Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Enlightened" withdrawal pains

Tomorrow night will be the first Sunday night in several weeks when we won't be able to sit down in front of our televisions and be "Enlightened." Even more sadly, we face the prospect that we may never again be able to get our Sunday "Enlightened" fix. The withdrawal pains will be intense.

The HBO series, created by and starring Laura Dern and Mike White, ended its second season last Sunday. Its continuing survival in the cutthroat world of television, where ratings are everything, is not at all ensured.

The series never earned the ratings that it would have in a just world, but I've written here before that I thought it was the best thing on TV - even though I admitted that I haven't seen everything that's on TV.

It was not a series that was easy to categorize. It was sometimes a drama and sometimes a comedy. It was a dramedy, but that just confused some viewers who didn't want the challenge of having to figure that out every week.

Also, it had a very prickly protagonist in Amy Jellicoe. She was mentally ill on some levels, but she was trying desperately to cope and to make her life meaningful. She was a character that anyone who has ever struggled with such issues could immediately recognize and empathize with, while sometimes in the same moment just wanting to grab her and shake her!

This was a very character-driven series. The plot was always secondary, but, oh, the characters! They were so lovingly drawn and written and so beautifully played by all the actors. This isn't only my opinion. Critic after critic, over the last several weeks, has made the same point and has pleaded with HBO to "just renew 'Enlightened' already!"

Mike White was reportedly meeting with HBO officials earlier this week to learn the fate of the series and know if it would be renewed for a third season. I've searched the newspapers and the Internet every day to see if there has been an announcement, but so far, just crickets.

If the show doesn't get renewed, much as it pains me to even consider that, last Sunday's episode would have been the perfect way to end the story so far. It ended on a hopeful note. Amy was able to see the fruition of her whistleblowing and it looked like the evil empire of Abaddon was about to fall. All of the characters that we had come to care about over the two too-brief seasons were given at least the potential for happy endings.

Of course, we know that Amy will probably blow hers, which is why we need a third season to see what happens. Come on, HBO!

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