Imagine, you're in the cleanest and the bluest water in the world, seeing the most vibrant colored fishes in the process. Imagine, you're sitting at the shore on a sunny and pleasant day in Maldives. You can hear the waves of the ocean giving you a sense of calm. Well, that's how you'll feel when you watch this show. Wow. That sounds like text book Dalai Lama, doesn't it? In all honesty, the show will make you feel that way.
Plot-ology: Fittingly, titled 'Enlightened', this show is about a woman's (supposed/attempted) transformation to a better life. And it's not just limited to her, but in a way, a message to every viewer, to be enlightened. It is a show bubble wrapped in a green, environmental friendly feeling. It urges us to look beyond the materialistic world we spend most of our lives chasing after and embrace nature more. As the lead talks about nature, in a scene and says "It was saying, this is all for you and everything is a gift. Even the horrible stuff". After having a nervous breakdown, at a blood sucking corporation, caused by an affair with a married man gone bad, Laura Dern (Amy) is shipped out to Hawaii. There she spends time in a rehab centre for anger management issues. During this time she has an epiphany when she comes across a sea turtle while swimming in the ocean. This alleged epiphany changes her outlook on life and she believes she's been given a new life. She returns to her old life with a different attitude and tries to sprinkle her goody two shoes, puritan spirit on to everyone else. Enlightened will show us Amy's difficulties coming to terms with the real world after her new found perspective keeps getting kicked in the crotch.
Cast-ography: Cast is headed by Laura Dern, who plays Amy, the enlightened protagonist. A veteran of Hollywood with over 30 years of experience, she has pretty much done every role possible in TV and movies. She has an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe win, among various other wins and nominations. Laura portrays Amy quite remarkably. She shows an extremely wide range of emotions that most actors fail to even come close to. In every scene, Amy is on a roller-coaster of some sort and viewers can expect a big smile on her face with the softest of voices in one scene and screaming top of her lung ready to pull your hair out in the next. Sign of a good actor, I say. An Emmy for Laura is almost certain.
(Note: stay away from a person having a nervous breakdown, she can show super strength and stop a moving life with bare hands)
Rest of the cast, is half decent, nothing extra-ordinary. We have Luke Wilson, playing Amy's ex-husband, pretty much a typical Luke Wilson character. How many times have we seen him play that nonchalant, dope smoking, obviously single, loser guy? Add one more to the list. The only thing missing in the first 3 episodes is him sitting on the Playstation or Xbox. Nevertheless, he always stays true to his character. We know what he'll give us, and we're okay with it.
Diane Ladd, plays Amy's mother, incidentally she is real life mother of Laura. (Trivia: She has played her mother in movies/TV shows 5 times).
When Amy returns to her old workplace, she is forced down in the basement. Here she comes across some very diverse and humorous characters. As she calls them circus freaks. Here we see, Timm Sharp, Luke White (the creator of the show), Bayne Gibby among others. Overall, the cast has potential, ample amount of it. But needs time and a lot more dialogues. Funnier, dialogues.
General Paper (Everything else: Soundtrack, Direction etc):The show has a nice calm feel to it, as discussed in the summary. Although I've been a fan of voice-overs, but in this instance, it is a necessity. It feels like you're stuck in a bubble and the wind is blowing you around from one point to the other. The background sounds, music, warm voice of Laura, all do supplement each other to complete the feel of the show. Another interesting thing I noticed was, in every scene you'll see Something green. Maybe HBO took a leaf out of Breaking Bad's book, with their rather successful play with subliminal color coding. But this green has that effect on the viewer. Nicely done.
Enlightened is very intriguing in some regards yet, lacks direction. It is stuck between being a drama about an epiphany and a comedy about a dysfunctional work place. It is truly a dramedy, but, needs a bit more drama and a lot more comedy. I think the creators and writers have to make some concrete decisions regarding the direction this show needs to take. As of now, it's swimming in the open sea and not quite sure which way it wants to swim. That being said, it's a lot better than a handful of other dramedies around (or recently cancelled). When we compare it to other female lead driven shows (like Weeds, Nurse Jackie, The Big C etc) it's doing its bit.
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