Coming to HBO is Enlightened, a drama starring Laura Dern as a high-profile executive who has a nervous breakdown at her corporate headquarters, resulting in a little time off for recuperation, however, she returns a little more 'reinvigorated' than some would like. The show looks really great. Just flat out good television, which should not come as a surprise since it's not television, it's HBO. However, on the Operation Kino podcast this week, there was a discussion (2:00 minute mark) about the 'quality control' with the network and what events like the end of Entourage or the renewal of How to Make it in America signaled for their future. However, all fears should be assuaged when you think of both their returning and new line-up, especially now with a look at Enlightened.
There are many reasons to be excited for the show besides the two excellent videos HBO released to promote the series. First of all, if you're not a fan of Laura Dern, we have nothing left to discuss. This is the woman who, for anyone in love with cinema, made an indelible mark in two absolute landmarks in David Lynch's Blue Velvet and Steven Speilberg's Jurassic Park. An she's no stranger to the HBO world either, having starred in Recount as Katherine Harris and receiving a Golden Globe win and an Emmy nomination in the process. (Did I say Emmy? Be sure to check out Katey and Kelly's coverage tomorrow.)
It's no surprise the network wanted to develop a show for Dern, and the fact that Mike White is the producer, writer, director only makes Enlightened even more promising. Oh, by the way, two of the episodes were directed by Academy Award winner Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) and four other by Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids amongst many 'indie' greats) so I think it's safe to say there is a little talent involved and that alone should warrant at least a look. The two spots that HBO has released to promote the series are really engaging, and do an excellent job of showcasing Dern's character work, the intriguing 'Jerry Maguire' like narrative and an excellent supporting cast that includes Mike White, Luke Wilson, Charles Esten, Diane Ladd and Timm Sharp (Marshall from Undeclared!). I love the Terminator 2 moment. Absolutely hilarious and, well, really kind of sad.
Enlightened Season 1: "Back To Work" Teaser
Enlightened Season 1: Trailer
Enlightened premieres on Monday, October 10 at 9:30 p.m. on HBO.