Empire on FOX: The Most Promising New Show of 2015

No Apologies

I do what I want
And say what I want with no apologies
Excuse me if I’m blunt
I say what I want with no apologies
And they won’t shut me up, hell no, hell no
And they won’t shut me up, hell no, hell no
I do what I want
And say what I want with no apologies.

Empire (FOX)

Empire

Created by  Lee Daniels and Danny Strong

Starring Terrence Howard, Bryshere Gray, Jussie SmollettTrai ByersGrace GealeyMalik YobaKaitlin Doubleday & Taraji P. Henson

The first episode of FOX’s instant hit was very good. It was like Nashville on ABC but for Hip Hop & R&B. That’s a great premise, as long as the music is good. Nashville has T-Bone Burnett overseeing the music and he can do no wrong in my book. I still love that show about the country music biz. And Empire took that basic structure and ran with it. Instead of Nashville politics and country diva battles you get rap feuds and a thugs-to-riches story that was missing from the television landscape.

The Music Mogul

In Empire, the new FOX show from Lee Daniels, a former gangster and gangsta rapper turned music mogul, played by the great Terrence Howard, turns to his three sons to find a successor. Metaphorically throwing a knife in the center of the room and telling them to fight it out. His oldest son has the most business experience but suffers from bi-polar disorder. His younger sons are both musicians. One a bad boy rapper like his father with a penchant for scandal and an eye for the ladies. The other a singer songwriter struggling with whether to come out as gay. The two younger sons remind me so much of Huey and Riley Freeman from The Boondocks it makes me smile.

Empire

Empire is already good with just those elements. But you can’t forget the mother. Their mother, who has been in prison since the boys were little, still a thug, gets out early and blackmails her billionaire baby daddy for a large salary and the right to manage one of their son’s music careers; the gay one.

Evil Mom (I can relate)

Taraji P. Henson is amazing as the ex-con matriarch of the family. She is an awful person. Racist, sexist, homophobic (Mom?), quick-tempered and an incredibly tacky dresser (OMG Mom?), but her heart seems to be in the right place. Yet while she was in prison, the music label, that she helped finance, became an empire. And she wants her share.

The Parents

Empire is already great with just those elements. But remember what I said about the music. You can’t forget about the music. The music has to be good. The music in Empire is beautiful. In two episodes there has been four performances of four songs and I have loved them all. Timbaland is listed as an executive producer and I’m guessing has a huge hand in the music. I was already ready to praise this show as the most promising new show after an episode and a half but then they went and did this.

Wow. The song is even better in context.

I freaking love this show. I haven’t been this excited about a music based new show since the first season of Smash on NBC (that didn’t end well). Empire has a great cast, great writing and great music. Believe the hype. This show is amazing.

Father and Son Gangtsa Rappers

I guess the only thing I can complain about is that it’s on FOX and you know how FOX can be. They’ve already thrown in a dig at President Obama that seemed to come out of nowhere (after a very funny send up of Justin Bieber’s public peeing in a restaurant). So if they could keep the politics to a minimum that would be appreciated. But it is not a deal-breaker because other than that one thing, Empire is must must must see TV.

Outstanding.

– Mel

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2 thoughts on “Empire on FOX: The Most Promising New Show of 2015

  1. I checked this out and I found it very entertaining. A bit silly at times, but even then it is still fun to watch. Taraji is just amazing as Cookie. She really steals the show for me. It definitely felt like a hip-hop Nashville as you mentioned. I’ll definitely keep watching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s broadcast TV quality. So it’s a little campy at times but pretty to look at. You’re right, Taraji is amazing. I love her new assistant too. Empire needs to do so well that FOX can’t cancel it. They already put it on opposite blackish, the only other broadcast show with a mostly black cast, setting one up to fail. I wish they wouldn’t do that. I wish they would just allow 3 or 4 black-centric shows on broadcast TV (there are only two now and they’ve pitted them against each other) Instead of sabotaging diversity.

      Like

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