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Farewell to HBO's Under-Appreciated 'Enlightened'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood March 20, 2013 at 2:04PM

The reaction on the Twittersphere was immediate and noisy to HBO's announcement that it was killing the critically praised but underwatched tragi-comedy "Enlightened," starring Laura Dern (who won a Golden Globe for her turn as sunny but frustrated corporate employee Amy Jellicoe), Mike White (creator of the series), Luke Wilson, Timm Sharp and Diane Ladd.
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Laura Dern, star of HBO's "Enlightened"
Laura Dern, star of HBO's "Enlightened"

The reaction on the Twittersphere was immediate and noisy to HBO's announcement that it was killing the critically praised but underwatched tragi-comedy "Enlightened," starring Laura Dern (who won a Golden Globe for her turn as sunny but frustrated corporate employee Amy Jellicoe), Mike White (creator of the series), Luke Wilson, Timm Sharp and Diane Ladd.

"Fuck no," wrote @BenedictArf, while @TheScarbro wrote, "Sad but not surprised. Phenomenal yet largely unseen. People will discover its brilliance." @yblanc summed up: "I guess I should have watched!"

HBO states: 

It was a very difficult decision. We’ve decided not to continue Enlightened for a third season. We’re proud of the show and we look forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future.

As sad as this news is for fans of the show (who rallied for a third season), the series is admittedly beautifully contained within its two-season structure. TOH!'s Matt Brennan elaborated on this in his "Now and Then" column, claiming that the show offered up a "perfect TV ending."

Mike White ("Chuck and Buck") spoke recently to Elvis Mitchell on KCRW's The Treatment, comparing "Enlightened" to "'Notes from the Underground,' but the new-age, suburban, do-gooder version."


So long, Amy Jellicoe. You'll be missed.


This article is related to: Television, TV News, TV, HBO, Enlightened, Laura Dern


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.