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  • Enlightened: Season 1
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Enlightened: Season 1

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Product Details

  • Actors: Laura Dern, Bayne Gibby, Diane Ladd, Sarah Burns, Luke Wilson
  • Directors: Mike White, Mikguel Arteta, Nicole Holofcener
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: January 8, 2013
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (991 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,874 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Enlightened: Season 1" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Enlightened centers on Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern), a 40-year-old woman who returns home to California after a month’s stay at a holistic treatment facility, a result of having a mental breakdown at work triggered by her self-destructive ways. Amy returns to her old life with a new cultivated approach and perspective, which includes daily meditation and exhorting the power of self-help and inner healing. Though Amy wants to be an “agent of change” in the world, the people who know her best are skeptical of her latest intentions. Also stars Luke Wilson, and Diane Ladd.

The pay-TV landscape just keeps getting better as the 21st century matures, and the medium along with it. Shows like Homeland, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, and The Big C on Showtime, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Mad Men, and The Killing on AMC, Justified and Sons of Anarchy on FX, and now Enlightened on the knockout HBO roster prove that premium cable is thriving in both the broadcast and home theater markets. As in the four Showtime offerings mentioned above, a devoted focus on an enigmatic, dynamic, yet seriously damaged female lead is the absorbing narrative focus of Enlightened. Laura Dern plays Amy Jellicoe, a high-powered executive at a soulless high-tech consumer products corporation who has a high-end freak-out at work after the dissolution of a disastrous affair with her married boss. The title and premise reveal themselves in nifty short order after this jarring prologue as Amy retreats to a specialized rehab facility in Hawaii, where she finds peace, tranquility, and a spiritual center that she brings back to her corporate world and the many stressors that are the result of Amy being Amy. The premiere episode packs a lot into 30 minutes, as does each subsequent installment by doling out backstory details about Amy's life pre- and post-meltdown. One of the triumphs of the absorbing mix of comedy and seriousness in Enlightened is the fact that its satirical core remains separate from its genuinely affecting character details and too-close-for-comfort observations about modern life. Though she appears to have made an honest change in her spiritual world, Amy is still deeply screwed up. The interactions that unfold with her family and coworkers continually try her newfound sense of well-being, illustrating that everyone's grasp of reality is always tenuous and subjective regardless of any sense of personal enlightenment. Amy's snippets of narration play like a self-help regimen aimed directly at the viewers; her affirmations are not just for her own benefit, they're also meant to bring us into the fold on her ongoing quest for illumination. "You can change," she says to herself, "and you can be an agent of change." Are you listening?

Enlightened was developed (along with Dern) and written by Mike White, who also plays one of Amy's coworkers, Tyler, a marginally creepy, socially challenged misfit she gets stuck with in the bowels of a corporate IT hellhole. White has created a number of intriguing pieces of work as a writer, director, and actor (The Good Girl, Chuck and Buck, School of Rock, and episodes of Freaks and Geeks among them). His off-kilter sensibility is at its peak in Enlightened, which is restricted and enhanced by the concision of its format and the pithy fine points of plot that are simultaneously amusing, disturbing, and spot-on in their observational tone. The cast also includes Diane Ladd as Helen, Amy's mother (Dern's too), who's bewildered and more than a little exasperated when Amy moves in with her ready to heal something that Helen wants to stay broken. Luke Wilson plays Amy's ex-husband Levi, a man-child in love with drugs who Amy also wants to help by providing healing that he doesn't really want. All of these people and the many other characters in Amy's life that the show deftly introduces and weaves into its dramatic structure mostly keep their own counsel---just like people in the real world do. But when they talk it's important to listen closely. The 10 brisk episodes continue to reveal more about them all as the web of Amy's connections and the roots of her psychic vision quest unravels. Enlightened is the kind of show that requires active viewing and demands that attention be paid in order to get up to speed with its conceptual center. But once hooked, nirvana in the form of a half-hour TV show is not far behind. --Ted Fry

Customer Reviews

Good writing and great acting.
John M. Crary
It's sad. ( which doesn't make it bad, just not interesting) the actors see like they are trying too hard and the lines are just flat.
Leighellen Skinner
Excellent & Enlightening show and uh very true to life corporate america!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
One of the lowest rated programs on HBO's 2011 roster, "Enlightened" (created by stars Mike White and Laura Dern) was both fascinatingly unpredictable and practically impossible to describe succinctly. It's closest cousins are probably the Showtime line-up of wacky female-centric comedies--such as Nurse Jackie, The Big C, Weeds, and United States of Tara. But that comparison is mostly about tone and viewpoint as "Enlightened" has a distinctly unique voice that is unlike anything else on the TV landscape. Some episodes play rather seriously, others highlight slapstick mayhem, while others are incisive and filled with awkward humor. Is it a comedy? Certainly. Is it dramatic? You bet. Is it one of the most pointed character studies on TV? Absolutely, and this, more than anything else, is "Enlightened" strongest asset. Spiritual enlightenment and striving to create a more perfect world are usually topics handled with a startling lack of subtlety in comedy. They are almost always the punchline to a more cynical type of humor. And yet, while Laura Dern's Amy is a frustratingly flawed protagonist, her search for meaning is amazingly sensitive and real.

Credit for the show's success sits squarely on its screenplays and its performances. Therefore, writers and stars Laura Dern and Mike White really must be given accolades for the show's impressive creative arc. I've been a fan of White's since the bizarrely intriguing "Chuck and Buck" (I, also, might be the only person on the planet that laments the early death of his before-its-time nighttime soap opera "Pasadena"). He's found a real collaborator and muse in Dern, who turns in one of the season's most underrated performances as the complex central character.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mark McLaughlin on February 1, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
I randomly caught the first few minutes of this show when switching between channels and it immediately dawned on me to set up my DVR for the season. I'm so happy I did, with a virtually perfect performance by Laura Dern, it seems apparent why she was so passionate about the show being made she produced it herself. The portrayal of a central character who, to me anyway, sends the viewer in between moments of complete admiration and love for the character to moments of complete horror and complete discomfort. Casting a character who causes such varied states of emotion in a view is risky at best, as evidenced by the lackluster ratings of the show, but Dern's much deserved Golden Globe win may give this understated and ultimately beautiful show the second chance it deserves. I'll sure as hell be there for season two.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By E. Bigger on March 1, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I knew nothing about this show until I heard Mike White and Laura Dern on NPR's radio show "Fresh Air." Mike White (writer, creator, and actor playing "Tyler") described how the idea of the show came from his own breakdown during a stressful period working on another TV show. He spoke thoughtfully about his connection with Eastern religion and philosophy (striking given his father's involvement in fundamentalist Christianity as a ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, and his subsequent evolution into a gay rights activist), and about the challenge of becoming an agent for change. I liked his honest and self-aware answers to Terri's questions, as well as Laura's zeal for playing a complex and visionary female character, so I was curious enough to check out "Enlightened."

Strangely enough, I watched episode 2 first, not the pilot, and absolutely fell in love (I think the pilot, while not bad, is one of the weaker episodes, so please don't judge the whole series based on it alone). This is a challenging but deeply moving show, which was like catnip for someone who is easily bored by predictable, feel-good characters and storylines bearing little semblance to reality. I devoured the rest of the episodes, and promptly purchased the season 1 DVD as soon as it was released. It is absolutely wonderful, and by far the best DVD purchase I have made in years. There are short segments with Mike White explaining his thoughts about each episode, as well as episode commentaries. My favorite episode and commentary is #9, "Consider Helen." Hearing Laura Dern (who plays Amy) and her real-life mother Diane Ladd (who plays Amy's mother Helen) reminiscing about their own very different relationship, while discussing the relationship of their fictional characters, was an absolute treat.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By furball on February 14, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Being a fan of Office Space, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Arrested Development, stories about mundane every day life I tuned expecting a couple laughs. Other HBO comedies like Kenny Powers and Bored To Death left me flat (loved Flight Of The Conchords), and I was looking for a new comedy. Within minutes I was sucked in, the beautiful unforgettable writing, the music, the acting, intriguing story lines, celebration of humanity all entranced me. I look forward to every episode (including her quirky gorgeous outfits), often crying for unknown reasons, but always left with a renewed outlook. It is a series I proudly support, no misogyny, no violence, yet powerful. As the engine of the show, Amy is courageous and unflappable, self doubting, and self involved, "Let's turn the tables on THEM". It's not a show you can lightly tune in, it leaves you questioning as well as hopeful.
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