Lindsay Lohan's absorbing 8-part TV 'docu-series' debuts

Lindsay Lohan reads from her Betty Ford Center

Lindsay Lohan reads from her Betty Ford Center diary with mom Dina Lohan in a scene from her OWN docu-series, “Lindsay." (Credit: OWN)

Of all the Lindsay Lohans we've seen over the years, from child star to adult addict, the one we saw Sunday night at least added something new to the list: A human being. A troubled, messy, fraught one, to be sure.

Above all, troubled. But at least human.

Oprah Winfrey, whose name is on the network, asked her at the outset Sunday night what Lohan wanted out of this eight-part "docu-series," which began taping just four days after her release from a Malibu rehab facility last summer -- her sixth such stay over the years.

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"Just to be honest, and open. Just me."

Lohan has been demonized for so long that it's been easy to lose sight of who that "me" is, exactly. But this fascinating new documentary, "Lindsay," produced by Amy Rice, attempted to at least to offer some sort of framework.

It began with Lohan literally packing up her life in Los Angeles, lost amid a thousand boxes. "I need a fresh start, a clean start," she says. "Life can be chaotic. But it's about keeping myself calm in the middle of that, which is what I'm learning to do."

And then came the chaos: Hunting for apartments in Manhattan, returning to her family home in North Merrick, limo rides to who-knows-where-or-why, and a constant swirl of handlers, helpers, and hangers-on. A thrum of stress and anxiety seemed to crowd her in every scene: An argument over some business arrangement, or over a lease, followed by a quick cut to her counselor who says, "She's trying to create security in an environment that's not very secure."

No kidding.

Lohan's been given a lot of shots over the years, but this time it's Oprah who's orchestrating this "Extreme Home Makeover." If this strange, frazzled, chaotic, utterly absorbing OWN series accomplishes anything over the next seven weeks, it would -- and hopefully will -- give her a shot at recapturing her humanity, and dignity.