Empire, starring Terrence Howard, Trai Byers, Bryshere Gray, Jussie Smollett, and Taraji P. Henson and other supporting cast made the story a compelling event to watch and enjoy, not to mention at times, hate. But hate in a good way.
The story is about Lucious (Howard), a man in charge of an entertainment company who just learned he has ALS. After learning this, he starts the path of getting one of his sons to take over the company. Or to the last man standing.
But we’re also introduced to their mother and Lucious’ ex-wife, Cookie (Henson), who just got out of prison after a 17 year stint. And she wants her piece of the pie, the company that Lucious now runs, because she helped start it with him. But she’s a powerful force to be reckoned with because she has a ton of leverage over her ex.
And there are various other intricacies to the threads of the story that keep it fascinating. Plus Terence Howard always delivers compelling characters, no matter what the scene.
It’s a strong cast and the show nabbed a slew of great reviews and I understand it.
In an uncharacteristic stroke of talent, this show seems compelling. Yet it did one of those things that I feel is always a warning sign of a bad show coming up – they threw so many things at the viewers with story details, a ton of character introductions, a ton of events with instant tensions and dramatic moments, all within the first episode of the series, is what I usually call a warning sign or two.
Normally in a show you are introduced to characters and as time goes on the tension builds and situations are developed as we learn about each character at one point or another. But in Empire, it’s all or nothing, right now.
Literally… with a mother getting out of jail, plotting to take over and take the company back from her ex… boom!
With a father who is sending his three kids into a face off to see who comes up for air to own the company… A sordid past of both exes, including drugs and murder. Not to mention dad just up and did something to keep things status quo.
The kids all have a huge range of different personalities, from being gay (and dad hating it), to a rebel of a party guy.
And best of all was the music.
Throughout the episode we are given privy moments to the character artists making their music and how the artists are pushed to make the best recording possible. (At least in this show) And then I saw it, that tag line at the bottom of the screen letting the viewer know they can buy this music on iTunes.
For some reason that took the wind out of my sails about the show. It suddenly felt like Glee or The Voice. Add that to getting inundated with too much info in the first episode pretty much shut me down to the show.
I know that these little tidbits should not impact how I feel about what is potentially a good show, but it did.
For once, I truly believe I am wrong about the show not being that good, but there it is. I can’t shake it.
I think most will enjoy the show but I’m not sure I’ll be following along. What more is there for me to learn about the situations presented? Plus I’m not fond of this “Truman Show” effect of having products blatantly sold to me while I’m trying to relax and hide from the world.
But that’s just me. Check it out for yourself and see what you think.