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Enlightened - S01E01

Drama . Comedy

In the series premiere, a corporate executive (Laura Dern) suffers a public breakdown at work but hopes to get her job back after reinventing herself at a mental-health retreat. Unfortunately, her transformation doesn't go over well with her loved ones and coworkers, who don't always share her new outlook on life. Dern is an executive producer.

Episode Title: Pilot
Airs: 2011-10-10 at 09:30 pm
  • Linda Stasi

    This engagingly uncomfortable series is not like anything you've seen before.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    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."

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    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.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    Enlightened is to my mind the most interesting and ambitious series of the fall season.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Phillip Maciak

    [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.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Tom Gliatto

    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]

    People Weekly Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    By this third episode, the tone has become open, generous, and alert to every sort of character.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    It's a beautiful downer of a show that becomes more revealing and absorbing as it moves along.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    The series embraces the absurdities of its subject with enough compassion to avoid outright parody.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Renee Scolaro Mora

    Each episode moves her closer to some sort of insight, demonstrating that enlightenment is a moving spot on the horizon.

    PopMatters Full Review
  • Michael Judge

    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.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    Dern, Wilson, Ladd, White and Sharp are excellent in this strange little vehicle.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    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.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Troy Patterson

    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.

    Slate Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    As not-quite-there as it may sometimes be, Enlightened is interesting enough to avoid the increasingly common HBO curse of egregious self-indulgence.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Chuck Barney

    Although the show features strong performances and is piercing in its emotional honesty, it also get bogged down in its own existential angst.

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    The show's ethereal qualities are interesting in places but never particularly enlightening.

    Variety Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    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.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    A rare HBO misfire--but I do hope Amy finds peace.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    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.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • David Eckstein

    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.

    Zap2it (Inside the Box) Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    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.

    Hitfix Full Review