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Enlightened: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 300 Mins.
  • Studio: HBO Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 8, 2013
  • List Price: $49.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

Were it not for Laura Dern’s Golden Globe win (Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical), HBO’s latest half-hour dramedy, Enlightened, would probably have gotten the axe, considering the network cancelled other more highly rated (and funnier) series (Bored to Death, Hung). With that said, the series arguably deserves a reprieve – too many series these days are pulled before they have a chance to hit their stride and find their greatness.

Enlightened is a series about rediscovering one’s self. The protagonist, Amy Jellicoe (Dern), has a nervous breakdown after having an affair with a co-worker and losing a much sought after top post at her company to the married man (Charles Esten) with whom she had the affair. After a long sabbatical away, she returns to her home in southern California, moves in with her mother and decides on a path of enlightenment. Being placed in an out of the way position in the company basement doing data processing is the first test she faces. And, unfortunately for Amy, she has a propensity for making a hash of situations that just lead to bad things. Her inability to give up her drug-addicted ex-husband Levi (Luke Wilson) is one other obstacle on her path to spiritual enlightenment.

Each half-hour episode is beautifully acted and directed (Jonathan Demme directs two of the ten episodes). They squeeze so many powerful moments into the twenty-seven minutes (minus credits) that this could actually be an hour-long drama, it has the feel of one.

Mostly, it is a strong character study with a wonderful human touch. The themes are so pertinent to our time. The job stresses, mental health issues, broken homes, inability to make lasting connections with other people – they all ring so true in our era of prolonged economic instability and rapidly expanding technological ‘social’ engagement.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Enlightened is one of the rare productions that is still shot on film. The series is produced on the Super 35mm format utilizing Kodak medium speed Vision2 200T 5217 and high speed Vision2 500T 5218 film stocks on Arricam LT cameras with Cooke S4 and Angenieux Optimo lenses. The color palette is richly saturated with vivid primary colors and brightly-lit, sun-soaked scenes that evoke southern California. The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer from HBO captures this perfectly, with a beautiful, organic, film-like transfer that is clean, crisp, and detailed. Three-dimensional, and full of texture and strong in contrast.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The audio mix for Enlightened is wonderfully balanced and atmospheric. Although it is appropriately subtle given the subject matter, it manages to utilizes the lossless codec with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) to capture the quietest sounds and natural dynamics. Things like rainstorms, office sounds, and traffic noise fill the room while the musical score and songs sound natural, spacious, and punchy. Dialogue is full and clear as well.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

A half-hour’s worth of behind-the-scenes featurettes with the cast and crew on each episode plus four episode commentaries with cast and crew are included.

The supplements:

  • Inside the Episodes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:26:49)
  • Audio Commentaries:
    • Episode 1, “Pilot” with Laura Dern (Amy), creator & executive producer and Mike White (Tyler), creator & executive producer.
    • Episode 4, “The Weekend” with Laura Dern (Amy), creator & executive producer and Mike White (Tyler), creator & executive producer and Xavier Pérez Grobet, cinematographer
    • Episode 9, “Consider Helen” with Laura Dern (Amy), creator & executive producer and Diane Ladd (Helen)
    • Episode 10, “Burn it Down” with Mike White (Tyler), creator & executive producer and Miguel Arteta, co-executive producer

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

This series has a lot of opportunity for growth, but if the writing remains this touching and strong, and Laura Dern’s performances are this consistent from episode to episode, Enlightenment will hopefully find the wider audience it deserves.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004EPYZD0[/amazon-product]

Purchase Enlightened: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B004EPYZD0[/amazon-product]

Purchase Enlightened: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]



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