Favorite Things – Empire

This fall and winter I’ve binged on some pretty great new shows that have me absolutely hooked, but there is one that stands out above the rest, and that show is Empire. 

empire

This show…this show is amazingly good. I knew I was hooked about 15 minutes into the pilot and it came as no surprise to me after I read the credits and saw that Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious) and Danny Strong (The Butler, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1) are the show’s creators and Timbaland is the musical director and songwriter.

Empire is the story of music mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) and his struggle to keep ahold of his own life battling a fatal illness and needing to pick an heir for his music/entertainment company.

Of course, the story would be all too boring if there wasn’t a huge wrench thrown into the mix. That wrench is one firey, soulful woman: Lucious’s ex-wife, Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson). In the pilot she is just released from 17 years in prison for drug dealing. However, PLOT TWIST!, she only went to prison because she was protecting Lucious, their three sons and the music company they had just started with $400,000 of drug money Cookie had procured.

While Cookie was away, Luscious wasted no time in becoming a hit artist and music mogul, while also raising their three sons. You better believe that the Lyon family has its fair-share of problems, all stemming from Lucious’s thug turned musical success story.

The eldest son, Andre (Trai Byers), is the most educated of the family, but is not seen as CEO material because he is not musically gifted and Lucious believes that the next leader of Empire Entertainment should be an artist, not a businessman.

The middle son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), is probably the most musically gifted of the three brothers, but he is openly gay and Luscious is a homophob to the highest degree. After Cookie is released, she becomes Jamal’s new manager because she knows Luscious won’t do anything to help his music career because of his lack of compassion and understanding for Jamal.

The youngest son, Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) is probably the most frustrating of the bunch. His youngest-child syndrome is in full swing as he believes he is unreachable and invincible with his father’s money and his great talent as a rapper.

The struggle amongst all of the characters for Luscious’s empire and love is what makes this family competition so interesting to watch.

With Empire’s ensemble cast and catchy tunes, I don’t recommend missing an episode. Although, you definitely won’t want to.  As an added bonus, the all black main cast brings some much needed diversity into primetime television. I’m excited to see what’s next for this amazing, must-watch show.

Empire airs on FOX at 9/8c and is also available on Hulu.

Start watching the fight in the Lyon’s den and until next time,

C. Brooks

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