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My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

  • Premiered: 
    November 18, 2018
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: HBO
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Based on the 2011 book (My Brilliant Friend) by Elena Ferrante 
  • Subject Matter: Period
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  • Season 1
    • Amazon
Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

Based on Elena Ferrante's novel of the same name, Season 1 of MY BRILLIANT FRIEND tells the story of Elena Greco, a now-elderly woman who discovers the most important friend in her life, Raffaella 'Lila' Cerullo, seems to have disappeared without a trace. A writer, immersed in a house full of books, Greco turns on her computer and starts writing the story of their tempestuous friendship, starting from the point when Elena met Lila their first year of primary school in 1950. Set in a dangerous and fascinating Naples, their story goes on to cover more than 60 years of their lives as she tries to describe the mystery of Lila, Elena's brilliant friend and -- in a way -- her best friend, and worst enemy. MY BRILLIANT FRIEND is based on the first of Ferrante's four Neopolitan novels, with the other three books -- "The Story of a New Name," "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay," and "The Story of the Lost Child" -- also headed to the small screen. MY BRILLIANT FRIEND premiered Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 9pm ET/PT on HBO, with the second episode debuting the next night on Monday, November 19 at 9pm, followed by other episodes subsequent Sundays and Mondays at the same time.

Based on "The Story of a New Name," the second book in Elena Ferrante's book series, Season 2 of MY BRILLIANT FRIEND premiered on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 10pm ET/PT on HBO. This season begins where the first season left off, with Lila newly -- and unhappily -- married to upper crust grocer Stefano Carracci and Elena unsure of her future, both romantically and academically. Believing she lost her own identity when she took her husband's name, Lila is defiant in her marriage as their world continues to orbit around the Solara family, while model student Elena comes to realize that she is not happy inside or outside her neighborhood. During a holiday in Ischia, the two girls reunite with their old childhood acquaintance Nino Sarratore, now a university student with great expectations. The seemingly random encounter will forever change the nature of their bond, projecting the girls into two completely different worlds. Lila becomes a skillful sales assistant in the elegant shoe shop in central Naples owned by the powerful Solara family, and Elena obstinately continues her studies as she prepares to attend university in Pisa. As their worlds expand and they're forced to deal with more adult and complex problems, Elena and Lila fight to find their place in the rapidly changing Italy of the '60s, while their fraught relationship continues to vacillate between love and contempt.

MY BRILLIANT FRIEND: THOSE WHO LEAVE AND THOSE WHO STAY, the third season of the series, debuted on Monday, February 28, 2022 at 10pm ET/PT on HBO. Season 3 -- based on "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay," the third book in Elena Ferrante's quadrilogy -- follows Elena Greco and the most important friend in her life, Raffaella Cerullo, whom she has always called Lila. They met in the first year of primary school in 1950 and their story goes on to cover more than 60 years of their lives and explores the mystery of Lila, Elena's brilliant friend and -- in a way -- both her best friend and her worst enemy. Filmed in Italian, Season 3 picks up with Elena and Lila, both now grown women, during the great open sea of the 1970s. Lila took her young son and left her husband and a comfortable life to work as a factory worker in the toughest of conditions, while Elena left the neighborhood to study in Pisa, and is now an author of a successful novel that has paved the way to an affluent and cultivated world. They now navigate a scenario of hopes and uncertainties, still united by their strong and ambivalent bond. In the season opener, after Nino's unexpected appearance at her book presentation in Milan, Elena realizes her childhood crush never really abandoned her and doubts begin to form about her fiance Pietro. Later, a scathing review leaves Elena questioning herself as a writer.
On Monday, April 18, 2022 at 10pm ET/PT, HBO premiered "Those Who Leave, Those Who Stay," the season finale of MY BRILLIANT FRIEND's third season. Elena receives positive feedback on her latest manuscript from Mariarosa, Adele, and Nino who cannot believe Pietro doesn't read his own wife's work. As Nino becomes increasingly passive-aggressive toward her husband, Elena's lingering doubts about her life grow.

MY BRILLIANT FRIEND has been renewed for a fourth and final season.


Other Titles

  • Season 3 title: My Brilliant Friend: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay


  • - Naples Italy