and treated poorly. Moreover, corporate greed and the overall state of humanity is deranged. Possibly, we should all become more unhinged now and then! Laura Dern's character helps me get in touch with an existential part of myself; her character holds the tension of hope and hopelessness, freedom and feeling utterly trapped. By the end of each season I am convinced that I want to be a better person. Collapse
  15. Feb 11, 2013
    9
    What a nice surprise this show was. Each individual character's perspective is seamlessly interwoven into the central character's (Dern) main journey. Dern's character effectively represents the idea of hope in times of hardship. This central message is a really nice change of pace when compared to most current shows. Directing, acting, and writing are all top-notch. An excellent show. Plain and simple. Expand
  16. May 18, 2013
    10
    9/10 but I'm giving it a ten to help cancel out Oinker and boredbychoice's semi-idiotic votes. As a man with basic needs I watch shows like The Office (10/10), Breaking Bad (10), Game of Thrones (10), Family Guy(9), Walking Dead (9), Elementary (8.5), The Americans (9) etc. I feel the need to write reviews only when a show is being discarded at first glance by men with extreme fear of the return of shows like Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives, Dharma and Greg etc. (all not really that bad). Shows that were forced on us by women. Mike white and Laura Dern have made a new piece of golden age television with Enlightened. This is a show for deep thinkers and twist lovers. Be prepared to second guess every turn and piece the enlightening puzzle together as the tale comes to light. Characters act according to a very specific timeline while the standard building process unfolds. Trust the season 2 metascore and understand this is a fast-paced and intriguing show for any viewer. Mike White and Luke Wilson keep you steady while Laura Dern goes off the rails in this epic narrative of the trials and tribulations of corporate, first-world America.

    Don't you dare write a review after seeing half an episode.
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  17. Jan 15, 2013
    8
    Laura Dern is the only reason I watch this series and she is the only reason I like it. Of course, there are other characters as well and the premise of the show is likable but this is only because Dern makes it so. Her performance and the plot that revolves around her including her efforts to be positive and better herself and everything around her is entertaining. The best part of the show is that she can turn those unfunny situations into funny ones and save the show from falling apart. Expand
  18. Sep 5, 2013
    7
    What a shame to see HBO give up on this quiet surprise after just two seasons. This speaks to the white collar working class of 2013 in a unique way.
  19. Feb 27, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I started watching a few days ago with season 1, episode 1. Hooked immediately. Watched a few in a row then took time to watch the after-show...Mike White....he's the nerd! How interesting. I love the conflict. How "doing good" can be so subjective. She's a train wreck, but I have to know what's next. Watched all back episodes right up to present and looking forward to the Season 2 finale. It's enjoyable on many levels especially in how it has set up Amy to have to face reality.....but whose??? Expand
  20. Jun 8, 2013
    0
    I will never understand how this got this high in critic scores. I just saw it really likable at first, then it just became annoying. HBO, you did a great job at first, then it just disappeared. I just don't know what to say right now.
  21. Jun 22, 2013
    8
    I watched season 1 and was very turned off by it. Sure, there were good performances and a couple of excellent episodes, but I felt completely disconnected from the main character. I only returned to the show for a second season because I had intended on mocking it for fun. But then something happened. The writers toned down the "life is fail" elements from season 1 and focused more on making the lead a real person who doesn't just make big mistakes while THINKING she's doing the right thing.

    In season 2 the main character may still be naive and idealistic but she also achieves real victories mixed in with her failures. The us-against-them story line of the second season is well worth watching. I wouldn't even bother with season 1 unless you are really into shows about losers losing some more.
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Metascore
96

Universal acclaim - based on 7 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Jan 17, 2013
    100
    The show is an absolute original. [28 Jan 2013, p.44]
  2. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Jan 17, 2013
    100
    The show's must-see second season is one of the best stories I've experienced in a long time.
  3. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jan 11, 2013
    90
    Enlightened comes through with a triumphant eight-episode arc that broadens its characters, quickens the pace and finishes strong.