COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Enlightened: The Complete First Season Review

Created: 01/07/2013 2:32 PM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

This past weekend I watched a very interesting television series from HBO Home Entertainment called “Enlightened: The Complete First Season” on Blu-ray.   

“Enlightened” is a very unique show. It is a drama that has the main character in some pretty hilarious situations. It stars Laura Dern who plays Amy Jellicoe. Amy is a very ambitious and outgoing buyer at Abaddonn Industries in the health and beauty department. 

Amy is also her own worst enemy. Over time Amy has made some self-destructive choices that cause her to have a very humiliating nervous breakdown at Abaddonn. Amy then goes to a treatment center in Hawaii to get her life back together. When Amy comes home she moves in with her mother who is played by Diane Ladd and has a new perspective of life and wants to try and make many changes in her life and also in other people’s lives. 

Amy really wants to try and help her ex-husband who is played by Luke Wilson. He is a drug addict and she wants to help him overcome his drug abuse, which becomes one of her biggest challenges.

Amy also eventually goes back to Abaddonn with the hopes of getting her old job back but soon learns that her assistant Krista who is played by Sarah Burns has been promoted and is now doing Amy’s previous job. However, Amy is rehired and has to work in the data processing department which is run by a very strange and weird boss played by Timm Sharp. Amy feels that this is a demotion and that the company is trying to make her quit and to keep her away from her former co-workers.

In every episode Amy tries her best to make things better for someone else. It never turns out the way she wants it to.  She means well, but something always goes wrong.

I really thought the writing in “Enlightened” was really well done. The characters are very interesting and you want to learn more about them. I thought the mixture of drama and humor was very clever and done well.

“Enlightened: The Complete First Season” is a two disc set and contains ten episodes which includes the pilot episode. Every episode contains a few bonus features, which I thought was great. 
When you select the episode you want to watch, there is a brief summary of the episode on the selection screen. You can choose to watch a short preview of the episode and also a short clip of what happened previously. 

I really liked this feature because if you watch a few episodes and take a break from the show, you can come back and refresh your memory of what is going on. There are also audio commentaries on certain episodes. I really liked this feature also, because it was fun to hear the people that were involved with “Enlightened” talk about the show.

“Inside the Episodes” is another great feature in my opinion, because each episode is broken down by writer, director, and co-star Mike White. Mike briefly talks about each episode and why he chose to write the episode.  Each segment is about two minutes and is very informative. I also found this very entertaining and interesting.

Overall I really enjoyed HBO Home Entertainment’s “Enlightened: The Complete First Season” on Blu-ray. I think that it is a very well written and compelling show. The actors do an amazing job making their characters interesting.

The bonus features are very entertaining and they were fun to watch. I do want to mention that “Enlightened” is rated TV-MA because there is a lot of strong language used and some adult situations. So, if you are looking for a witty drama, then you should check out “Enlightened: The Complete First Season.”

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.