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

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Oct 10, 2011
    This engagingly uncomfortable series is not like anything you've seen before.
  2. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Oct 7, 2011
    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
    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
    Enlightened is to my mind the most interesting and ambitious series of the fall season.
  5. Reviewed by: Phillip Maciak
    Oct 10, 2011
    [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. People Weekly
    Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 7, 2011
    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
    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
    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
    The series embraces the absurdities of its subject with enough compassion to avoid outright parody.
  10. Reviewed by: Renee Scolaro Mora
    Oct 10, 2011
    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
    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
    Dern, Wilson, Ladd, White and Sharp are excellent in this strange little vehicle.
  13. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Oct 7, 2011
    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
    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
    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
    The show's ethereal qualities are interesting in places but never particularly enlightening.
  18. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Oct 7, 2011
    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
    A rare HBO misfire--but I do hope Amy finds peace.
  20. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Oct 10, 2011
    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.
  21. Reviewed by: David Eckstein
    Oct 10, 2011
    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.
  22. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Oct 10, 2011
    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

Generally favorable reviews- based on 113 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 113
  2. Negative: 16 out of 113
  1. Oct 24, 2011
    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 isThis 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
    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
    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'sThis 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 »