At the conclusion of season one of ENLIGHTENED, Amy Jellicoe finally presented her research on Abaddonn Industries' misconduct to the company, only to be laughed out of the room. Undeterred, she became more determined to bring down this bastion of corporate greed and corruption.
A unique blend of comedy and drama, the HBO series Enlightened kicks off its eight-episode second season TONIGHT, JAN. 13 (9:30-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, immediately following the season premiere of the Emmy(R)-winning comedy series "Girls." Golden Globe winner Laura Dern (Oscar(R) nominee for "Rambling Rose") stars as Amy in the series, which she co-created and executive produces along with Mike White ("Year of the Dog"), who also co-stars, writes and directs. Scott Stephens also executive produces.
Season one of Enlightened told the story of self-destructive corporate executive Amy Jellicoe (Dern), who had a spiritual awakening after a career-destroying meltdown. Though determined to live a more Enlightened existence, her new outlook only wreaked more havoc, both at home and at work.
In season two, Amy redoubles her efforts to gather evidence against Abaddonn with the support of Tyler (White), her meek IT ally, and enlists journalist Jeff Flender in her cause. Meanwhile, Amy's ex, Levi, continues to struggle with rehab, and it remains to be seen if he will embrace recovery and return as the man she always wanted him to be.
Other returning cast members include Luke Wilson ("Old School") as Levi and Diane Ladd (Oscar(R) nominee for "Rambling Rose," "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" and "Wild at Heart"), Dern's real-life mother, as Amy's disapproving mother Helen. Also returning are Sarah Burns ("I Love You, Man") as Krista, the former assistant who has taken Amy's old job, and Timm Sharp ("'Til Death") as Amy's sleazy boss, Dougie.
Guest stars on the second season include Dermot Mulroney ("My Best Friend's Wedding") as journalist Jeff Flender; Michaela Watkins ("The Back-Up Plan") as snooty colleague Janis; Amy Hill ("50 First Dates") as Judy, the no-nonsense HR rep who won't give Amy a break; and Molly Shannon ("Saturday Night Live") as the executive assistant to Abaddonn's CEO.
Mike White wrote all eight episodes of the second season of Enlightened and directed four, with Nicole Holofcener, Todd Haynes, James Bobin and David Michod each directing one episode.
Episode #11: "The Key" Debut: SUNDAY, JAN. 13 (9:30-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) Other HBO playdates: Jan. 13 (10:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m.), 16 (midnight) and 17 (10:30 p.m.) HBO2 playdates: Jan. 14 (9:30 p.m.), 15 (11:00 p.m.) and 19 (8:00 p.m.) Looking for "the key" to ruin Abaddonn and "free" its employees, Amy (Laura Dern) orchestrates a meeting with Jeff Flender (Dermot Mulroney), a charming whistle-blowing journalist, sharing incriminating e-mails she printed out at work with Tyler's (Mike White) IT password. Though he doesn't find a story in the e-mails, Jeff encourages Amy to dig deeper and find more explosive evidence that could help bring down the company. Written by Mike White; directed by Nicole Holofcener.
Episode #12: "Revenge Play" Debut: SUNDAY, JAN. 20 (9:30-10:00 p.m.) Other HBO playdates: Jan. 20 (10:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m.), 23 (midnight) and 24 (10:30 p.m.) HBO2 playdates: Jan. 21 (9:30 p.m.), 22 (11:00 p.m.) and 26 (8:00 p.m.) Amy and a still-reluctant Tyler meet Jeff at a jazz club, where he reveals he's already been working on a story about Abaddonn but needs proof of bribery, leading Amy to revel in her fantasies. When several top execs can't log onto their accounts, Abaddonn's breach of security is exposed, leaving Tyler scrambling to find a solution that won't lead investigators to him or Amy. Suspecting foul play, Dougie (Timm Sharp) vows to root out the true perps, while Krista (Sarah Burns) is rushed to the hospital with a pregnancy complication. Written by Mike White; directed by Mike White.
Episode #13: "Higher Power" Debut: SUNDAY, JAN. 27 (9:30-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) Other HBO playdates: Jan. 27 (10:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m.), 30 (midnight) and 31 (10:30 p.m.) HBO2 playdates: Jan. 28 (9:30 p.m.) and 29 (11:00 p.m.) Amy receives a letter from Levi (Luke Wilson), who's still in Hawaii and has been bristling under theconstraints of Open Air, its holistic philosophy and his bodily-function obsessed roommate Tony (Christopher Douglas Reed). To cope, Levi escapes with a pair of fellow malcontents, Travis (Christopher Abbott) and Danielle (Ashley Hinshaw), for a night of drugs, alcohol and debauchery at a nearby hotel. After pushing himself to his hard-partying limits, Levi decides he's ready to return to Open Air and give rehab one more chance. Written by Mike White; directed by Mike White.
Last January, Laura Dern received a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical for the series' first season.
In addition to the HBO Films presentation "Recount," for which she received an Emmy(R) nomination, Laura Dern's HBO credits include the HBO original movie "Afterburn," for which she won a Golden Globe and was also Emmy(R)-nominated. Among her feature films are "Rambling Rose" (Oscar(R) nomination), "The Master," "Smooth Talk," "Jurassic Park," "We Don't Live Here Anymore," "Little Fockers," "Citizen Ruth," "Fat Man and Little Boy" and the David Lynch films "Wild at Heart," "Blue Velvet" and "Inland Empire."
Mike White's other writing credits range from the award-winning indie black comedies "Chuck & Buck" and "The Good Girl" to the mainstream comedy hits "School of Rock" and "Nacho Libre." His TV credits include the critically-praised "Freaks and Geeks" and "Pasadena." Along with appearing in many of his films, White is known for twice competing in the Emmy(R)-winning series "The Amazing Race" with his father, Mel.
Dern and White also worked together on the 2007 feature film "Year of the Dog," which was written and directed by White, and co-starred Dern.
The first season of ENLIGHTENED, which concluded in Dec. 2011, inspired critical praise. The Los Angeles Times called the show"the most interesting and ambitious series of the fall season," while the Hollywood Reporter hailed it as "very funny" and "emotionally resonant." The New York Times described the series as "funny, sardonic" and the Washington Post termed it "wonderfully realized" and "unique."
"Enlightened: The Complete First Season" will be released on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 8.
For more on the series, please visit facebook.com/enlightenedHBO and twitter.com @HBO #enlightened.
ENLIGHTENED was created by Mike White & Laura Dern; executive producers, Mike White, Laura Dern, Scott Stephens; supervising producer, David Bernad; producers, Jayme Lemons, Dody Dorn, Jason Weinberg.