Recovery is never easy, particularly for the acquaintances of those who are getting sober. That’s the essential point of “Enlightened” (8:30 p.m. Sunday, HBO). It’s a very smart, small show that offers a sympathetic look at its main character, Amy (Laura Dern), focusing on how her public efforts to live a more high-minded existence echo the same self-absorption that proved so destructive in her hedonistic days.
As season two begins, Amy and her shy co-worker, Tyler (series co-creator Mike White), dig up damaging information on their soulless employer, Abaddon, and plan to leak it to ace reporter Jeff Flender (Dermot Mulroney).
Amy’s newfound passion for corporate decency barely masks years of cluelessness. While everything she discovers about her corporation’s behavior is shocking and abominable, it’s nothing that hasn’t been widely discussed since the financial collapse of 2008.
Is she right? Or delusional? And how much of her crusade is driven by egotism — an effort to “mean something” and “be somebody”? Amy is not afraid to ask those questions. And neither is “Enlightened.” That’s what makes this show so rewarding.
• It should be fun to watch Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host the “70th Annual Golden Globe Awards” (7 p.m. Sunday, NBC). But should we really care about an institution that nominates HBO’s “The Newsroom” for best drama?
Among the shows all but certain to be acclaimed is Showtime’s “Homeland.” It has certainly burnished that premium cable network’s reputation. The same cannot be said for three of its other returning series: “Shameless” (8 p.m. Sunday), “House of Lies” (9 p.m. Sunday) and “Californication” (9:30 p.m. Sunday).
Sunday’s other highlights
• “Italian Cruise Ship Disaster: One Year Later” (6 p.m., National Geographic) recalls one captain’s very wrong turn.
• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (7 p.m., CBS): robotics and its impact on employment; the dangerous sport of free diving; Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
• Gold tests boundaries on “Once Upon a Time” (7 p.m., ABC).
• Peter gets contradictory suggestions on “The Good Wife” (8 p.m., CBS).
• Mrs. Hughes seeks medical attention while Lady Mary pressures Matthew to rethink his surprise inheritance on “Downton Abbey” on “Masterpiece Classic” (8 p.m., PBS).