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by Alison Willmore
March 20, 2013 9:26 AM
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HBO Cancels 'Enlightened': 'It was a very difficult decision'

Laura Dern and Luke Wilson in 'Enlightened' Lacey Terrell/HBO
Last night, Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur broke the news that "Enlightened" will not be back for a third season. HBO confirmed this soon after, releasing the following statement:

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.

It's a sad outcome for a series that had, in its second season, found something exceptional and rare in its funny, melancholy portrait of Amy Jellicoe (a terrific Laura Dern), a woman in search of a grander and more meaningful life. But it also wasn't unexpected -- "Enlightened," which had its season one order of 10 episodes knocked down to eight in season two, was living on borrowed time, its ratings low enough in its first year that the fact that it received a renewal at all was a pleasant surprise.

READ MORE: Mike White on Todd Haynes, Romanticizing Goodness and the Exquisite Awkwardness of 'Enlightened'

Paired with "Girls" this year on Sunday nights, "Enlightened" didn't seem to get any boost from Lena Dunham's buzzier series despite the pair of shows sharing complicated and sometimes challenging heroines, with "Enlightened" averaging less than half the viewership of "Girls." It's certain that awareness of that precarious position led to season two's graceful ending, which serves presciently well as a series finale. Here's co-creator/writer/showrunner/star Mike White talking about that last episode:

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  • Nuria | March 21, 2013 8:21 AMReply

    What a pity! La serie más bonita que he he visto este año y van y la cancelan. Estoy harta de series de policias, médicos niñatos y niñatas!! Siempre las series que se alejan de la temática de las demás series, las cancelan como el caso de Carnivale. Ánimo a los creadores de "Enlightened" saludos desde Spain!

  • Vivian | March 20, 2013 5:06 PMReply

    This is sad news.....Mike White's writing coupled with Laura Dern and the other fabulous Actors made this show one of the most original and best shows on TV!

  • Delores Dee | March 20, 2013 12:11 PMReply

    Very sad to see this show ending. It was unique, non-violent and had a great take on greedy corporate America and the corrupt white men who run it and the world. Great job, Laura! Hope to see more of your ideas in the future.

  • THOR | March 20, 2013 11:31 AMReply


  • janice | March 20, 2013 11:15 AMReply

    Darn, I really liked that show - seems Girls is slipping too, give them another season each to come back......please!

  • GIRLS SUCKS | March 20, 2013 10:22 AMReply

    Please cancel Girls as well.

  • oh no | March 20, 2013 9:58 AMReply

    That's shame. It was an excellent show.