Yeah, I made a mistake. Sleeping with you was a mistake, but you know what, Amy? You ARE a mistake.
Enlightened has a really interesting premise. It catches its main character, Amy, at a place I don’t know that I’ve seen before. We see her have a nervous breakdown at work in the opening scene, but then we jump to her return from a retreat where she has regained control of her thoughts and emotions. Thus, the drama of the series will be her attempt to reintegrate herself into her old life while applying the things she’s learned at the retreat. We usually catch people on the way down or on the way back up. I don’t know that we’ve ever picked up a show after both of those things have happened. But the real draw here is Laura Dern in the lead. She’s an actress I really love and one who doesn’t get nearly enough to do anymore, so I relish the idea of spending an entire season of television with her. Throw in Diane Ladd as her mother and Luke Wilson as her ex-husband and I am more than sold. This Pilot spent a lot of time setting things up of course, but it introduced a lot of potentially good stuff besides those things, most notably Chip Esten as Amy’s old boss, hilariously slimy. A scene where she confronts him at his house in an effort to get “closure” on the affair they were having before her breakdown is absolutely the best in the episode. The show has a nice balance of drama and comedy and it manages to make Amy simultaneously sympathetic and compelling while also letting you see the side of her that makes her so annoying to the other characters. Her platitudes and constant efforts to stay positive are treated really interestingly in that you definitely laugh sometimes, find them frustrating and annoying sometimes and sometimes find them really compelling and pull for her to succeed. Oh and a word for the visuals; this show is sun-drenched, color-saturated and absolutely gorgeous. I’m decidedly interested in this show. 3 stars.
tl;dr – Laura Dern is brilliant as a woman trying to find her place in her old life after a nervous breakdown; compelling mix of comedy & drama. 3 stars.